Commercial Magazine

Revolutionizing Financial Workflows

Artificial intelligence is transforming loan processing

By Aaron Rafferty

In the world of commercial real estate, delays are costly. When a loan application gets bogged down, it can jeopardize the deal by causing buyers to miss deadlines. Mere slowdowns in finalizing deals can mean financial penalties and other frustrations.

For businesses, a delayed loan can cause a wide variety of problems. Cash flow can be disrupted, and growth initiatives can falter. Relationships with suppliers and consumers can both be negatively affected when financing is held up by inefficiencies in the lending process.

The fallout from delays can affect both brokers and lenders. Those who develop a reputation for long and laborious loan processes that regularly include unexpected delays will struggle to gain repeat business and attract new customers. On the other hand, brokers and lenders who can offer a streamlined and reliable process that is clear, consistent and delay-free will have no trouble obtaining five-star reviews.

To achieve higher levels of efficiency and effectiveness in loan workflows, brokers and financial institutions are turning to tools that leverage the power of artificial intelligence (AI). These AI-driven tools have the potential to revolutionize financial workflows, especially in the areas of data processing, underwriting and lead generation.

A new copilot

AI copilots — the term used to describe AI tools that can accomplish routine tasks with impressive speed and accuracy — have become all the rage in the past year and are popping up in virtually every industry. Attorneys are using them to manage research and contract analysis, educators are using them to create lesson plans and doctors are using them to keep notes during consultations.

This technology is different from other AI-driven assistants because it is embedded in workflow tools. Copilots are in the cockpit with users, providing support as they navigate through workflows, rather than requiring users to shift their focus to a supplemental tool to gain help. For example, the Salesforce Einstein Copilot serves as an AI-powered assistant within all of Salesforce’s applications. Some other AI products, on the other hand, don’t have the same features.

AI agents take the capabilities of copilots to another level by operating with greater independence. While copilots enhance human efforts to streamline workflows, agents can handle entire processes on their own. AI agents are a cost-effective way to carry out many routine and repetitive tasks online. For example, an AI agent can serve as conversational customer support to potential borrowers who visit a lender’s website, guiding them through the application process with chat or voice, all without human involvement.

Lending operations

AI’s inherent strengths are well suited to supporting both brokers and lenders, and can be leveraged to revolutionize loan originations, servicing and document management. AI also can process the large volumes of data required for lending applications quickly and accurately.

“These AI-driven tools have the potential to revolutionize financial workflows, especially in the areas of data processing, underwriting and lead generation.”

It can do this work for originators and lenders over and over again without getting bored or distracted, meaning AI can achieve higher accuracy rates than humans working on the same tasks. AI also is infinitely scalable, delivering the capability to manage a virtually limitless number of processes without any perceptible impact on efficiency.

Embedding AI copilots in lending and originating workflows can streamline several steps in the process, starting with data collection. Such tools can process the documents required for loan applications, ensuring information is complete and transferring it to lending platforms. By utilizing optical character recognition (OCR) capabilities, they can gather data from diverse document sources and automate its conversion to a standardized format.

Pairing AI copilots with lending platform dashboards creates a centralized tool that shepherds users through each step of the process. They can automatically generate lists and update them dynamically as the process evolves, as well as gather and confirm digital signatures and create, send and track email correspondence that documents the process. AI agents can step in to answer questions users may have during the application process, allowing brokers and lenders to make customer support available at any time cost effectively.

AI copilots also can assist with underwriting, automatically analyzing key borrower data and determining if they are creditworthy. Copilot systems can identify and isolate factors that may represent red flags and perform scenario modeling to identify the range of options available to lenders based on their profile and the risks inherent in each option.

Revolutionizing operations

Matching borrowers with lenders is a complex component of the workflow that AI copilots can assist in streamlining. By giving copilots access to borrower data and loan product data, brokers and lenders can leverage AI to intelligently match borrowers with relevant products and available deals with suitable lenders.

Once potential matches are established, copilots can assist with setting appropriate loan terms, which involves balancing borrower affordability and lender risk tolerance by determining appropriate interest rates and repayment schedules. Copilots can also support transparency in the underwriting process by charting the steps taken and providing an explanation to borrowers.

To boost productivity and effectiveness, copilots can track performance metrics throughout the lending process. They also provide customized reports focused on key performance indicators and analyze metrics to identify actionable insights that can drive performance improvements.

AI copilots have the potential to revolutionize lead generation for lenders, originators and brokers. AI-powered systems can be created that autonomously identify potential borrowers, analyze their requirements and categorize them based on predefined criteria. In this role, AI copilots significantly streamline the process of generating qualified leads.

The technology can further the process by generating and managing email messages that connect with possible borrowers and developing targeted advertising campaigns. AI agents are able to generate leads from the internet through various mechanisms to gather intent. They also are able to take the next step, engage in the conversation and validate the quality of the lead either through email or over the phone. The output of an AI agent is a fully optimized leads list ranked by degree of urgency and quality, all before a human begins interaction.

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Bringing artificial intelligence into the lending process is a win-win, benefiting both borrowers, brokers and lenders. For brokers and their clients, AI copilots and agents facilitate greater accessibility, transparency and speed by simplifying the process while also making it easier to get personalized options. Overall, AI-driven tools dramatically decrease the timeline needed to move from application to decision.

AI copilots and agents give brokers and lenders the capability to cut costs while at the same time increasing the level of service they provide to customers to optimize efficiency, improve accuracy and enhance risk management. In the area of lead generation, this technology can boost the user’s abilities to identify eligible borrowers and target them with personalized and relevant offers.

Competition is tough in today’s lending market. To stand out, brokers and lenders must offer excellent customer service as well as a valuable product. AI gives them the capacity to provide that experience by streamlining workflows and reducing consumer friction. 


  • Aaron Rafferty

    Aaron Rafferty is the CEO of StandardDAO and a co-founder of its subsidiary, CRE Hawk. He is a tech builder and behavioral scientist who previously pioneered research that merged behavioral science with advanced technologies. His companies leverage artificial intelligence and cloud technologies to create solutions that will advance humanity. Rafferty’s background in science and research, and his passion for solving tough problems, has led him to believe that tech, science and business can unite to bring about positive societal change.

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