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Responsible lending engine to launch next week

A new artificial intelligence-based expenses verification engine is to officially launch next week and could help the mortgage industry meet its responsible lending and compliance obligations.

As first reported by Mortgage Business sister publication The Adviser, Opica Group’s new RELIE platform has been built to help “protect any broker or lender from a breach of their responsible lending requirements”.

According to Opica Group founder Brett Spencer, the platform is needed because “lenders traditionally have been very quick to put blame on brokers for any application that goes sour”.

It will officially launch with around 500 broker users next week, with national groups and aggregation companies already having reportedly signed up to use it.

The RELIE engine makes use of a specially built artificial intelligence engine, Sherlock™, which analyses a consumer’s banking and credit card transaction data over a period of 12 months and automatically provides “income verification, an understanding of the client’s mandatory expenditure, and therefore their ability to service a loan”.

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According to the group, the key differentiator of the RELIE platform when compared to credit checks is that it uses machine learning to categorise transactions, allowing for the differentiation of transaction types, including mandatory versus discretionary expenditure and recurring versus one-off spending.

It also automatically highlights areas of concerns within the transaction data such as undisclosed debts, spikes in expenditure of high-risk categories such as gambling, and possible changes in life circumstances such childbirth.

Speaking to Mortgage Business, Mr Spencer said: “The response to RELIE has been phenomenal. I knew we had something that was pertinent for the market, pertinent for the industry at this point in time, but I’d not realised how pertinent it was.

“The growth and the response that everyone has had to it has been unbelievable. I’ve been in tech for 20 years and I’ve never had a product launch that has been this successful.”

Mr Spencer revealed that the company will be initiating a roll-out of the platform with between 400 and 500 brokers next week, and it is also working with several lenders to understand how the technology could integrate into their businesses.

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He commented: “I think once the reaction from the interim royal commission report comes out in September, there will be a greater propensity for lenders to look at a system like RELIE to understand that they need a system like this.”

The Opica Group founder revealed that the group was in the process of discussing and demonstrating the product with regulators and industry associations to highlight what data can produce. 

According to Mr Spencer, the platform has also garnered interest from those outside the broking and lending sectors, such as debt collection companies and those that provide budgeting services and financial planning to consumers. 

“A lot of the response from some of them has been, when we talk to a customer, they don’t know what their budget is or how much they spend and this gives them a baseline to say this is what you have spent and how can we put a budget together for the next 12 months. So, there has been some good uptake for that. 

“When people look at it and think its only $10–$20 to set up a budget, it’s a no-brainer. So, it has been a much greater spread than we had originally intended the platform to be used for, which was just for mortgages and responsible lending. So, seeing where the data, and the power of that big data is, has been quite surprising.”

[Related: Major bank cracks down on living expenses]

Responsible lending engine to launch next week
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Annie Kane

Annie Kane is the editor of The Adviser and Mortgage Business.

As well as writing about the Australian broking industry, the mortgage market, financial regulation, fintechs and the wider lending landscape – Annie is also the host of the Elite Broker and In Focus podcasts and The Adviser Live webcasts. 

Contact Annie at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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