MReport January 2020

TheMReport — News and strategies for the evolving mortgage marketplace.

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16 | M R EP O RT M // How are the needs of younger homebuyers driving change in the mortgage industry? BUTLER // This generation grew up on the Uber experience: this idea that when they're looking for a service, it's nearly instanta- neous in terms of getting what they want. Certainly, they have lots of transparency built into the service. This old way of thinking, where you throw stuff over the wall and hear about it through a phone call or an email down the road, that just isn't going to work. It's got to be very interactive. That's the other thing that the millennials have become comfortable with—ev- erything is interactive and transparent. They're driving technology changes, and they're shifting and looking for provid- ers that can offer that experience. It's the idea that you could go home at night at 9:00 p.m. or whenever you want to do it, upload your documents, and almost instantly be told, "you're missing this document," or your social security number is not consistent across all the docu- ments, or the data that you put on your application doesn't match the income data or the asset data you put on the documents. Today, that's a multiweek process that we could deliver within an hour through technol- ogy. That's the experience that the millennials want, and what the future is all about for the mort- gage industry, and pretty much any industry. They're driving a lot of technological changes on the customer-experience side. M // Why has the mortgage industry been slow to keep up with technological advancements? BUTLER // I think the complex- ity involved is significant. It's a very analog process. By that I mean, everything is paper-driven and rich in documents—there's a document for everything. There are thousands of documents. As a result, anytime you introduce that amount of paper, you've intro- duced a lot of labor. It's hard to mechanize it. You have to turn it into a robotic process. Part of it is that you had the Sarbanes-Oxley wave of regula- tions in the early 2000s, and then you had the next round of regulations that came in 2008 and 2009 due to the issues with the subprime market. It's a regulation- driven industry, which has created a lot of the complexity in docu- ments, and that's why it is. Banks and mortgage companies, who have to be somewhat conservative, have been reluctant or have found it difficult to sort of take a process that works. It's expensive. We recently debuted our Agile Mortgages solution, which is a platform for automating the mort- gage process from end-to-end. Meaning right from the beginning at the origination, through under- writing, close, and post-close, and even into the secondary market, the platform integrates a number of AI technologies that we've developed, including computer vision, machine learning, and robotic processing. It integrates it into a platform to accomplish that level of automation. AI Foundry is comprised of data scientists, mortgage professionals, and enterprise software people. We started four years ago wanting to take business-process automation to a new level and to start automating things that, up to now, have not been able to be automated because of the amount of complexity. We did some research in the marketplace, started to talk to banks and mortgage companies, and realized that the back office of the typical mortgage-processing operation is heavily labor-intensive. In fact, the industry employs a Buyers 'Demanding' Automation From the Industry Stephen Butler, Founder and President of AI Foundry, discusses how younger homebuyers are forcing the industry to change how it acts, reacts, and communicates with borrowers. This generation grew up on the Uber experience: this idea that when they're looking for a service, it's nearly instantaneous in terms of getting what they want. A I Foundry automates and streamlines enterprise business operations, as well as creating software solutions that make data actionable. Prior to founding the company, Stephen Butler's leadership included CEO positions for companies such as Terascala, ManageSoft, and Carbon Design Systems. Butler recently spoke with MReport about the lessons AI Foundry is taking away from its development of new products, its partnership with Ellie Mae, and how he thinks a new generation of buyers are changing the market. EXPERT INSIGHTS ON: MORTGAGE TECH

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