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Mortgage technology has advanced but lenders are side-lining bigger projects – Atkinson

by: Cloë Atkinson, managing director at Mortgage Engine
  • 07/12/2020
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Mortgage technology has advanced but lenders are side-lining bigger projects – Atkinson
This year has been a turning point for technology in the mortgage market.


Why? Because necessity is the mother of invention, and technology has been a helping hand for many lenders amid the challenges they have faced during the Covid-19 pandemic.

However, as much as the crisis has been a wake-up call in this area, the last nine months have been turbulent and time-consuming for industry players handling competing demands.

Market activity is at a record high, yet many new and existing borrowers are being impacted negatively by challenging economic conditions.

As a result, lenders are tackling an unprecedented increase in calls or requests for support from customers and while time has been dedicated to meeting customer demands, larger scale technology projects have, on the face of it, been side-lined.


Issues for lenders

This would appear to be problematic, with lenders seemingly unable to prioritise implementing the solutions that may in fact help them the most in the longer-term.

But in reality, there can be no doubt that technology has been instrumental during the pandemic, just not in the ways some may have predicted.

The changes have been closer to marginal gain theory than revolution – more Billy Beane’s Moneyball than Che Guevara.

Video conferencing has increased exponentially, as have automated valuation models which have made home valuations from a distance possible, unlike before in many cases.

Larger lenders with more advanced capabilities have even been able to use chatbots powered by artificial intelligence (AI) to take on aspects of customer liaison.

What we have seen, is lenders and other market players adopting multiple small adjustments to their technology, or previous lack thereof, which has delivered results greater than the sum of their parts.

As a result, lenders have managed to not only keep their heads above the water, they have also gained a new found respect for the power of technology.

As such, 2021 is set to be a big year for large-scale technology adoption in the mortgage market.


Technology for the future

One key development over the coming years which lenders will have to respond to is the growing use of open-application programme interfaces (APIs).

Tools which are driven by open-APIs will enable lenders and brokers to access customer data quickly and efficiently.

Ultimately, APIs can significantly increase efficiencies and speed by enabling operators to reach decisions quicker and more accurately.

Client-facing technologies have proved their worth, and now it’s time to see what back-office systems can do.

The pandemic has given new value to technology’s place in the industry. But it has primarily accelerated its position through existing software.

While it’s true that more industry players are embracing technology such as open-APIs, for many lenders the technology may still be hard to visualise in practice.

The confirmation of a rollout of a Covid-19 vaccine sheds light on the prospect of some return to normal, however it is in 2021 that the economic consequences of the pandemic will be properly realised.

This is why it is more important than ever for lenders to put new technology on their radar and start future-proofing their businesses for an uncertain road ahead.


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