This week Mortgage Solutions asked our experts how could lenders most improve their broker systems and technology?
Debbie Bell, financial services director of Kings Group, argues that paper document and basic software programmes should be a thing of the past.
Greg Sturrock, independent mortgage adviser at Thomas Heald, finds that repeatedly entering the same information can unnecessarily labour the application process and deter recommendations.
John Phillips, group operations director at Just Mortgages and Spicerhaart, notes that while lenders are making improvements it is a long a winding road.
All lenders should be at a stage where you can scan and attach documents to a mortgage application or send it through to them on an email. Unfortunately, some still need information in the form of post or fax or even worse have mailbox limits of 1mb.
Another issue is the application process, some have improved their systems but others still have an application where you can’t switch between screens. This can be an issue and very time consuming when the lender asks for information that you wouldn’t collect from the client.
You end up making five phone calls to your client asking questions when you could make one if you were able to switch between pages on the application process.
Unfortunately, these are problems that should’ve been resolved years ago as we should be able to use programs that allow us to take pictures and scan documents automatically from our phones but if lenders aren’t up to date with the basics then we are a long way from this.
Overall there has been massive improvement in the application process which helps when trying to grow your business but there are still lenders out there that operate with paper based applications. There is still a lot of improvement to be made before we can produce more business in a safe, compliant way without spending hours on one application at a time.
The last thing I look for when sat with clients advising on a product is the procuration fee, but one of the first things that stand out on my research list is which lenders make my life easy with their online submission process.
There are certain lenders who have fantastic rates but I know I will be sat there for an eternity slowing wading through their awful software. I’m sure I’m not alone in seeing two identical rates with similar fees but know that out of the two lenders one will take me 45 minutes to complete from key facts illustration (KFI) to decision in principle (DIP) to submission, the other lender twice as long.
Nothing infuriates me more than having to repeat information, why do I have to input an address more than once? Why do I have to input figures more than once?
If I have completed a KFI I want all the figures that I have input to be pulled through to the DIP and then the application.
Once the application has been submitted I want to clearly see what the supporting documentation requirements are and I want an upload button waiting for me to submit the paperwork immediately.
I don’t want to have to print out a requirements sheet and then fill the thing in by hand and upload it to the lender, they are your requirements, and you should know what documents you need without creating more work for me.
Many lenders are continuing to invest in improving broker portals, and it is clear that some improvements have been made in a number of areas.
However, despite lenders increasing their tech spend, brokers want and need more, including easier, clearer and faster online application processes, particularly when time is of the essence. It is positive that lenders are striving to help make brokers lives easier but there are still many aspects of the process that need improving such as verifying proof of income and valuation.
It would of course be easier if more of the process was automated as this would hopefully put an end to valuation delays that we have recently seen.
However, desktop valuations are not universally accepted by lenders, as they may not be sufficient for more unique properties.
Unless major changes are introduced in terms of automation, I can’t see how lenders are going to improve their broker systems.