Blend’s new AI-powered chat tool isn’t like the others

The AI-powered assistant ‘Copilot’ takes the extra step that other lenders’ chat functions cannot perform: Ghamsari

Mortgage tech firm Blend Labs has launched its first AI-powered chat tool, which it says will allow loan officers to be more efficient and offer a far more personalized touch for prospective borrowers.

The AI-powered assistant ‘Copilot’ executes precise tasks and assists borrowers in giving timely answers to borrower questions on behalf of loan originators, Nima Ghamsari, Blend’s co-founder and CEO, said in an interview with HousingWire on Friday. 

In addition to a chat feature that Ghamsari said a lot of lenders are using via SMS or messaging, Blend connects all the providers that are required internally to the bank and the lender, and externally to the customer, to get a full understanding of the consumer’s financial situation and the lender’s products and services.

The AI layer of Copilot goes a step further to deconstruct nuanced questions, which is what Blend said sets the new tool apart from other existing chat features. 

“If you ask a really nuanced question, like ‘Can you show me a monthly payment with a 15-year fixed and no down payments, or a 30-year fixed, and a 10% down [payment]?’ You can then go and actually break that down into seven different systems with companies, run those seven things twice for two different scenarios, and then come back to the consumer with the answer side by side and say, ‘Here’s your monthly payment and your upfront cash the monthly payment compared to this one,’” Ghamsari explained.

In a previous interview with HousingWire, Ghamsari noted AI is about combining an understanding of what the client is trying to accomplish.

“Now that a system can understand the essence of the question the consumer is trying to understand, it (AI) can actually do that work for the LO in the background, and then when the LO shows up, that work is already done,” Ghamsari had said.

“Some of these borrowers have hundreds of products that they can choose from. How is an LO supposed to keep that in their head? It’s too much context, and this will be a supercharger for them,” the CEO explained. 

The goal is to make Copilot practical and useful for LOs’ workflow.

“A lot of the AI use cases I’ve seen today are not immediately utilitarian. So people look at it, they like it, they try, [but] it doesn’t actually serve some natural function in their life,” Ghamsari said.

The company announced the tool this week but won’t be rolling it out to its clients immediately.

Blend is working with a few LOs internally to test the tool and plans to expand it to its customers on the waitlist gradually.

“We just announced it Tuesday and we have a really good solid waitlist already. My approach with products like this is to make it work extremely well,” Ghamsari noted.

The San Francisco, California-based mortgage tech firm reported a non-GAAP net loss of $22.7 million in the second quarter, narrowing the loss from $35.6 million in Q1 and $45.1 million in Q2 2022. 

Its financial improvement was largely driven by its resilient customer base and growing mortgage market share, the company said in its Q2 financial earnings call with analysts. 

Blend has focused heavily on cutting costs to adjust to the rising interest-rate environment. Ghamsari noted the company conducted layoffs in Q3 as part of rightsizing efforts.

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