Mortgage Solutions polled intermediaries on how they believe digitisation of the mortgage process will affect their business.
More than half are fans, believing it will improve their business, though a quarter said they were concerned that their clients may input information incorrectly, leading to delays. A further 16% of brokers said they were worried this increased digitisation would mean they lose their clients to the lender.
The last couple of years has seen a significant growth in online brokers, where the whole selling point is the ability to get advice and arrange a mortgage from a mobile device or tablet, like Trussle and habito. Earlier this year Mortgage Solutions went behind the scenes at Trussle, to find out more about how the firm is looking to do things differently.
Ishaan Malhi, CEO of the firm, pointed to the fact that with so many property searches beginning online, it is only sensible that the mortgage process should too, and argued that technology can ensure the advice given is more “exhaustive, consistent and unbiased”.
Daniel Hegarty, founder and CEO of Habito, agreed, but was at pains to point out that technology is there to supplement the expertise of a human adviser, rather than replace them. He said: “We use machines to do the repetitive work they are good at – form filling, document collation, product research. This frees up our mortgage experts so they can add the most value, answering questions from our customers, looking at cases that aren’t straightforward and guiding people through the process.”
Hegarty noted that since Habito introduced its web chat facility and Artificially Intelligent mortgage adviser, it had cut the amount of time its brokers spend on each case in half, and pointed out that over 90% of habito’s customers prefer using live chat to speaking to someone over the phone, reflecting a shift in how people choose to engage with their finances.
He concluded: “The world is changing quickly, but there are still a lot of consumers who will absolutely want to hear a human voice before they make a transaction of this magnitude. That’s why we’ll always have internal mortgage experts available for customers to speak to. Machines are great at spotting patterns, doing arithmetic and moving data around – but human expertise will remain a key component of a market this complex for some time to come.”
Alex Smith, senior mortgage and insurance adviser at Capricorn Financial Consultancy, said that his firm emails out a link to clients so that they can complete a fact find on their own, which helps speed up the process as brokers already have the information they need before meeting them.
He continued: “If you have a robo system, then you can spend more time with the client discussing solutions. People still value the human interaction. Most people would like to be able to have a conversation with someone about their circumstances and about what they are trying to achieve. Buying a house can be a stressful process too, so people need to have someone to talk to. Without that more deals would fall through – buying a house is all about communication.”