For example, it was a particularly rough 12 months for those firms looking to introduce greater use of technology into the estate agency business.
Estate agency would seem an area that is particularly ripe for a fresh approach but these attempts have hit significant difficulties, in my view because they have tried to make changes too quickly.
The problems come from the big model changes, for the businesses that promise to do things in a completely new way there are many more low profile failures than high profile successes.
Instead it’s the small, incremental changes that stick, so long as stakeholders can see the immediate benefits. That’s an approach that we have adopted at LendInvest.
Online lender portals are a good example here.
Not that long ago they were something of a rarity, but today they have become almost standard across the industry covering both mainstream lenders and those who handle more niche and specialist areas of property finance.
Lenders are also responding to the different ways that brokers access and use those portals – optimising them for use on mobile devices, while the ability to scan and upload documents is becoming widespread.
These portals aren’t about revolutionising the way brokers and lenders communicate, but rather identifying a way we can incorporate technology to speed up that communication and provide intermediaries with the tools and information they need in a format that suits them.
Digital mortgage deeds
Another small but important innovation to the home loan process is the Land Registry’s digital mortgage deed service.
It allows borrowers to sign their deed online, proving their identity with the use of the Gov.uk Verify system.
No longer will borrowers have to find witnesses when they sign a physical deed, and then rely on the postal service to get those forms delivered.
Now it can all be done online, a simple technological innovation that speeds up an existing service and delivers an experience that many will prefer.
There’s still plenty of room for improvement of course.
Lenders have much work to do on their portals, as advisers want lender portals to be more intuitive, easier to use, and be more frequently updated, such as the inclusion of real-time tracking and milestone updates.
Brokers have evidently seen not only how portals in their current form can help, but also flagged up where the future innovation needs to come in order to deliver what they really need.
Slow to embrace technology
It’s those small, incremental developments that are the key.
Small technological changes can make a material difference to the workloads of the brokers they rely on.
The mortgage market has unquestionably been slower than other segments of financial services when it comes to embracing technology.
There are reasons for that and this market will evolve on a gradual basis with the best technology businesses eventually coming out on top.
Those who try to introduce wholesale changes risk moving too quickly for the market.
Nonetheless, we can’t afford to standstill. Innovation will come, it just won’t be overnight.