First fully automated matter heralds new approach to remortgage work

Chadbourne: Huge leap forward

The first ever automated remortgage has been completed by a new system that also picks out those remortgage matters that require legal advice.

Leading conveyancing panel manager LMS has launched DART – standing for decisioning and automated remortgage technology – with remortgage services provider Integrar and conveyancing law firm O’Neill Patient.

Two other lenders are also using it but cannot be named at this stage, ahead of it being rolled out to additional law firms and lenders.

It followed beta testing that saw the completion of the first ever automated remortgage. LMS described it as a “milestone moment” with the “power to transform the remortgaging journey”.

The software enables the end-to-end automation of simple fees-assisted cases from the point of information being received to post-completion workflows, minimising the need for manual intervention.

According to LMS, DART assesses each case for complexity “within seconds” of the borrower information being submitted. If it cannot be automated, the process is still quicker because it highlights any additional legal work, fees and documents that may be required. This allows the law firm to set realistic completion dates.

Testing indicated that at least one in eight remortgages could be completely automated, with the aim of doubling that number as the product develops.

LMS chief executive Nick Chadbourne said: “The level of remortgage activity expected in the next six months will push law firms and lenders to the limits of their capacity through no fault of their own.

“Activity will increase as we approach the next mortgage product maturity peak and the news of rising rates will only exacerbate this. We wanted to take action to protect all parties – consumer, law firm and lender alike – and completing the first ever automated remortgage is a huge leap forward.”

He said law firms would gain “huge efficiencies” through the upfront detection of additional legal work and more complex cases.

“This allows firms to assign appropriately skilled conveyancers to each case and ensures that all data is as accurate as possible from the start, reducing the need for unnecessary manual interactions between stakeholders.

“The scale of automation also means that all stakeholders have one single view of the case, providing complete transparency.”

Acknowledging that law firms would be on the hook in the event the system failed to detect matters that needed legal advice, Mr Chadbourne stressed that it had gone through “very robust testing”.

It was about “getting the right data in at the front end”, he told Legal Futures, adding that DART was “very much a joint initiative” between LMS and its stakeholders.

“We’ve been working with these law firms for 20 years. They are very long relationships. It’s not a case of [building DART] and throwing it over the fence… We’re not going to shy away and say that, if anything goes wrong, it’s up to you.”

Mr Chadbourne said the focus at the moment was on transparency and certainty but agreed that, in time, DART could lead to differentiation in the fees lenders paid conveyancers depending on how much manual legal work went into a particular matter.

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