The Russian subsidiary of the Austrian lender Raiffeisenbank has run the country's first ever mortgage deal on blockchain. It could be a taste of more to come in the nation. In the transaction, a mortgage contract was issued as an xml document containing all relevant information, including data on the mortgage loan issuer, the borrower, date and place of signing the deal, the total amount of the loan, and the repayment period. The use of blockchain for mortgage loan issuance is set to increase the safety of data storage, cut depository costs, and speed up transactions for both borrower and lender, Raiffeisenbank said in announcing the deal. Normally, after sealing a mortgage deal, the borrower has to visit the bank again to deposit the mortgage contract, while the application of blockchain allows the borrower to do it remotely, also cutting the amount of paper documents.
Mortgages are one of the rare financial beasts most people with the means have, yet few actually understand. A study by the Pew Charitable Trust found mortgages are the most common type of debt in America, held by 44 percent of all Americans with any type of debt. NerdWallet estimated the average borrower owes $176,222 in mortgage debt although statistics vary wildly by state and income level. A new generation of fintech startups is helping millennials navigate the punishing housing market, from SoFi mortgages to the tech-savvy broker firm Morty, which raised $3 million to launch its marketplace for transparent price comparison, TechCrunch reported. Even traditional players like Morgan Stanley are hopping on the high-tech train.
HONG KONG – Hong Kong's banks, blindsided by rising funding costs due to the city's costly defense of its currency peg, are clamping down on popular fixed-rate mortgages. Bank of East Asia Ltd. is no longer accepting applications for these home loans "due to recent movements in interest rates," the lender said in an emailed reply on Friday, more than two months before it had originally planned to end the program. Industrial & Commercial Bank of China (Asia) Ltd. will stop from May 1. Bigger rivals HSBC Holdings Plc and BOC Hong Kong (Holdings) Ltd. stopped offering fixed-rate mortgages last month. These loans were provided at 1.68 percent for the first year of a new mortgage, lower than the 2.15 percent rate that currently prevails in the industry, according to data from Centaline Mortgage Broker Ltd. The discount became unsustainable as Hong Kong's interbank rates are rising, with the three-month borrowing cost having hit the highest since December 2008 and the monetary authority warning Thursday that costs are expected to climb.
Getting a mortgage is one of the few customer experiences that has, until now, been left pretty much untouched by the digital revolution. You still have to talk to someone on the phone, most likely book an appointment, and then meet with a real person face to face. But a small number of firms are starting to shake this up by going online. This week UK tech startup Habito has launched what it claims is'the world's first artificially intelligent digital mortgage adviser'. But what exactly does that mean?