The Rise of the Chief Innovation Officer

The Rise of the Chief Innovation Officer

It used to be widely held that any advancement seen in any industry other than financial services would appear in our business in about a decade. It was a bit of a joke that banks and mortgage lenders could be counted on to “discover” something 8 to 10 years after everyone else started using it.

Chief Innovation Officer

Those days may be ending.

I say that based on what we learned at this year’s Digital Mortgage Conference in Las Vegas last month. We were on hand to demonstrate our new AI-powered tools and show how they are saving some mortgage lenders hundreds of thousands of dollars…monthly!

But we were also there to learn and one of the things we picked up was that the role of Chief Innovation Officer (CIO) was becoming a thing in the mortgage business. This is not to be confused with the Chief Information Officer many other industries have in their C-Suites. In mortgage we tend to count more on the Chief Technology Officer to fulfill that role.

From a lagging industry to a fast follower

While our team was at the show, we came across multiple executives who had been newly promoted to the role of chief innovation executive. This was interesting to us because we knew that the role has been gaining steam in other industries since at least May of this year.

That means leaders in our industry had picked upon this trend and were moving forward with it within just six months of leaders in other industries noticing it was a thing.

This is one more example of how financial services, thanks to new smarter technologies, is keeping pace with other industries. We see this daily, of course, because working in AI means we interface with technologists serving a range of other industries.

It may have taken the mortgage industry a couple of decades to fully embrace modern online technologies, largely because of the many compliance questions that these new tools required the industry to answer, but it’s not taking that long to embrace today’s newest tools.

In fact, evolution of early digital lending to today’s AI-driven processes didn’t take that long at all. It’s an area that may see financial services moving ahead of many other industries for the first time.

Becoming an industry of technology leaders

The CIOs we met at Digital Mortgage, and really all of the lending executives we spoke to, were very interested in learning about the current application of AI technologies to the mortgage process. Naturally, having developed and launched a number of solutions here, we thoroughly enjoyed those conversations.

We noticed that the executives we met all asked some very good questions and it made us think about how new AI technologies could actually get adopted more quickly here than in many other industries.

Much of the promise of AI is that it can take some of the cognitive load off of human staff and drive workflows automatically. Unlike older workflow engines, AI is smart enough to see the difference in similar situations and make better decisions about next steps.

But to accomplish that, you need a lot of data to train your models. No industry has as much data as we do in the financial services business. Lenders, more than most, have access to tons of information that can be used to fine tune our AI models.

That tells us that the days of financial services being a tech nerd joke for being the laggard are ending and leaders in our industry are about to emerge as technology leaders. We like that idea and so did the CIOs we met with at the recent show.

To find out more about how’s powerful tools can help you lead a more efficient lending enterprise, reach out to us today.

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