We pulled together to help customers achieve their goals, even in the face of record levels of demand.
Technology has, of course, been at the centre of our response.
For advisers, increased use of technology has helped to make it altogether more efficient to complete everyday tasks like sourcing.
Technology also helped advisers to remain connected to customers, with our research showing 75 per cent of brokers saw an uplift in customers engaging with digital resources, including video conferencing and digital document signing.
Farewell to re-keying
The challenges of the pandemic brought a change in mentality towards technology which has been exciting to see.
Our industry has embraced innovation wherever possible over the last 18 months to persevere through the difficult times.
Before the crisis hit, technology was often snubbed by those letting perfect stand in the way of good.
But views have changed, and we are now actively looking at ways to achieve the seamless, customer-led journey that we need.
Of course, there’s still work to do and more integration will be needed to iron out remaining sticking points in the mortgage process.
It’s clear to me from talking to advisers that re-keying is still a massive problem and that brokers are having to repeat simple tasks two, three or even four times.
Vision of the future
We can stop this, free up time for advisers and make the journey more seamless for customers, with a fully integrated end-to-end approach.
There may be a time where advisers don’t have to enter customer information even once. Instead, all the required data is made directly available by the customer.
While mention of a seamless journey would be scoffed at before the crisis, now it’s no longer a distant vision. Through data sharing and technology like open banking we are making strides.
Stuart Cheetham, co-founder and chief executive at MQube, told me of his team’s vision to make the mortgage application journey immediate and real-time, when we spoke at the Legal & General Mortgage Club Summer Conference earlier this month.
By replacing application forms and decisions in principle (DIPs) with data exchanges we can provide the same level of advice – that puts customers’ needs at the heart of what we do – but in a fraction of the time.
Customers at front-of-mind
Of course, this must all reflect the needs of our customers. The absolute centre of the job for most advisers is to find a well-priced mortgage that meets their client’s needs, and sets up that client for future success.
However, at present, inefficiencies and outdated processes are slowing advisers down.
That cannot last, because customers have increasingly high expectations, and the crisis has turbocharged that.
With convenience now at the fore, it is time for the mortgage market to embrace digital innovation and open the door to a better approach.