The last great change in our lifetime happened circa 1980, when the world began to transform from analog to the digital world we know today. Much like the Industrial Revolution, this shift was initially met with great resistance, but it ultimately changed the way we live and work forever.
Those born around this time have had a unique experience. The cohort born between 1978 and 1980 is neither fully Gen X nor complete digital natives. This generational subset was born into an analog life but moved into a digital world. In a nutshell, their experience – known as generational fuzziness – cleaves very closely to that of the Canadian mortgage industry, which is, figuratively, stuck in 1981.
Opposition to digital transformation is something our industry faces; resistance comes in many forms. Those who have had their hands on the levers of power are now experiencing that transitional phase, and some just can’t accept doing things differently.
Imagine travelling along a road for years with no intersections, no need to turn, and coming across everything you need to continue along the way – gas stations, food, hotels, etc. This was us, as mortgage agents, brokers and lenders, driving along a road called ‘status quo.’ Then one day, we hit a fork, and all of a sudden things changed.
So why has it taken us so long to reach this point?
We’ve taken advantage of a conservative nature. We’ve allowed a recession and then a thriving housing market to stand in the way of progress. At first, we were just trying to navigate the murky waters through 2008, and then we didn’t want to interrupt the thriving market of the past decade. Put more simply, the reason it has taken so long is tradition.
However, those who believe we are far behind in the race for innovation should think again. A quick trip to the digital mortgage conferences in Las Vegas showed me that we are not only keeping up with the early adopters, but are in a head-to-head race to the finish line.
Most of the cutting-edge technologies we are developing and implementing here in Canada are the same as what’s being developed and implemented in global markets, from more seamless workflows and automated deal management systems for agents, all the way to adjudication and servicing solutions for lenders, along with a sprinkle of artificial intelligence.
Today most, if not all, mortgage companies are shifting their mindset to digital strategies that will reshape their business and are thinking about how to apply technology to enhance the experience for customers, employees and industries.
Much of this transformation has to do with us. Mindset and perspective are huge influencers, sometimes greater than we know. As mortgage agents and brokers, our key role in this transformation is acceptance.
Ask yourself: Years ago, were we ready for change? Were we willing to accept tools and resources that would simplify our lives but that came at a cost, whether time or money? Most importantly, were we willing to listen to what the world was telling us and change the way we do business? I would be so bold as to answer no for the majority of us.
However, this mindset is changing. Agents expect more from their brokerages, brokers need more value, and together, we’re working to deliver a better experience to our customers. In order for us to fully embrace this transformation, we have to accept that our industry is evolving, our needs are changing, and we need help.
It means we must be looking at our businesses today from the perspective of tomorrow – and we have an advantage. We can prepare ourselves for change. We can begin to arm ourselves with the tools that we will need to power our businesses tomorrow.
It means we must be looking at our businesses today from the perspective of tomorrow – and we have an advantage. We can prepare ourselves for change. We can begin to arm ourselves with the tools that we will need to power our businesses tomorrow.We need our leaders to stop saying, “That’s the way it’s always been” and begin listening to those who are shouting, “Imagine the way it can be!”
Don’t allow the past to overshadow the future, and don’t let change hinder growth. The answer you’re looking for might not be far – all you need to do is look and allow that door to open when it presents itself.
Shubha Dasgupta is CEO of Capital Lending Centre and is focused on and committed to the progression and advancement of the mortgage industry