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Kensington warns mortgage brokers to evolve as distribution channels change

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  • 04/10/2019
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Kensington warns mortgage brokers to evolve as distribution channels change
Kensington Mortgages is warning brokers they need to widen their role and offering as other parties and businesses start to invade their territory through new technologies.

 

The lender also revealed it had seen calls to its broker support team cut by more than 20 per cent thanks to its website chatbot, despite an increase in applications.

It highlighted that investment in robotics was freeing-up underwriting staff to do more complex and value-added work.

 

Encroaching on brokers

Speaking at the launch of Dock 9’s digital transformation playbook, Kensington Mortgages digital transformation officer Vicki Harris, suggested brokers were likely to come under pressure.

“We almost exclusively distribute our products through mortgage brokers today,” she said.

“I suspect that going forward that will change, whether we start working with IFAs, or other banks or fintechs or go direct.

“Brokers are going to be there because people need advice, but they are going to have to change their role if they are going to think about how all these other players are going to start to encroach on them.”

She added that the lender was starting to think a bit differently about new distribution channels and how it segmented its customers.

 

Chatbot cuts calls

Harris also explained how the lender had seen smaller scale introductions of new technologies make significant impacts in the organisation.

The chatbot, which went live in July, has been for the substantial fall in broker phone calls, with Kensington monitoring the volume of interactions that it conducts.

“It basically allows brokers to ask a question and hopefully answers the question which saves them from having to call our telephone team,” she said.

“We are finding the number of applications we’re getting in are going up, but the number of calls going into that team has gone down by almost 25 per cent.

“We know how many questions it answers and we get people to tell us if they found it a good experience or not – and generally it is a good experience.

“So that is making a massive difference to us – 20 per cent freed-up time for the telephone team out to the brokers because they are getting answers automatically from the chatbot.”

 

Robotics adding value

Another investment came in the form of robotics which is being used quite extensively – particularly in the underwriting process.

“We are using robotics now to do Companies House searches or some sort of the basic things we need to do, which we are taking away from our underwriting teams so they can focus on value-added services,” Harris continued.

“Some of our links into valuations systems and processes are done through robotics.

“Each month now we are launching a new robotics process and its really helping our underwriting team to do more value-added work.”

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