Speaking at the UK Finance Annual Mortgage Conference, Van der Heijdn said that consumers were demanding tech innovations – such as Habito – because the industry was currently falling short of expectations.
“Customers don’t like what we’re offering collectively. And collectively is important because mortgages, more than any other product – maybe as much as investments – is an ecosystem of partners working together,” he said.
Van der Heijdn said that people were overwhelmed by the complexity of the mortgage process, they can be more hesitant about disclosing personal information to another person (in comparison to a computer), and can also be suspicious of the financial system.
Bad end product
He argued that this was where technology developments were most valuable – for their capacity to evolve and enhance a marketplace that simply was not providing their customers with what they want.
“Whatever the beautiful of that ecosystem working together, the customer doesn’t like the end product,” said Van de Heijdn.
Moreover, as consumers are getting more accustomed to technology being embedded within increasing parts of our lives, they were expecting the same convenience in mortgages, too.
“Now that I’ve seen the one-click shop at Amazon to buy my Christmas presents, why is it so hard to sign up for a mortgage? People are getting more comfortable in other categories [of technology], then expecting more of the mortgage category,” he continued.
With the assistance from tech-enabled tools, Van der Heijdn thinks the industry can create products which consumers demand through “an easy to use process, that’s low on complexity and as low on elapsed time as possible, with clear information and seamless cooperation between all the parties.”
However, this by no entails a raft of new tech solutions taking over the mortgage market: “At Habito, we think you need a combination [of humans and computers],” he said.
“I don’t like the phrase robo-advice that much. I think there’s a place for what computers can do – which is solve really complex, big data problems. And there’s a right place to have a human conversation,” he added.