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We may not like robo-advice, but improving technology is crucial – MCI Mortgage Club

by: Phil Whitehouse, managing director, MCI Mortgage Club
  • 10/08/2016
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We may not like robo-advice, but improving technology is crucial – MCI Mortgage Club
While the mortgage industry may be some way off from robo-advice, the argument for speeding up the pace of technological change remains, writes Phil Whitehouse.

The robo-advice debate rages on and the question of whether a computer could ever offer the same sort of advice as a human continues to be the sticking point for many. Can artificial intelligence ever be advanced enough to correctly – and compliantly, by the regulator’s standards – assess a borrower’s circumstances and suggest the most appropriate solution?

We’re certainly making great strides in technology so it’s not beyond the realms of possibility although, I would say, quite a long way off.

For me, however, this debate raises another question. As we discuss the processes involved in offering mortgages and what a machine would need to do to replicate that I can’t help but wonder whether we could be doing more to simplify things.

Let’s remember, a mortgage is simply a loan – albeit a large one – secured against a property. And far from being a long-term product which the client will keep for 25 or 30 years, as was once the case, these days clients are changing mortgages every few years.

As a result clients want quick and efficient service in a format that is easy to understand.

Don’t get me wrong, the regulatory landscape has changed considerably over the last few years – in the last two years in particular – and that of course puts constraints on how fast and simple a broker can make the process. But surely we should have made some steps towards greater efficiency by now? For all the developments we’ve seen in the market from a product and criteria point of view, we don’t seem to have made the giant leaps of progress that naturally we should have expected in that time.

The key, clearly, is technology. We may not be anywhere near having a market where robo-advice is the norm – and, indeed, we may not want that – but that’s not to say we can’t be pushing for further advancements in technology.

Brokers should try to keep things as simple as possible and use technology as much as possible to not only present information but also to exchange necessary documentation.

Using a reputable CRM system to communicate with your clients by allowing them to upload and download documents securely and view their file and case details through their own customer portal, is just one way of using technology to simplify the mortgage process for borrowers.

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