Loan Talk, 6th August 2014, Sourcing systems: As complex as the human brain?

While some argue that sourcing systems boast unrivalled speed, industry leaders discuss whether the nuts and bolts of technology can be as efficient as those of the human brain.

Fully compliant sourcing systems have been highly rated by finance professionals for being speedy, efficient and accurate. However, these competitive advantages of a sourcing system can only work as a compliment to the criteria of a lender’s published terms. Therefore, can a system quantify a lender’s flexibility on a specific case?
On this matter, Andy Pelley, Director of The Loan Partnership said: “Computer systems work on following rules, and some lenders have not underwriters who are able to look at cases as a whole and if there is a small exception, take a view that this application is still one they want to lend on. Underwriters work on looking at a case, interpreting the rules and making a judgement.
“I think the ideal situation is a hybrid one, where a sourcing system provides an answer, and an experienced underwriter sense-checks that answer. Then they see if they can do better than the system, by interpreting the decision and referring the application to a lender where they feel there is merit in doing so.”
However, Nicola Georgiou at Freedom Finance argued that it is virtually impossible for underwriters to be able to review and assess all secured lending products as there is such a vast number in the market.
Promise Solutions’ Steve Walker highlighted a significant disadvantage to an underwriter’s capability in comparison to that of software, the possibility of human error. “Systems can be taught to remember and consider what humans can forget or overlook.”
The experts asserted that whereas many smaller businesses have a greater reliance on manual underwriting, larger brokers tend to combine the use of technology and underwriters.
Maeve Ward from Shawbrook, stated: “It doesn’t matter whether it’s a system or an experienced underwriter…The key here is to correctly capture and understand the needs of the customer in order to provide the best possible outcome.
“Relying solely on a sourcing system could lead to lost opportunities, possibly limiting customer options or worst case, recommending a product that is very expensive.”
Tom Garratt, Head of Intermediary Channel, The Loans Engine, also made a good point, stating: “Most brokers prefer face-to-face communication at some point as it encourages discussion and helps develop understanding.