AI isn't the enemy - it's time to embrace the tech that suits your business

Jeff Knight | Director of marketing, Foundation Home Loans
12th July 2019
Jeff Knight

In a previous piece I looked at robo-relationships and how all parties within the lending and advice chain should be focusing on a more joined-up tech approach to improve the mortgage journey.

Here at Foundation Home Loans, technology is a topic close to our heart and in a recent tech round table another interesting term reared its head - Augmented intelligence. Yes, it was a new one on me too.

When it comes to technology, in my opinion, too many people see it as being black and white. They love it or hate it. They are threatened by it or are embracing it, with an overriding feeling that whilst certain areas of tech can prove useful, other bits are certainly not. What can often be missed though, in a similar way to robo-relationships, is there is often a middle ground to be found when it comes to the benefits attached to technology.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning are areas of the tech world which are progressing rapidly to challenge how a variety of businesses support the needs of their customers. When it comes to the mortgage market, this can often be a touchy subject and a fear remains amongst the intermediary community that the introduction of such functionality comes with the risk of deskilling the advice process as we currently know it – which is a valid concern, to an extent.

But how is AI currently being perceived by the wider financial services industry?

According to recent research by Headspring - which surveyed office workers working within financial services - almost two in five (38%) associated AI technology with creating 'robots or systems which replace human jobs’. When thinking generally about decisions made in relation to their current job, 49% of this audience said they would be more likely to trust decisions made by humans than AI, with just 7% saying the opposite. 28% said they would be likely to trust them equally.

Despite this, the report suggested that financial services workers are more likely than any other industry to believe that technology incorporating AI would be able to do a more accurate job at financial forecasting (49%) than a human. 59% believed data handling would be better handled by AI and 35% thought AI could tackle IT, accounting and financial affairs better than human workers.

These represent some interesting findings. What is clear is that AI and machine learning are only as good as the data they are working with and the scenarios being set. Due to the complexities attached to many areas of the mortgage market it is highly unlikely that they will ever become the basis of a true lending solution and intermediaries are far too valuable – in terms of their experience, expertise, contacts and the need for human interaction from clients - to be replaced by any form of technology.

These are not all-encompassing solutions for the mortgage market, but they can prove to be valuable assets for lenders and intermediary firms within certain areas of their business. For example, helping to track and highlight trends within compliance. And there are many such areas– when broken down into smaller chunks – where such tech can add real value. And many sectors are focusing on using the benefits attached to AI and machine learning for better consumer engagement, particularly amongst the younger generation.

Augmented intelligence could be yet another key component in a more seamless and efficient mortgage journey for lenders, distributors, intermediaries and borrowers. So, let's embrace the tech facilities which best service your individual business needs rather than fearing solutions which are unlikely to ever come to fruition.

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