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Embracing robotic process automation in the mortgage industry – Morgan

by: Amy Morgan, senior leader at the Target Group
  • 05/02/2024
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Embracing robotic process automation in the mortgage industry – Morgan
Robotic process automation (RPA) is driving a digital transformation of the mortgage sector.

With the industry under increasing pressure to reduce turnaround times and deliver wholly digital experiences, the technology offers many advantages, including speedier decision-making and better customer satisfaction.  

The industry should not be afraid to embrace it. 

 

A slicker process 

Optimal character recognition (OCR) was the ground-breaking advancement that paved the way for RPA. OCR converts images of typed, handwritten or printed text into machine-encoded text. This text includes scanned documents and photos of documents. Developments in OCR and natural language processing have enabled the creation of intelligent robots that can validate and extract information from a range of documents.  

The advent of RPA has been a game-changer in streamlining routine, rule-based tasks, and processes. Mortgage firms are using RPA to automate tasks such as data entry, document processing, and verification.  

At Target, we’ve trialled robots using OCR on our Mortgage Hub system. Robots first observed what a team member did and what keystrokes they used. We then set up robots as users, programming them with keystrokes to simulate the actions of team members.   

Unsurprisingly, our trials have shown that RPA creates very impressive time savings. The integration of AI in mortgage processes enables quicker and more informed decision-making. Machine learning algorithms analyse vast amounts of data to assess creditworthiness, identify risks, and determine optimal loan terms.  

This results in faster approvals, reducing the time borrowers must wait for their mortgage applications to be processed. 

  

Assisting, not replacing 

Contrary to myth, RPA is not there to replace humans. People still must validate and review robotics’ tasks. RPA’s biggest advantage is that, by reducing significant workloads and admin, packaging teams are freed up for value-added activity.  

This leads to higher job satisfaction amongst team members. 

It leads to higher customer satisfaction too, which, in the competitive mortgage market, is crucial for success. Robotics technology plays a pivotal role in enhancing customer interactions through chatbots, virtual assistants, and automated communication systems. Borrowers can receive real-time updates on their applications, access personalised information, and receive prompt responses to queries.  

This results in less friction.  

 

Enhanced efficiency 

Robotics technology also ensures a higher level of accuracy in mortgage-related tasks by reducing errors that can occur in manual processes. Automated systems can cross-reference huge datasets to verify information and ensure compliance with ever-evolving regulatory requirements.  

This not only mitigates the risk of regulatory penalties, but also fosters trust among customers and stakeholders. 

RPA also provides a powerful defence mechanism against fraud. Automated systems can continuously monitor and analyse transactions, detecting unusual patterns and anomalies that may indicate fraudulent behaviour. This proactive approach to fraud prevention helps protect both lenders and borrowers from financial losses. 

Implementing robotics contributes to cost efficiency for lending institutions too. By automating routine tasks, financial organisations can allocate resources more strategically, focusing on high-value activities, such as customer relationship management (CRM), risk analysis, and strategic planning. This reduces operational costs and allows financial institutions to operate more competitively and focus on their strengths. 

As demographics shift and millennials make up a bigger part of the mortgage buying market, the sector needs to adapt accordingly. Customers are looking for similar user experiences to those they access in the retail sector. They want speed and convenience, multiple channels, and products, suited to their needs and desires, available 24/7/365.  

RPA offers this, and is also advancing in tandem with other forms of technology, such as application programming interface (API), that make connections between different software systems. API is a key enabler for the mortgage industry, offering integration with the whole ecosystem, from open banking and solicitor panels to lenders and brokers. It reduces the admin workload for brokers so they can spend more time with customers.

For lenders, it reduces application time and allows them to keep up with the latest technology – plugging into new APIs as new tech is released.  

In the short term, RPA requires commitments of time and investment. But to remain competitive and ease workload pressures, the industry should not be afraid to embrace RPA, API and other technological advances.  

They offer exciting opportunities that are here to help, not hinder.  

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