Are we about to see an online mortgage revolution?

 

Finding and applying for a mortgage has always been a fairly long-winded and often tedious process, but it seems the mortgage industry is finally catching up with the digital revolution.

Most major lenders can now at least begin the mortgage application process online; although having to drop offline to complete the application over the phone and via the post is still commonplace. Fortunately, with the rise in the number of mortgage brokers conducting their business online, Habito, Trussle and Dwell for example, finding a mortgage is getting easier.

This year, mortgage broker Nuvo is going a step further with the launch of its Facebook Messenger service utilising smart technology and artificial intelligence.

Accessed via Facebook Messenger, the Nuvo chatbot, when provided with some basic customer information, can suggest the best mortgage options in under one minute. More importantly, the chatbot can answer customer questions at any point in the process and deal with more complex mortgage requirements.

Smoother future

For the online-savvy and time-poor customer, accessing the chatbot via Facebook makes the task of mortgage hunting simpler and easier. Eventually, Nuvo plans for the whole mortgage application process to be completed via the chatbot, but will ensure that qualified (human) advisers are always on hand to provide assistance and vet decisions before customers complete their purchase.

The Nuvo platform has been designed to fill the gap between price comparison websites and fee charging traditional brokers, and fulfil the growing demand for online services.

Nuvo developer Richard Hayes says the company’s artificial intelligence powered chatbot sets it apart in the sector: “It allows customers to provide details via chat which not only is more natural than form filling, but it also means the process is two-way so the customer can ask a question at any point if there is something they don’t understand.

“We have launched in Facebook Messenger for the beta as this will allow the chatbots natural language understanding technology time to develop in advance of our consumer launch in 2018.”

Innovative landscape

While Nuvo has an edge on other mortgage brokers, it is unlikely it will be alone for long, as many are making strides towards automating the mortgage application process.

The major lenders are busy working behind the scenes on technology to allow borrowers to apply online and receive mortgage offers from multiple lenders, as well as looking at joining the mortgage application processes together in one automated integrated system, like Nuvo is intending.

With the support of the Bank of England, the industry is making significant positive steps. Speaking at an event last year, Bank of England governor Mark Carney said: “To its advocates, this wave of innovation promises a FinTech (financial technology) revolution that will democratise financial services. Consumers will get more choice, better-targeted services and keener pricing. As customers become more willing to delegate decision-making to machines, their funds and loans are being better matched with the best rates from around the system.”

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