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Mortgage firm tech investment must keep up with major lenders to survive – McAleer

  • 16/06/2021
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Mortgage firm tech investment must keep up with major lenders to survive – McAleer
Mortgage firms need to invest in technology to promote their brands and compete with the lenders they intermediate with, delegates at a Mortgage Solutions masterclass event heard.


Hosted in partnership with Syndeo and discussing the benefits of artificial intelligence to brokers, Siobhan McAleer (pictured), managing director of The Mortgage Shop (NI) said technology was essential to a brand’s promotion and advertisement strategy. 

She said: “I do believe the brand under which you operate must be able to compete with the brands you intermediate with. So your brand as a broker must be as good as Lloyds Bank or Santander – no matter how crazy that may sound.   

“Investment in the virtual world is just a continuation of the promotion of that brand.” 

McAleer said her brand had grown 40 per cent over a three-year period, and attributed the growth to the company’s focus on technology.

She added: “If we want to keep our customers for the duration of the mortgage we can’t roll over and let our partners just take the business away from us.” 

McAleer also said this was also necessary to appeal to newer customers coming into the market, such as first-time buyers who were born into a “virtual world”. 

“I’m not sure anybody really has a choice about investing in technology and the virtual world if they want to stay alive,” she added. 


Merging of physical and digital 

Oliver Lennon, CEO of Syndeo, predicted that in the future there would be a merging of physical and digital business practices for a “phygital” consumer experience. 

He noted that while traditionally in-person businesses were adopting digital systems, tech firms were simultaneously stepping into the physical arena. 

Lennon said: “[Artificial intelligence] is not going to replace humans. In different industries, it’ll evolve in different ways.  

“You’ll see a move to phygital, which is the blending of digital and physical presence.” 

He added: “At Google or Amazon – we see those as purely online digital companies – but 18 months ago, Amazon launched in the west coast of the states with Amazon Go, which are their high street stores.  

“They’ve blended their technology into those stores so they’re taking the best of the technology with a physical presence. Similarly, this summer Google are launching high street stores in New York.”  

Lennon also said he expected to see more firms adopt existing smartphone technology to assist mortgage applications. 

“If I’m applying for a mortgage, I can use facial recognition with my camera to identify who I am. that’s connected to a backend and then automatically it would give me an update to where I’m at in the mortgage process.  

“It can then ping me and ask me to upload my last three pay slips, then ping the mortgage broker and tell them that I’ve completed that step,” he said. 


The 45-minute event will be available online, on demand from tomorrow.

If you are interested in watching, please email

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