Mint Property Finance

The role of human touch in a world of data

Digital technology has changed the way most businesses operate, and the finance sector is no different.

From new and emerging fintech to APIs, the many applications of blockchain, and AI technology, the benefits are countless.

But can digital technology ever replace the human touch when it comes to specialist lending?

I believe that striking the right balance between using data, reporting, analytics, automation, algorithms and personal relationships is vital.

Algorithms build and are built on learned behaviour. That’s valuable when a business is working with a relatively fixed set of criteria. When dealing with more complex applications, however, a computer-generated algorithm can present challenges. Put simply, they struggle to unlearn the learned behaviours developed over time and adapt to the evolving situation. They’re unable to detect and consider the small, but often vitally important, factors that can make a difference to an application.  In this scenario, a personal relationship borne of mutual understanding and the ability to deploy autonomous decision making is far superior.

The value of a combined human and digitally driven approach extends far beyond complex deals and can be felt at every stage in brokering and managing a specialist finance case.

Mint Property Finance is committed to bringing the human-touch to lending. We’re advocates of the old ‘bank manager approach’ of picking up the telephone to have a personal conversation. Data is crucial to the industry, and we’re proud to invest in the latest emerging technology. Relationships, however, are of equal value.

This is why I have put together five areas where a combined data and human touch approach will lead to best practice:

1. Structuring a loan

There are some reasonably complex products on the market with varying and often stepped rates and differing upfront charges, as well as a myriad of terms and conditions. Data analysis is key to understanding the market.  When it comes to structuring a loan, however, a programmed bot will never replace an expert team, who work closely with borrowers to navigate the challenges and shape the best deal.

2. Borrowers or lending that is outside of criteria

Specialist finance can be an attractive option to borrowers who don’t meet the lending criteria of commercial banks that often rely on a binary ‘box ticking exercise.’  The lender-borrower relationship is invaluable in this situation, where it can read and respond to information an algorithm simply cannot.

3. Borrower experience

If you are new to bridging and development, you will understandably have questions about your loan transaction. While AI can play a key role in managing broad customer questions, a personal conversation will always offer superior value.

4. Local intelligence

A lender’s level of knowledge goes far beyond understanding computer-generated data. They have an unrivalled comprehension of the local area. This is invaluable to the borrower when negotiating the best rates and LTVs.

5. When things don’t go to plan

On occasion, the best managed developments don’t go to plan. In these situations, the lender-borrower relationship really comes into its own by enabling sensible and pragmatic conversations to be had to find acceptable and reasonable solutions which aren’t punitive.

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