They have sped up previously laborious or onerous procedures (such as affordability checks and borrower applications) and helped to temper both administrative and compliance work.
With a further wave of tech-based innovations (such as digital verification technologies and Blockware systems encompassing transactional documentation) already in development or awaiting further investment, brokers also have to come to terms with the attendant advantages and paradoxical dangers of technology.
Almost 40% of brokers, according to research conducted by the Legal and General Mortgage Club in 2017, identified the advent of automated-advice as the single greatest threat to their businesses and livelihoods.
But, are they right to be concerned?
Well, yes and no.
A greater reliance upon technology may arguably initiate a shift away from irksome administrative work, but we shouldn’t lose sight of the fact that face-to-face advice continues to represent an absolutely unique and essential role within the mortgage process – one that simply cannot be replaced.
For example, the sheer volume and complexity of products within the market precludes an exclusively digital ‘onus’, especially as the demand for ‘niche’ or specialist borrowing continues to grow.
Some elements within the industry seem to believe that the borrowing needs of so-called conventional clients could be accommodated entirely through tech-channels.
But surely only a fool would willingly by-pass the depth of knowledge that experienced brokers can offer with regards to markets, lenders, policies and underwriting practices.
One size doesn’t fit all
Regardless of what digital fetishists may think, there is no-one-size-fits-all strategy when it comes to sourcing mortgage products.
Every individual circumstance requires a different approach, and this is where battle-hardened brokers come to the fore.
Whether it’s to explain weighty concepts or obscure policy terms to bewildered clients, painstakingly examine the pros and cons of each product to facilitate unconventional needs or uncover the right lender, face-to-face advice is as relevant now as it has always been.
It’s the antidote to generic.