An IFA Magazine Q&A with Legal & General Technology’s Jodie White 

by | Jun 11, 2024

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In this exclusive Q&A, IFA Magazine’s Brandon Russell chatted with Legal & General’s Jodie White. Jodie is Head of Mortgage Products & Transformation at Legal & General Technology, and offers some in-depth insight into the impact that technology has and is expected to have, within the mortgage industry. Jodie discusses the current emerging technology trends, along with the implications of AI for brokers’ businesses, to how L&G is advancing its own technology in order to meet the ever-changing and advancing demands within the market. 

IFA Magazine: Could you tell us a bit about yourself and a bit about your role at Legal & General?

JW: “As Head of Mortgage Products and Transformation, I work within Legal & General Mortgage Services, which is a newly-formed business. Technology is very prevalent in what we’re trying to achieve within the mortgage market. I am currently responsible for and develop Ignite, our online research and sourcing platform. We’ve had a very steep couple of years in the tech transformation area, and we have been speaking to lenders and brokers and trying to think about what technology needs to look like moving forward. It’s been a really fun journey over the last five years or so.”


IFA Magazine: What are some of the emerging tech demands that you are seeing at the moment within the mortgage market?

JW: “Our end customer is the person that is looking for the home of their dreams, however big or small that dream may be, and we are all trying to make that dream a reality. I think that, from a customer perspective, they want to be able to know whether they can get the mortgage that they ultimately want. They want the process to be as simple as possible to achieve that, and they’ll want to be able to get it as quickly as possible so that they are able to move into the property of their dreams. On the flip side of this, we also have brokers, lenders, and technology providers also trying to make this attainable for the customer too. 

“The element that has become much more noticeable over the last couple of years is that everyone needs to work together. No one person or one solution will overcome the current obstacles. This is why it is so important for everyone to work together and contribute to the same direction to make that dream possible for the customer. Banks are also currently doing brilliant things. They’re looking at AI, and how it could detect fraud, how it could speed up underwriting, and how it could service a customer and a broker’s need for information. The brokers are more focused on nurturing the customer’s journey throughout this process. For example, they will look at how much information they can provide to the customer, such as eligibility and affordability, ensuring that the customer reaches a more informed place when they do come to make a decision on applying for a mortgage. 


“I also think that the AI trend is huge. We’re right in the middle of the hype curve currently, and we have only hit the surface of what AI can do. I do not think that we are too far down the line in terms of the potential that AI has. At the moment we are more focused on the predictive aspects of AI, and it is clear that there is still plenty of work to do within that industry.” 

IFA Magazine: What would you say are some of L&G’s aims over the next 12 months to help meet the ever changing tech demands that you’ve just mentioned?

Jodie White: “From our perspective, the main focus that we have is how we can progress what we are already doing. As an industry, we very often tolerate what we’ve got even though sometimes it simply may not be good enough to reach our full potential. Mortgages can be seen as a far cry away in terms of technology in comparison to other financial services sectors, such as credit cards. The current technology that credit cards utilise is much further developed. For example, you can view on your credit score that you are 99% eligible for a credit card, and this is the place and level of technological development that we need to reach with mortgages. It would give us the opportunity to tell whether or not certain properties are acceptable or that you are acceptable as a person to a lender, streamlining the overall process.


“Right now, we are looking at all of the standard aspects of technological advancements so far, such as using AI in chatbots, and how it handles complaints and customer feedback. We’re also looking at the framework and the governance surrounding these technological advancements, along with the risks that may come with it. We have to go into AI and new tech informed, but also know the risks, so determining how we can utilise advanced technology has been a big focus for us as it is for many big firms.”

IFA Magazine: Which one of those trends do you think could be the most exciting going forward?

Jodie White: “I think the level of technological advancement becomes exciting when you can get to a place where a customer knows right away that they can press a button, complete an application and an offer will follow. That is the kind of technology level I believe that we need to get to within the mortgage industry, and I do believe that we are making the right steps toward this goal. In regard to The Open Property Data Framework, the Government is looking at how we can generate more data in a standardised format so that these transactions can be more upfront about a property and about a person with a much higher level of clarity.


“There are hundreds of industries with lots of data and if this can be standardised and made accessible, the possibilities that could be unlocked are very exciting. We already have local authorities researching and developing a thousand different systems, so if all of these aspects could be streamlined, we could see planning permission for every property in the UK, and we could see council tax bands for every property in the UK. I think that continuous research and development will help enable a lot of the tech that’s coming in the very near future, I am certainly hearing a lot about these future possibilities so this could be incredibly exciting for the industry.”

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