The future for mortgage FinTech

The Mortgage industry is constantly evolving to meet the changing needs of borrowers and brokers. The application of new technology to accelerate and improve customer journeys will continue to revolutionise the sector and advances in artificial intelligence and machine learning are already making a noticeable impact. Mat Elliott shares his thoughts on the present and future of FinTech and the ways in which customers, brokers and lenders may benefit.

Mat Elliott is the co-founder of Nivo. Along with Mike Common, they created a FinTech company focused on making it as easy as possible for customers to engage with banks, lenders and brokers. Nivo lets any regulated service provider instantly offer a complete sign up and service experience over mobile. Following a successful launch of their ID&V and E-signing service, Nivo is now partnering with United Trust Bank to scale and enhance the proposition.

The future for mortgage FinTech        

I believe that innovation should start with what the customer wants. Right at the top of this list are speed, convenience and smooth mobile first experiences. Confidence in security and data privacy are increasingly important too. Yet across the industry, paper, phone and unsecure email are prevalent. So before turning to tomorrow’s technologies, let’s consider how to shift away from these slow, clunky channels today.

The best place to start is to keep it simple. It’s not about a complete, integrated, omni-channel experience – that’s just consultancy buzz – no customer ever asked for it. Far more effective is to have a sharp focus on letting customers do as much as possible in a single, convenient mobile channel – think Monzo, Revolut, Uber – fast, easy, pull your phone out of your pocket and get straight to what you want.

We’ve seen financial services organisations, faced with demand from customers wanting to engage over instant messaging services such as WhatsApp, respond by enhancing such services to meet compliance and security standards, share files and photos, verify IDs, confirm income and collect signatures. This means that they can now offer a complete range of sign up and service through this digital channel. It is an incredibly fast and low risk way to unlock immediate benefits.

The flexibility of secure messaging suits the nuances of the mortgage market well. Any wrinkle and niche case can be handled without a ‘computer says no’ objection, which is crucial as an increasingly personalised customer service is required and no two cases are ever the same.

Companies that invest in such natural language-based platforms are laying down a core foundation from which to exploit new, powerful automation services. It’s simple to start manually, by offering a staffed service, then over time, layer in basic automation bots for lower value activities while retaining the ability for a human adviser to step in as required.

Following their initial simpler automation steps, we expect an evolution towards bolder, Machine Learning leaps. The technologies which have powered the emergence of Amazon’s Alexa are available to any organisation that is engaging customers digitally through natural language. As the volume of conversations increases, so does the accuracy of these machine learning engines. The more customers engage with you, the better the system performs. This is a particularly powerful route to delivering ongoing efficiency and experience benefits and one which we expect to drive the next major shift in efficiency automation.

Outside of natural language, Biometric Identity Verification, Open Banking and E-signing were highlighted by UTB’s broker survey as three technologies with the highest potential to impact the mortgage industry from 2020. These technologies have been proven in the wider market, so the mortgage industry can safely adopt them, today, with minimal risk. They will deliver value, especially when delivered together, as conveniently as possible for the customer, and distributed through smart automated journeys.

Looking further to the future, I see richer sets of personal information being shared across organisations with lower effort, higher transparency, and with the customer more clearly in control. I see smarter data analysis and decisioning tools helping to make better risk decisions, and APIs continuing to enable different systems to talk to each other.

I see future winners standing out through their ability to embrace the above to inform better risk decisions and develop better products, through technologies complemented by human conversations in a market where every consumer can more easily access a wider set of increasingly personalised offers.

I believe future winners will be those who understand that technology is simply a means of making things as easy as possible for the customer, and who have the foresight to invest now in developing a culture of agile experimentation based around quickly getting new services in to the hands of customers, measuring results, learning quickly and doing more of what works.