Sam Gendusa February 8, 2019

Newsletter - February 2019

In today’s world, consumers can order a mattress online and have it delivered next-day, or pay for their groceries by just holding their smartphone near a sensor. Why shouldn’t buying a home be just as simple?

“There’s a vision in the mortgage lending industry that in the future a homebuyer will tour an open house, authenticate a loan application with a thumb print on a mobile device and seconds later purchase funds will be transferred into the seller’s account,” said Mike Jones, the director of advisory services for Dixon Hughes Goodman. “It’s an ambitious goal. But the reality is closing times will be measured in days, not seconds, for the foreseeable future.”

While people may one day purchase a home the way they buy socks on Amazon, we’re not there yet. But here are two ways technology is expected to change mortgage industry in the next five years:

Adding mobile to the mix: “Borrowers want to quickly and easily research interest rates, complete an application, submit documents, ask questions and check the status of their mortgage from a laptop or mobile device,” said Lionel Urban, vice president of product management, Bank Solutions, Fiserv. “And if they start an application on their smartphone, for example, they want to be able to switch to a different channel – online, in the branch or with help from the call center – and pick up where they left off without losing their information.”

The technology to complete every step of a mortgage on a mobile device is already in place, but steps that require file documentation, a notary, or other verification remain a challenge. So while the whole process won’t be mobile anytime soon, more lenders will need to provide a seamless, multi-channel experience.

Using artificial intelligence: “Artificial intelligence will continue to make large strides to eliminate some roles in the mortgage originations space,” said KPMG Managing Director Teresa Blake. “We could eliminate the processor, and I think some organizations are starting to figure out how to do that.”

LenderCity has begun using FinKube’s Electronic Loan Services Assistant (ELSA), a chatbot for interacting with prospective borrowers, on their website.

“It enabled us to reduce the work the loan officer does up front,” said Greg Harris, principal at LenderCity. “The chatbot provides assistance to borrowers that have questions or need information. That means, we don’t have to make a person available to answer their questions.”

ELSA uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to gather borrower information, render decisions, and automate tasks. Right now LenderCity is using it to qualify leads, but they plan to use it to help borrowers answer questions, fill out a loan application, or get a rate quote.

“We anticipate over time being able to reduce customer acquisition costs by 50 percent to 80 percent, engagement by 500 percent, reduce customer service costs 50 percent to 80 percent, and increase loan retention by a factor of six,” Harris said.

Will AI eventually eliminate the need for humans in the mortgage industry? Never, said Jones. “Human interaction is as fundamental as housing itself, so humans will always be part of the market,” he said. “People solve problems and forge relationships. As long as innovation is there to change things, people will be there to harness innovation.”

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