Australia’s mortgage broking sector is bracing for change thanks to the launch this morning of financial technology (fintech) firm Effi.
Powered by artificial intelligence (AI), Effi combines a desktop and mobile app with a sophisticated borrower dashboard that allows any mortgage broker to elegantly customise it with their own personal branding.
Founded by successful Australian entrepreneur and financial services veteran Mandeep Sodhi, Effi brings a digitally automated solution to an industry long-suffering from declining revenue, inefficient processes and poor digital experiences. This intelligent software-as-a-service solution goes far beyond a simple CRM or lead management tool that mortgage brokers have traditionally used.
“At Effi, we’ve created a secure platform we know brokers will love, particularly when it comes to expertly managing borrower relationships and streamlining their day-to-day workflow,” said Effi CEO and founder Mandeep Sodhi.
“For decades we have seen the revolutionary power of disruptive technologies across multiple industries - from retail with the rise of Amazon, to real estate with the emergence of proptechs and now a compelling, elegant new solution with the launch of Effi that is going to take the mortgage broking world by storm.”
Effi was made possible thanks to a partnership between founder Mandeep Sodhi and Sydney-based technology innovation company iTelaSoft. Founded in 2009, iTelaSoft has a proven track record of enabling small-scale to medium-scale organisations around the globe, seeking cutting-edge technology solutions.
“When Mandeep first described his vision to create the smartest mortgage broker platform ever, we realised that mortgage brokers have been unfairly disadvantaged with a lack of access to the latest advancements in technology. With our experience in building end-to-end scalable solutions that also leverage the best in machine learning and artificial intelligence, we are delighted to be engaged by Effi as their key technology partner in helping brokers to focus more on their customers," iTelaSoft CEO Indaka Raigama said.
“It’s no secret that the broking industry has been in urgent need of change and has neglected genuine technological innovation for decades. Now with Effi, we’ve created a completely personalised smart platform that takes the friction out of managing borrower relationships and allows you to attend to both existing and new clients with ease.”
Cost of compliance means technology is the answer
One year on from Australia’s Royal Commission into Banking and Financial Services, the rising administrative cost of compliance together with a shift towards the Open Data regime are collectively carving out a new set of technological opportunities for Australia’s broking industry.
According to the latest MFAA research, the broker channel facilitated more than half of all new residential mortgages at 52.1% during the March quarter, further cementing the broker channel as the channel of choice for consumers. This important channel can play a pivotal role in offering tailored customer solutions with the rise of fintech offerings, leveraging data to enhance customer offers that they would not be able to get elsewhere.
While mortgage brokers remain the most preferred channel to get a home loan in Australia, Sodhi said the absence of single, unified platform for managing client opportunities speaks volumes of why the “broken model” for mortgage broking in Australia needs to change.
“We believe the broker channel should rise to servicing 70% of all new residential mortgages by the end of next year. That would allow it to fulfil its full potential as the channel of choice when it comes to residential mortgages. Historically, brokers have been quite good when it comes to sales but are struggling when it comes to identifying new leads,” Effi CEO Mandeep Sodhi said.
“Effi works for you 24/7, driving business and helping build your brand so you never miss an opportunity. It unlocks all new levels of productivity, service levels and customer satisfaction.
Effi is about supporting the broker to spend less time looking at screens, and more time connecting with their customers.”
A brand you can trust
A key aspect of Effi’s technology is that it acts as a natural extension of the broker, allowing them to establish trust and build their personal brand. The platform allows users to create their own branded client portal, with access to custom reports and a tailored dashboard with individual insights. With Effi, every digital interaction feels like yours with customisable and seamless digital and social integration - providing an array of personalised digital and social tools working for you 24/7 driving business and helping build your brand. The platform also offers important business intelligence to users, helping collect client reviews and ratings which support a broker’s online visibility and profile. Brokers can then ensure a seamless single profile for interactions on and off the platform, with the opportunity to amplify positive customer reviews across multiple social channels with one click.
Adding a personal touch to mortgage broking
Raigama said the platform’s core focus was to drive the technological innovation that the mortgage broker industry had been sorely lacking.
Mortgage broking was a personal, relationship-driven business, he added, where maintaining frequent touchpoints with each customer was paramount for brokers in addition to acting in a client’s best interests and complying with all necessary regulatory obligations.
“Brokers need smart technology to keep up with these demands and spend more time interacting with their customers. Interestingly, when compared to many other industries, mortgage broking is unfairly under-served when it comes to the latest advances in technology,” Raigama said.
“Our ambition is to both empower and enable the mortgage broker community with ground-breaking, intelligent and smart technology to provide a personalised service to their customers, all while increasing productivity and saving time. With our experience in building AI powered solutions, we can immensely contribute to the evolution of Effi.”
Launching today, Effi’s platform will be available on an invite-only basis for the next few months, ensuring that brokers on the platform can familiarise themselves with all its features and have a tremendously positive overall experience.
“Our goal is ultimately to cut brokers administration and processing times in half so they can double their settlements with ease. We are automating all the time-consuming administrative tasks for brokers - such as unlimited bank statement collection, unlimited document collection for loan applications, customer data collection, and powerful email automation - by having it all integrated into one easy-to-use platform for a fixed monthly cost,” Effi CEO Mandeep Sodhi said.
“We’ve got an exciting array of partnerships to help brokers grow their business revenue and brand with new features that we will roll out in the coming months. Watch this space!”