In the Spotlight with Thomas Chaplin, nCino

We spoke to Thomas Chaplin, head of product for EMEA mortgages at nCino, about how the firm's mortgage origination solution makes the lending process smoother for brokers and borrowers, how technology can support lenders in adapting to market changes, and how AI and machine learning will impact the broader mortgage market.

Related topics:  In The Spotlight,  Mortgages
Rozi Jones | Editor, Barcadia Media Limited
13th October 2023
Thomas Chaplin nCino
"Customer retention and affordability are going to be the biggest challenges over the next year, and they are inevitably linked."

FR: To start with, can you tell us a little bit about nCino and your role?

I am the head of product for mortgages in EMEA at nCino, a cloud-based, integrated solution for lenders that spans the entire mortgage origination lifecycle. My role is to set the vision, strategic direction and roadmap for our mortgage product and then oversee execution to plan, leading multiple teams to create compelling user experiences and features for customers and clients alike.

FR: What makes nCino and its mortgage solution stand out as an omni-channel technology platform for lenders? How are you looking to expand it?

nCino's mortgage solution stands out through its unique blend of adaptability and scalability. Our mortgage solution currently focuses on supporting clients in key areas such as revenue growth, automation, operational efficiency, faster decisioning, and enhancing user experience across the board. We achieve this through the ease of integration of our solutions, leveraging our expertise in the cloud and by being API first.

Through open APIs and specialised integrations, we can create an open ecosystem to pull in data from several sources, making it easier for lenders to seamlessly connect their systems with credit reporting agencies, and other third-party applications, ultimately making the mortgage origination smoother for brokers and borrowers.

Our fully configurable solution also allows lenders to tailor it precisely to their requirements, eliminating vendor dependencies. They can make adjustments directly on the platform, aligning themselves with market changes, customer preferences, and evolving regulations quickly and can bring products to market in a matter of hours, not months.

Looking ahead, our aim is to be aligned with the next phase of digital transformation within the mortgage industry. We want to support the need for greater customer self-service post-loan origination, develop specialised user experiences for landlords, and, importantly, embrace AI for pricing and operational efficiency improvements. This commitment to adaptability and innovation underscores our dedication to staying at the forefront of mortgage technology.

FR: The mortgage sector has seen a lot of volatility this year. How has nCino been supporting lenders in adapting to market changes?

It’s undoubtedly been one of the most turbulent years in the mortgage market in recent years. Along with new homebuyers, many customers are coming to the end of their low rate fixed-rate mortgages and face much higher monthly repayments as interest rates continue to rise. For many lenders still reliant on legacy technology, adapting effectively to these market shifts through the introduction of new products, rate changes, and policy adjustments can be more challenging to implement. nCino, however, empowers lenders to respond nimbly to this changing landscape. With our platform, lenders can administer policy changes independently. This real-time control enables lenders to adapt swiftly as market conditions evolve, enabling them to introduce new rates, products, and propositions promptly in response to the dynamic mortgage market.

FR: How do you see AI and machine learning impacting the broader mortgage market?

The influence of AI and machine learning on the broader mortgage market is multifaceted and one that extends far beyond chatbots, like ChatGPT. In fact, AI has already been a part of the mortgage landscape for several years, with predictive analytics, virtual agents and robotics AI being widely used.

The next phase for AI will be to take predictive analytics to the next level and use it to enable preapproved lending, personalised pricing, real-time recommendations for policy changes based on data-driven insights, and smarter allocation of underwriting cases, all of which enhance operational efficiency.

Data is key here for lenders wanting to make more intelligent operational and lending decisions. Mortgage providers need to utilise the technology coming down the pipe to harness this data and reshape traditional banking practices for better risk management, improved efficiency, and personalised services.

Technology is constantly evolving and while we can see the widespread adoption of machine learning and AI tools to automate parts of the mortgage lending process, there is still more that can be done.

FR: What opportunities and challenges do you foresee for mortgage lenders and their customers in the next 12 months?

Customer retention and affordability are going to be the biggest challenges over the next year, and they are inevitably linked.

As many borrowers approach the end of the term of their fixed-rate mortgages, lenders will be keen on retaining their existing customers who will be actively shopping around for the best rates. Simultaneously, they must address and respond to affordability challenges as they emerge, and proactively leverage customer data to pre-empt any arrears issues.

In this challenging and evolving climate, the adoption of a unified platform, such as nCino, can be the difference in helping lenders operate and manage their business effectively. At nCino, we offer lenders a comprehensive view of their customer data, while also providing transparency and delivering a superior experience for customers borrowers, making the overall experience for lenders, brokers, and borrowers as seamless as possible – something that is vital in this economic environment.

FR: What's something in mortgages that no one is talking about, but lenders should be paying attention to?

The cost of inaction when it comes to upgrading their technology. Lenders are fully aware of the benefits of re-platforming, but many continue to build on top of legacy systems. Unfortunately, this makes any existing problems even harder to unpick later down the line.

For many lenders, the risk or cost of transformation projects can be the deterrent in updating their technology, but until legacy systems are replaced, it will always be harder, longer, and more expensive for customers and lenders to benefit from market developments, such as Open Banking, the creation of a mortgage ecosystem, or even AI and data transformation.

Lenders will only fully achieve optimal efficiency, scalability, and profitability gains by tackling legacy technology. Those lenders who are the first movers in the transition to cloud native solutions will undoubtedly have the competitive advantage over their peers.

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