Growing consumer expectations of a more efficient and transparent mortgage experience have been the driving force behind the wave of new technology being developed in the mortgage industry.
That trend will continue in 2018, with lenders putting greater emphasis on offering borrowers self-service options and advancing their use of data and analytics by more widely adopting automation and machine learning capabilities.
"You're going to see a lot more technology focused on that consumer interaction; designing things from a consumer perspective in both speed and ease of use and predictability," said Joe Mellman, senior vice president and mortgage business leader at TransUnion.
As digital mortgage technology helps consumers take a more hands-on approach to the mortgage process, they will also be exposed to more information and choices up front, including loan product types, pricing and rates, which were originally disconnected from the initial marketing and sales process, said Carlos Sa, head of information technology at Mortgage Network, explaining that financial records will be more centralized and borrowers will be able to do a lot more on their own.
"The loan officer role is going to shift from gathering a lot of data and entering things and pushing buttons to really being a consultant to the consumer, and acting upon the information rather than asking about it," said Joe Langner, CEO of loan origination system developer Blue Sage Solutions.
To support these changes, automation and machine learning through artificial intelligence will be more widely adopted throughout the industry in 2018.
Machine learning will help move processes along by absorbing information and utilizing it to improve future performance, and will also support automation by helping to predict next steps.
"Computers are now able to learn like human beings do. It's not just writing a custom model, but based on certain attributes, the machines are actually starting to learn," said Langner.
"What AI really means is taking advantage of all this information that's out there, and having a computer actually be able to learn it. We're getting to the point where the computers can actually be able to learn things and be able to help us do things that we ourselves may not be able to do as human beings," he continued.
The mortgage world will witness smarter decisions being made and automated in place of a heavier reliance on human beings to complete the same tasks, with advancements being made "in all sorts of automated processes," according to Randy Abbey, chief technology officer at TRK Connection.
Eventually, artificial intelligence could play a role in automating the back-end audit process, according to Abbey.
To support these new tech capabilities, partnerships in the mortgage space will also play a more vital role in the year ahead.
"I think 2018 is going to see a lot of newer, stronger alliances and strategic plays between technology vendors to build integrations to support the lenders and provide borrowers with the experience that they're looking for," Abbey said.