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Digital mortgage firm plans advice shake-up with Atom Bank hire

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  • 25/05/2017
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Digital mortgage firm plans advice shake-up with Atom Bank hire
Mortgage Gym, the latest digital firm to receive major funding, plans to shake up the intermediated advice process with the help of two financial heavyweight hires.

Grant Hendry, ex-mortgage broker and formerly regional business development manager at Atom Bank, has joined Mortgage Gym as head of business development. His role will be to convince intermediaries to sign up to the company’s directory of mortgage brokers.

Hendry has also worked at Just Mortgages as a mortgage and protection adviser and spent a year working for Guardian Wealth Management as a financial consultant.

The start-up firm, which recently completed a £2m funding round with backing from three fintech investors, wants to reorder the mortgage application process putting product choice ahead of broker involvement.

John Ingram (pictured), CEO and founder of MortgageGym, said by switching the order of product and broker he was ‘empowering the consumer’ within the mortgage distribution chain. “Brokers cannot always give customers access to the entire market,” said Ingram. “Mortgage Gym is a direct-to-consumer channel which changes the way consumers access mortgage products.”

Ingram has employed ex-Compare the Market commercial director Jeremy Moll to head up the direct-to-consumer distribution strategy as chief commercial officer. Moll is currently developing a campaign to market the proposition to the public.

How Mortgage Gym works

The customer completes an online application form, indicating whether they are remortgaging, moving home, buying for the first time, looking for a Help to Buy scheme or a buy-to-let investment.

Help to Buy and buy-to-let products will not be available for the mid-summer website launch.

After uploading their personal and property details, and their ideal loan requirements a 15-minute eligibility search begins. Through a partnership with Experian, the application is matched with participating lenders’ credit score cards. So far, it is plugged into the credit scores of 12 of the 20 largest mortgage lenders with more to follow.

Customers will then be shown a list of eligible products for them to choose from.

Who is giving the advice and when?

The eligibility search and product match is categorised as the automated or robo-advice part of the process.

Mortgage Gym has received authorisation from the Financial Conduct Authority to provide this advice, as its software is steering the customer towards a selection of products.

When the customer selects a product, they will be presented with a list of mortgage brokers who are permitted to submit an application to the lender providing that product.

The selected broker reviews the product picked by the customer. With access to their credit report and permission to re-run eligibility searches if discussions with the customer reveal new and relevant information, the broker can feedback a different recommendation to the customer if necessary.

How lenders receive the application

MortgageGym Pro, the back office system, will allow brokers to export the application to lenders’ intermediary portals but full integration is still under development.

The firm is working on APIs with lenders. API stands for Application Program Interface and refers to a set of a programming rules which allow two software programs to securely talk to each other; in this case Mortgage Gym and the mortgage lender. When that is achieved, the application completed by the consumer can be transported straight into the lender’s own underwriting system.

Freeing up time for holistic advice

Ingram said the reduction in time taken to complete Know Your Customer, anti-money laundering and document verification, which is completed during the automated phase, gives the adviser time to apply their expertise to the complex elements of the process. They can focus on mortgage advice and providing advice on other financial products which would benefit the client.

The website has scheduled its launch for the summer.

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