Mentiis the Mortgage Bot can help you get a home loan from LJ Hooker – sort of

Richard Whitten 8 May 2018 NEWS

The friendly mortgage chatbot Mentiis.

Meet Mentiis, a friendly chatbot who really wants to help you get a mortgage but just can't close the deal.

Automated chatbots are increasingly common in online commerce, but in the mortgage industry, you're almost certain to be speaking to a human sales rep even in an online chat. Bot technology is still fairly rudimentary, and there's a lot of money at stake in the mortgage game. Humans feel like the safer bet.

That's why I was quite surprised to come across an online advertisement inviting me to "Talk to the Finance Robot".

The robot in question was a cute cartoon mortgage bot named Mentiis. I pressed send message and it opened up a Facebook messenger window. After hitting "Get started", Mentiis said, "Today I'm working with LJ Hooker Home Loans so there's a number of finance related topics I can assist you with."

Chatting with the mortgage bot.

So far so good, although the word "today" made it sound like Mentiis freelances for various companies.

Mentiis gave me a few options:

  • Learn how much you can borrow
  • Learn how much deposit you need
  • Learn how much equity you have
  • Other finance related questions

Mentiis was careful to remind me that he's just a robot, and if I didn't answer his questions properly, he might stop working. A robot worried about promising more than it can deliver – why did I find that so relatable?

Answering Mentiis's questions, I was impressed by the speed and style of the bot's responses. Mentiis was friendly and crystal clear, making sure we were on the same artificial page and providing questions with obvious answers.

Mentiis asked me how much I'd saved for a deposit, how long I'd been in full-time employment and whether I had ever been declared bankrupt. He seemed very non-judgemental about the whole thing.

So did I end up getting a mortgage with Mentiis the mortgage bot? I did not. I'm not looking to buy right now, so when I said I was looking for finance "in 3 months" Mentiis promised that a mortgage expert from LJ Hooker would get in touch in 3 months.

But this didn't answer my questions at all. I'd given Mentiis all my details expecting to get a property valuation and an estimation of my borrowing power, but all I got was the promise of a phone call from an ordinary human. That's the last thing anyone wants from a bot.

A disappointing end to what had been a very smooth artificial experience. Mentiis might not be the AI solution to selling home loans just yet, but with a few tweaks and upgrades, he might one day send human mortgage brokers to the scrap heap.

Get a home loan the old-fashioned way

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Image: Mentiis Facebook page

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