A Mortgage Solutions poll carried out among readers online showed that just over a quarter of respondents (26.5%) had a plan in place to support consumers searching online for a mortgage deal, while 22% said they were currently working on implementing a strategy.
Earlier this year Association of Mortgage Intermediaries chief executive Robert Sinclair warned that lenders were preparing an attack on the intermediary market share through developments in technology.
Lenders have already started to establish a stronger online presence in recent weeks, with Yorkshire Building Society upgrading its online systems to allow borrowers to start mortgage applications online.
Andrew Montlake, director of Coreco, said the broker firm had a strategy of publishing as much relevant online content as possible. Montlake regularly tweets and blogs for the firm which also has a podcast series broadcast from its website every few months.
“It’s all about showing that we’re an educational authority online,” Montlake said. “A lot of what we do is simply trying to educate people and it’s not about selling at all, and the more information we can get out there, the better. Mortgage brokers generally aren’t actually that great at telling the public what they do, we need to get better as an industry, and I think online is a good way to do that.”
Montlake said that the company’s presence on social media has helped to increase relationships with introducers, leading to new mortgage cases.
“There are now two or three introducers who will refer people to us because of relationships that started on Twitter. That’s been achieved by building up that level of authority that they trust, and behaving in a way that is not just about wanting to make sales.”
Trinity Financial product and communications manager Aaron Strutt said the firm also embeds an online strategy into its business model.
“We have always thought that it is important to have an online presence and over the years we’ve implemented social media policies and developed our website content.
“More clients are going online to research financial services firms before they use them because they want to find out as much information about them as possible,” he said.
Strutt added that the bigger lenders were working to tempt more borrowers to apply online and would be ‘trying even harder’ over the next five years.
“Halifax has just launched an app for customers to secure a decision in principle online and other lenders will undoubtedly be looking to follow their lead.”