With all the main lenders and many smaller ones now having online capability, completing paper-based mortgage applications is rare for intermediaries.
However, as a Mortgage Solutions’ adviser survey revealed, the quality is not always universal and it can lead to significantly different experiences.
“The quality does vary. You get some very good, but then you get some poor versions,” said Perception Finance managing director David Sheppard (pictured).
Like the survey respondents, he ranks Halifax as one of his favourite sites to use, and suggests Barclays is one of the more trying, “but I know they are working on a new one,” he adds.
The biggest problem with many lender sites is the raft of unnecessary questions often asked.
“The pinnacle is only asking questions relevant to making a final decision,” Sheppard continued.
“There are key things they will need to know but there are some things that they don’t need – particularly asking for unnecessary addresses. There’s no justification for that. Where does the address of the present lender have any relevance to the decision?
“Lenders need to go through how many of these questions help to make a decision or not and if the answer is that the question doesn’t lead them to making a decision, then get rid of it,” he added.
These points are echoed by Highclere Financial Services principal Alan Lakey, who suggested the NatWest site is particularly broker friendly.
“Some lenders can’t upload pay slips, some can – it varies a great deal in terms of functionality and common tasks,” he said.
“NatWest is the one that seems to have got it right for advisers. They don’t ask stupid questions – those are the things that make me despair.”
Lakey’s final view on application websites is equally to the point: “As with all these things it’ll come down to whether it’s of use. I use those where I know it’s going to help with my business.”
This sentiment is supported by Sheppard, who warned lenders that fail to put the intermediary at the forefront of the design process produce a frustrating experience.
“It’s infuriating and does mean the whole process is so much more difficult. Brokers want to be spending as little time as possible inputting information,” he concluded.