在第一期白皮書裡，應科院與匯豐銀行，渣打銀行，中國銀行（香港），恒生銀行及東亞銀行， 探索將分散式帳本技術（DLT）應用於銀行業的一系列的概念驗證 [Proof-of-Concepts] 。當中的概念驗證有：抵押貸款申請，貿易融資和數字身份管理（註一）。本文只討論抵押貸款，從中了解DLT的概念。
目前的按揭貸款申請（按揭）流程耗時、費力、手工密集、以紙為基礎。 它要求多方參與，例如抵押申請人（業主），銀行（融資來源），財產估價評估的測量師（處理所有法律資料），信用局（TransUnion ）和土地註冊處（其中保留最新的財產所有權清單）。
As commissioned by the HKMA, ASTRI is working with a number of banks and related industry players in Hong Kong, including HSBC, Standard Chartered Bank, the Bank of China (Hong Kong), Hang Seng Bank, and the Bank of East Asia, to explore the feasibility of applying DLT to a few sub use cases in the banking industry. Following discussions with the participating banks, the HKMA and ASTRI decided to conduct proof-of-concept work in three areas: mortgage loan application, trade finance, and digital identity management.
For each area, an industry working group has been established to discuss the proof-of concept plan, formulate the scope and design of the proof-of-concept work, and carry out the proof-of concept work in the HKMA-ASTRI Innovation Hub. As of the end of October 2016, a DLT prototype for carrying out property valuations for use in the mortgage loan application had been built to the final stage, and testing carried out. With regard to the other two areas (trade finance and digital identity management), the proof-of-concept work is relatively more complex and requires further study to finalise the best operating models. Although the progress of each sub use case varies, we would like to take this opportunity to share their current statuses in terms of the DLT solutions proposed, the lessons learned, the experience of implementing them, along with benefits and recommendations. Since all three sub use cases require more time for the proof-of-concept work to be completed, further updates on each one will be provided in the next stage of this research project, sometime next year. In the appendix, we have also included a number of sharing contributed by addressing the application of DLT to mortgage-backed securities (MBS) and trade finance, to provide different angles on the application of DLT.
11.1 Proof-of-Concept – Mortgage Loan Application
A mortgage is an essential financing tool that provides capital resources to a mortgage applicant (mortgagor) for the purpose of purchasing a property, or obtaining financing by using the property as collateral. As mortgage loans normally involve a large loan amount and a long tenor, banks are obligated to perform sufficient due diligence when processing mortgage loan applications.
The current mortgage loan application process is time-consuming, laborious, manually-intensive and paper-based. It also requires the participation of multiple parties, such as the mortgage applicant (the property owner), banks (sources of financing), surveyors (for property valuation assessment), solicitors (to handle all legal materials), a credit bureau (i.e. TransUnion), and the Land Registry (which maintains an up-to-date list of property title ownership).
Together with five participating banks, the HKMA and ASTRI have formed a mortgage DLT working group to explore the possibility of applying DLT to the mortgage loan application process.
11.1.1 Sub use case 1: The property valuation
A property valuation report evaluates the market value of the property in question. When a property buyer obtains a mortgage loan from a bank, the bank requires a valuation report from a surveyor. This acts as a safeguard to ensure that the mortgage loan granted is an adequate percentage of the market valuation of the property, and that the bank will be able to recover the outstanding amount if the mortgage is unpaid. In the current business process, banks are obligated to obtain and properly keep the physical valuation reports for two years.
To streamline the process of obtaining a valuation report from the surveyors, ASTRI has developed a DLT prototype to digitise the manual and paper-based process involved. The DLT prototype is able to capture the key data and hash of the digitised valuation reports to the distributed ledgers and store it there, thus increasing the efficiency and security of the process
Sub use case 2: Property ownership verification
The information required for a bank to approve a mortgage loan application includes property ownership and mortgage count information. In the current process, this information is maintained in the Land Registry according to the Land Registry Ordinance, and extra procedures and processing time are needed both to obtain and to update it. According to the information provided by the banks participating in the working group, it can take up to 40 days from the date a property transaction is completed to the date when the ownership information is updated in the Land Registry.
This relatively long period of time is due to the need for manual handling of a number of processes, including document handling and delivery, and the input of information into, and updating of, the computer system. This long lead time can create opportunities for fraud.
Under the arrangement proposed by the working group, banks would be able to store mortgage deeds and title deeds data on the distributed ledger, enabling participating banks to maintain up-to-date records of property ownership and mortgage information. The more banks that join the DLT network, the better the mortgage records will be in terms of accuracy and completeness.
11.1.3 Sub use case 3: Mortgage count
As in sub use case 2, mortgage count information takes up to 3 working days to be obtained from a third party institution, one that acts as an agency requesting mortgage count information from all of the banks in Hong Kong. The Mortgage Working Group has suggested that mortgage deed information could be shared across a DLT network, thus improving the efficiency and accuracy of the business process
Enhancements in mortgage count checking
The title ownership of a property shows the rights of an individual or an organisation to manage a property, including selling it to others, collateralising it for financing (a mortgage), etc.
Nowadays, banks rely on the Land Registry’s records, in which the updating of any ownership transfer information can take up to 40 days to complete.
The adoption of DLT could help reduce the time lag associated with the title deed update by allowing banks to update the registration directly on the distributed ledgers.
The updated records could thus be made available almost in real time for verification by banks within the mortgage application process.
11.1.4 Conclusions – Benefits and challenges Benefits of DLT
A DLT platform provides an immutable, transparent and tamper-proof way for all stakeholders of instantly distributing digitised documents among all trusted parties. Adopting DLT for the mortgage loan application process could facilitate the digitising of paper documents and leave a complete audit trail for the mortgage loan application, result in a significant saving of manpower and storage space, as well as lowering the risk of manual errors. Transaction records can be placed in the DLT network within a very short period of time, thus dramatically reducing document collection and delivery times, from days to minutes. It also provides a transparent and chronological log for future investigation and auditing. In addition, digitising documents can reduce the need for manual data input and thus minimise the chance of human error. Moreover, the standardisation of the data format can help industry stakeholders enhance their record management procedures and streamline their business workflow.