How will AI affect mortgage broking?

Mandeep Sodhi believes that brokers will write 70% of mortgages by the end of next year. He says this is because the role is becoming more and more relationship driven as automated technology takes care of administrative work.

MPA spoke with the founder and CEO of Effi about the future of broking and the way machinery will complement the work of humans.

A holistic approach

Sodhi started working in the finance industry 15 years ago in a management consultant role at CBA, before going on to work for the likes of AMP, Westpac and BT Financial.

In 2015 he founded HashChing and grew the business to work with more than 700 brokers.

He says this experience opened his eyes to the lack of a comprehensive tech platform in place; explaining that while brokers are excellent at building relationships, the need to jump in and out of different systems to manage their needs didn’t work to their advantage.

“I felt that they didn’t have a great system in place.”

“We felt that there needed to be just one portal where the broker or borrower can log in.”

Rather than risk emails going astray or getting lost in the junk folder, Sodhi envisioned a platform that could take care of everything – communication, marketing and generating leads.

He launched Effi on June 30, describing it as a shake-up to the industry.

Predictive tech will pave the way

One major feature of the AI powered platform is its use of predictive technology, whereby the system learns the behaviour and language of the broker in order to communicate with the customer through automatically generated email or text message content.

“Over time it will start learning from that behaviour and it will say to the broker, hey, I’ve already prepared the content for you, would you like to send it?”

Eventually, the broker will have the capacity to switch this on autopilot and let the system send out messages to clients without asking the broker for consent first.

Effi also has an SMS bot that recognises when a customer hasn’t responded for a period of time, and asks the broker if they would like it to get in contact with them to follow up.

The bot then sends a message to the customer and can even book an appointment for the broker to call them at whatever day and time the customer requests – all without the customer knowing they were talking to a bot.

At the moment, Effi is trialling a voice-enabled mobile app to integrate with a car’s voice assistant so that when life goes back to normal and brokers are on the road, they can ask Effi to call a customer or set a reminder to contact the customer at a later date.

Platform drives new business

Offering a holistic approach to a broker’s workflow, Effi also takes care of marketing and lead generation.

“We are the only CRM in the market where we help brokers grow their business.”

“If you are having a slow month you can pretty much go into our system and say I want 10 appointments.”

“You don’t have to worry about landing pages or marketing campaigns, we will push your profile on high traffic comparison sites we are working with and your profile will appear there.”

The platform also allows brokers to earn revenue through partnerships with ancillary services such as conveyancers and utility companies.

The future of broking

Sodhi says he is completely against the notion that AI or machinery will take over the job of a mortgage broker.

“I don’t think mortgage broking can be replaced.”

“Mortgage broking is now more and more relationship driven.”

“People are not trusting bots to do that.”

Instead, he believes that automation will take care of the compliance needs of brokers so that they can focus on doing what they do best – taking care of the customer’s best interests.

“Mortgage broking is a personal, relationship driven business where maintaining frequent touch points with each customer is paramount, in addition to acting in the client’s best interests and complying with all necessary regulatory obligations.”

“I think brokers need smart technology to keep up with the regulatory demand that is coming up and spend more time interacting with the customers.”