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Future home buyers will demand more from brokers and lenders – Maria Harris

  • 15/10/2018
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Future home buyers will demand more from brokers and lenders – Maria Harris
Atom Bank's director of retail mortgages Maria Harris has warned brokers they must have a digital strategy to work with customers of the future – adding that disruption was already hitting the market.


Harris noted that customer relationship, brand and trust will define what the next generation of financial services looks like.

Speaking at the Connect for Intermediaries annual conference, Harris explained that home buyers of the future will expect a much more digital-friendly journey.

“The next generation of home owners, my kids included, have grown up digitally native, so they’ve got very different expectations about what they will be willing to do online,” she said.

“Our first-time buyers five years from now are far more likely to keep their financial ecosystem and to start their home ownership journey in a completely different way to the way we did.”

She warned that brokers needed to know how they were going to be part of that space, part of that experience and how they will engage with those customers.

“That next generation of home owners is a much bigger threat to brokers and lenders than our currently existing remortgage customers who have already got a relationship with us and are coming to the end of their term or need equity to give something to the children,” she continued.

“As with every change there is a threat but there’ are also opportunities.

“If you believe as I do that digital is a threat to your business then you absolutely need to nail your customer relation strategy.

“That means know where your customers can find you, work out how customers want to see you in that journey, where do you fit in their financial ecosystem and where do you add trust and value to that relationship?” she added.


Disruption is already happening

Harris also said she was regularly asked two simple questions – will the mortgage market be disrupted and will simple things like remortgages be taken over by technology?

“The customer will always make that choice,” she said.

“Some customers will want face-to-face, some customers will want digital, some customers will want both when it suits them, some will want hybrid – technologies will give customers options they’ve never had before.

“But if anyone thinks a disruptor can’t come into our space, it is already happening, it is here today.”

Harris noted that in India, Google Pay has launched a personal loan service where customers are notified they have already been pre-approved for a loan if they want it.

All the underwriting and full application is completed in the Google Pay app and the funds are transferred to that account.

Four banks are part of the scheme but have no contact with the customer.

“You no longer have to be a bank to provide financial services,” Harris added.


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