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Digitalisation has not devalued the mortgage advice process – Calder

by: Craig Calder, director of mortgages at Barclays
  • 27/09/2019
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Digitalisation has not devalued the mortgage advice process – Calder
Consumers are a demanding bunch, and rightly so. They are seeing a host of firms, across all sectors, pushing the innovation and tech boundaries to change the way we shop, interact and collate information. In short, the way we live our day-to-day lives.

 

In order to better service consumer needs, any business must constantly evaluate how to engage with different customer profiles, understand the types of products they need, and which tech enhancements work for what purpose.

In a recent Ipsos Mori survey, Barclays was rated the highest of any bank for its online banking and app services, so we fully understand the role technology plays and the appeal it has for a variety of consumers.

When it comes to financial services, consumers are demanding a more digitalised process. They are looking for the best of both worlds in terms of a personalised tech journey and a breadth of customer service.

When it comes to mortgages, additional market complexity and wider economic uncertainty means that borrowers are still looking for greater levels of reassurance and impartiality.

Digitalisation has certainly not devalued the mortgage advice process, far from it, and the value attached to the intermediary market is arguably higher than ever. Although, technology can help bear some of the admin burden being heaped on adviser’s shoulders.

 

Lenders must streamline applications

From a lending perspective, the onus is on us to constantly review our systems to see where we can further streamline the applications process and better support intermediaries and their clients through to completion.

We’ve recently introduced unsecured email access to our underwriters and a full documentation review of the items required to support a mortgage application. We also introduced a new mortgage application change form (PCV) which enables intermediaries to make amendments to cases without having to go back into our application systems. And these improvements are an ongoing process.

The long-standing challenge for lenders is getting the balance right between front-end and back-end processing. They have to work hand-in-hand.

Having a slick intermediary or consumer friendly front-end is great but if the backend is slow, ponderous and archaic then service standards will inevitably suffer, and vice versa.

There is also a greater drive from consumers and intermediaries towards submitting documentation electronically and the challenge for the industry is to ensure we’re keeping this secure.

 

Support different broker types

Security is vital throughout the mortgage process. As a lender it’s imperative to have a robust fraud prevention strategy in place. Plus, a substantial and active fraud team alongside a raft of readily available resources for individuals and business borrowers.

Thankfully, cases of mortgage fraud are still extremely rare, and the vast majority of property deals do go through without a hitch. But that’s not to say we should rest on our laurels and technology remains at the heart of this battle.

It’s also important to ensure that different types of intermediary partners are serviced in the way that matches their needs.

Some firms have embraced technology and all that comes with it – so we need to ensure that we are on top of the tech game when dealing with them. However, lenders cannot afford to alienate those old school advisers who are not as reliant upon certain elements of technology.

Therefore, we need to ensure that we also provide the kind of support and solutions which work for their business. This highlights the importance of the engagement process and understanding these types of relationships – the old-fashioned practice of talking and listening forms a vital link in this support chain.

Any lender requires constant intermediary and consumer feedback to let us know how we are doing and what we could be doing better. And in order for the mortgage journey to work efficiently for everyone, technology needs to be far more than a one or even two-way street.

 

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