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Mortgage and homebuying app could launch within year but market biggest obstacle – Capita debate

  • 29/06/2016
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Mortgage and homebuying app could launch within year but market biggest obstacle – Capita debate
An app connecting customers, brokers, valuers and conveyancers could be a reality inside 12 months, but research finds brokers may be reluctant to embrace the change.

During a debate hosted by Mortgage Solutions, sponsored by Capita, a group of leading mortgage professionals discussed the next steps in technological advancement.

Senior figures from banks, technology providers and broker firms, including Miguel Sard, MD, mortgage division, Santander for Intermediaries, Peter Brodnicki, CEO Mortgage Advice Bureau, Charles Morley, head of distribution, Metro Bank and CEO and founder of online broker met at the Dorchester in London to consider how the mortgage market could harness the opportunities offered by the latest technology.

Attendees discussed the likelihood that an app, acting as a centralised hub for all parts of the mortgage process, would be brought to market in the near future.

Maria Harris, director of retail mortgages, Atom Bank, said if an app, contacting all parties to the mortgage process, including valuers and surveyors was being built from scratch she saw no reason why this couldn’t be brought to market within six months.

Google was highlighted as the benchmark for best practice when it came to bringing together providers of services which aimed to deliver a shared customer outcome.

She said the internet giant was an expert at end-to-end services. “Google doesn’t do its own parcel tracking or its own sorting of warehouses, instead it connects all the pieces of the customer journey together and becomes a centralised hub which shares all that data with the customer,” said Harris.

“The mortgage market is horrendous at doing this, it’s so fragmented. The whole supply chain is disjointed; valuers, the conveyancer, Land Registry, sourcing, and not forgetting the broker. They don’t connect in a way which helps the consumer.

“If the mortgage market really wants to follow Google it must get better at working together.”

Atom Bank carried out some market research which revealed that while brokers were using iPads and apps like Uber and Airbnb in their personal lives they had not made the mental leap to using this type of technology at work.

“They don’t seem to be able to make the jump between personal life and work life even though it would make their lives easier.”

Harris’s timescale was challenged by several attendees who said to design a central point for all data relating to every part of a customer’s mortgage application, would take longer, and suggested 12 months was a more realistic period.

Several attendees said that an app of this kind would take some time to gather momentum as more service providers in the mortgage supply chain became more tech savvy. They said there were too many one-man-band conveyancers and brokers for the app and any kind of volumes to take off immediately.

Harris said that while Atom Bank had been able to design an app which the broker could use to attach documents and complete a fact find, it had been unable to combine the valuer and conveyancers contributions into the software.

“It was just a step too far and intermediaries aren’t ready for it,” she added.

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