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Skipton plans open banking expansion in bid to ‘blaze trail’

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  • 05/03/2020
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Skipton plans open banking expansion in bid to ‘blaze trail’
Skipton Building Society has its sights set on becoming an open banking trailblazer after its pilot with credit agency Experian has proved it can speed up the homebuying process.

 

The mutual entered into a pilot with Experian in October last year to give its customers the opportunity to use open banking technology to complete their mortgage applications.

Without the use of open banking, it takes around nine to 10 days to go from application to offer with Skipton. Customers using the technology for affordability purposes, where they give the mutual access to their bank account data, have been able to complete the process one to two days quicker and the society expects to reduce this timescale further.

At the moment, Skipton is running a manual open banking pilot. This means it has not yet integrated the technology into its own system, instead it is running alongside its current software.

Only direct mortgage borrowers have been able to use open banking during the trial, and of those half of applicants who are eligible have consented to use the new process.

Alex Beavis, head of mortgage products, said: “We’re really pleased with both the response rate and the impact on our service and are exploring our next steps to expand our open banking usage to benefit a wider range of customers.”

Skipton’s full year results, announced at the end of last month showed a 13 per cent rise in gross mortgage lending to £4.9bn but a fall in the profit before tax of its mortgages and savings division by eight per cent from £113.2m to £103.9m. A major reason for the decline in profits was down to a £7.9m investment into the division.

Skipton’s objective is to invest in technology to underpin its growth and create a digitally joined up process.

“We’re asking ourselves questions like how can we use technology to get our mortgage proposition in front of as many customers as possible, and how will our service need to look in the future,” said Beavis.

“We’re focusing on how we get business in faster and process it behind the scenes more quickly. We’re looking at which areas of the back end of the journey could be made faster by digitally joining up the credit check, identification, valuation and conveyancing.”

He added: “We’re trying to blaze a trail in how to use open banking to buy a house, not just get a mortgage.”

Beavis said the society is not looking to replace its people with technology, rather it would assist its expansion plans.

One area where the society has already invested in its technology is execution only.

At the end of January, the society’ new portal went live that allows existing customers to carry out an execution-only product switch. The upgrade, said the society, gives borrowers a smoother and simpler log-in process, a clearer user interface and the ability to quickly and easily compare mortgage products.

It has no current plans for any other form of execution only lending.

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