loanDepot CEO: Mortgage technology does not replace loan officers

One of the most highly-debated topics right now

As one of the most vocal mortgage industry leaders on LinkedIn, Anthony Hsieh, the founder and CEO of loanDepot, took to the platform to defend one of the most highly-debated topics in the space: Will technology replace loan officers?

Over the past week, several loanDepot employees posted photos on LinkedIn of the nonbank’s new iPad kiosks.

The posts were intended to share exciting news from employees on the growth of technology at loanDepot, but the intended message didn’t always translate well.

While one post received more than 20 comments from people excited about the news, another post included comments from people who weren’t as ecstatic about it.

For example, commenters on one post said, “This is exciting news” and “yes that is exactly what I need.”

However, other commenters disagreed, saying, “Before you know it a Loan officer will be irrelevant not good for the business,” and “Maybe the MLO is going the way of the travel agent?”

But Hsieh was quick to shut down the negative comments and defend the company he founded.

Hsieh’s post on LinkedIn:

Recently A few loanDepot team members posted a simple photo of a few iPads mounted on pedestals that operate as kiosks. The defensive comments from industry competitors on these posts shows a misguided and misunderstanding of technology.  Some commented why is this nice when it’s there to replace you. Others commented that our industry is about relationships. Relax everyone, it’s just a few iPads, a technology that has been around for over 10 years. Technology does not replace relationships, it enhances it. Just ask Amazon.  Everyone should also remember the intimate relationship you all have with your smart phones.  Being defensive is not a strategy for the very real digital age that is upon us.

This negative response from some users strikes similarities to the backlash Quicken Loans received after it premiered its digital mortgage platform, Rocket Mortgage, during a Super Bowl commercial in 2016.

After it aired, a lot of viewers fueled bombastic panic on Twitter, claiming that Rocket Mortgage will lead to the housing crisis redux.

This means it was only a year ago that people scoffed at the idea of a digital mortgage, yet look at the industry now. A lot of lenders are going the way of Quicken Loans, unveiling digital mortgages of their own.

The use of technology is rapidly infiltrating the industry, and I would venture to say this the debate is still far from over.

As Hsieh said, there is a very real digital age that is upon us.

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