Melding mortgage brokers and technology is the way forward

However, some industry observers argue that the mortgage professional might become superfluous

Melding mortgage brokers and technology is the way forward

Canada’s financial institutions remain confident that the seamless combination of knowledgeable professionals and ever-advancing technologies would best help customers.

Industry observers have warned, however, that it’s just a matter of time before artificial intelligence and other disruptive innovations totally overturn the role of the mortgage broker.

TD Bank vice-president of real estate secured lending Pat Giles asserted that the mortgage broker will never fade from relevance, even with the prodigious advances in AI spearheaded by think tanks in Toronto and other leading research centres.

“Canadians have different needs when it comes to home ownership, and for the majority their path begins by going online, with many wanting the option to start their mortgage application process there as well,” Giles said in an interview with CMP.

“As our customers’ expectations continue to evolve, it’s important for TD to continue building solutions that provide personalized, connected experiences in the home-buying process.”

The statements came in the wake of TD Bank’s launch of its digital mortgage application earlier this month. This platform is designed to provide clients expanded control of their information and round-the-clock access on every device type.

Read more: Industry still resistant to tech innovations

Royal Bank of Canada acknowledged that while the mortgage process can (and should be) improved with the available technology, it does not see mortgage advisers being overturned by smart machines any time soon.

“Time and time again, [people say] ‘Look, this is a big purchase, I need to talk to somebody. I need to know this is going to go through and I want to talk about affordability,’” RBC vice-president of home equity financing Nicole Wells told CBC News.

“A lot of people make decisions just on rate, but it’s so much more. It’s how you manage all the costs of home ownership. You can’t get that all online and most people just want someone to talk to.”

On the other hand, Rob McLister of cautioned that most transactions in the future will be handled by advanced chatbots.

“Most people someday will not need a human touch to get a mortgage. They won’t even want it,” McLister argued. “If you can get a materially better rate online for less dealings with a human being, the majority of folks are going to take that offer.”

“Not everyone is going to be able to close a digital mortgage end to end without human contact, but the number of people who will accept that will grow. It’s just a matter of time.”