When Clayton Christensen wrote his 1995 article, Disruptive Technologies, he probably had no idea that it would lead to executives working in every industry looking over their shoulders for the big idea that would disrupt their businesses. Of course, he was writing about the technology business, which has been my home since 1999. He was right about the disruption new technologies would bring to our lives. And his readers were right to be watching their backs. Sooner or later, every industry gets disrupted.
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.
No longer the "stuff of science fiction," artificial intelligence (AI) is at the heart of a new wave of technology – transforming mortgage lending. Today, lenders are applying powerful new tools based on artificial intelligence and machine learning to make the process of underwriting and approving mortgages faster and more accurate. It is helping lenders predict consumer behavior and evaluate risk more accurately. Machine learning is also making online financial advice from lenders become more intuitive, individualized, accurate, and available 24/7. Financial technology (fintech) is all the rage among mortgage marketers today, but some lenders are far ahead of others in creating and applying AI to their businesses.
A conceptual image of a businessman offering a Bitcoin to purchase large single family home. It is a seller's market these days for homes across the top U.S. metro areas. Home prices have been rising - up 8% from 2017 - and homes are shifting fast as inventory and days on the market are down according to recent data by 8% and 7%, respectively. That said, home ownership for many remains a distant pipedream. Consequently all this is putting pressure on prospective homebuyers to settle deals quickly before opportunities to purchase dry up.
Global banks that have a large mortgage business are facing pressure internally and externally to upgrade their operating model to save money, decrease processing times and enhance the customer experience – today it can take more than 60 days to complete a mortgage transaction. The pressure is particularly strong with FinTechs like US online lender Rocket Mortgage and UK digital mortgage broker Trussle creating a completely digital experience for prospective home buyers. Banks, therefore, are exploring everything from mature technologies like Optical Character Recognition (OCR) to more leading edge and high-tech solutions based on blockchain and artificial intelligence. While some of these solutions could dramatically impact day-to-day business for lenders and their brokers and customers, blockchain has the potential to completely transform the entire mortgage financing industry. The financial services industry is all about trust – whether relationship based, reputational, authoritative (legal) or transactional – banking today is built on trust.