Virgin Money launches faster API-driven mortgage applications with MAB and Connells
The partnership will streamline the search and application process for intermediaries by removing the need to re-key data in multiple places.
Users can apply for a Decision in Principle from Virgin via this integration and submit a full mortgage application and payments without needing to visit the Virgin Money portal.
Available across residential and buy to let, for both purchase and remortgage customers, the technology will be rolled out to the wider market in early 2021.
Simon Wallace, head of mortgage integration and transformation at Virgin Money said: “At Virgin Money we have made no secret of our ambition to drive change and innovation in the mortgage market. This exciting partnership with Twenty7tec will play a key part in achieving that goal.
“The Apply platform will make it even easier for intermediaries to submit cases to us, saving them precious time, which could be better spent on helping their next client.”
James Tucker, CEO of Twenty7Tec, said: “Virgin Money has a great track record for innovating in the mortgage market and playing a huge role in delivering better customer service, so we’re over the moon to help them with this integration. As a result of this deal, Virgin Money Customers will experience a seamless experience from beginning to end – something which the Virgin brand is so closely allied with. We’re proud to be their partner in making the mortgage experience a little better for everyone involved.”
Ben Thompson, deputy CEO of MAB added: “This is a really progressive step, that we thoroughly welcome. Simplification of the mortgage process is very much needed, even more so in the current environment.”
Adrian Scott, group mortgage services director of Connells said it’s great to see another lender go live with the Apply system. “This will make writing business with Virgin Money far more efficient, which is always an attractive proposition for any broker, but particularly at this time when the market is so busy,” he added.
Foreign buyers and equity release downsizers top October L&G mortgage adviser searches
Figures from the SmartrCriteria tool, showed that mortgages for applicants with visas was one of the highest search terms among advisers with requests for ‘expats not in UK’ also on the list of top 10 adviser looked for terms.
The data also showed that ‘maximum age’ was the second most searched term suggesting that older borrowers, including those looking to downsize, were also looking to benefit from the Stamp Duty holiday.
The most popular search within ‘maximum age’ was the 71 to 75-year-old range, which increased by 14 per cent. However, the largest percentage increase was for those aged 85 and over, which saw an increase of 38 per cent in searches during October.
Kevin Roberts, director, Legal & General Mortgage Club, said: “Demand from consumers to buy property in the UK shows no signs of slowing and it’s clear that the Stamp Duty holiday continues to drive activity.
“Lending criteria is changing every day and borrowers face a longer mortgage journey as the market continues to adapt to unprecedented demand. Advisers will be key in helping these borrowers and others to cut through the noise and find the best product for their particular circumstances.”
Data from Twenty7Tec suggested the lockdown saw accelerated mortgage searches across residential and buy-to-let markets but James Tucker, CEO of Twenty7Tec, said this actually reflects a drop off ahead of the lockdown as people concentrate on other practicalities.
“Immediately as the lockdown starts, mortgage search volumes begin to rise again. We’ve seen it again and again this year on a UK-wide, home nation and regional level before and just after we enter lockdown. Any drop is then is consistently mirrored by a spike of mortgage search volumes within a day or two of the lockdown beginning.
He said that buy-to-let searches constituted just over 19 per cent of all searches, adding: “Buy to let search volumes have been relatively steady all year and those are converted into ESIS documents more often than residential searches.”
Brokers still sourcing deals at midnight as working day gets longer
According to the firm’s September report, 11am was the peak time for broker searches which reached around 152,000.
Although searches begin to ease off between five and six o’clock in the evening, dropping from around 105,000 to 51,000, thousands of searches were still be carried out until midnight.
September contained the second, third and fifth busiest days of the year for the production of all ESIS documents and the busiest day of the year for buy-to-let ESIS documents.
On a rolling 7-day average, every day in July, August and September ranked above any day in February and early March for ESIS documents prepared.
James Tucker (pictured), chief executive of Twenty7Tec, said: “As we crunched the figures this month, some interesting data jumped out at us in regard to the new working week for brokers.
“As more people work from home, it seems the property market will need to adapt to keep up with demand, justifying our new support hours launched last month.”
The proportion of searches for remortgaging is up 9.2 per cent while the volumes of searches for mortgages are up across all bands except the 90 per cent plus band.
Twenty7Tec extends deals with Primis and TMA
Through the agreement, all appointed representative firms of Primis will have access to the Source and Apply functions of the CloudTwenty7 platform, which will be integrated into the network’s existing Toolbox system.
Twenty7Tec has also extended the agreement it entered with TMA Mortgage Club in 2017 to continue providing both Source and Apply to TMA members at preferential rates.
Source is Twenty7Tec’s mortgage sourcing system, while Apply enables mortgage applications to be submitted to multiple lenders from one platform.
Advisers can submit documents, case notes and receive status updates all the way through to completion of the case.
James Tucker, CEO of Twenty7Tec, said: “These agreements extend the long-standing relationship that we have held with both Primis and TMA.
“In both Primis and TMA we have found partners who share our vision that advances in technology should be made with advice at the very forefront”.
Toni Smith (pictured), chief operating officer at Primis, added: “We are delighted to further formalise our relationship with Twenty7Tec.
“We share an aligned aspiration to continue to support our growing population of intermediaries by providing them with the latest technology solutions that enable their customers to engage more readily through their medium of choice.
“Operating in this ever-changing financial services environment and with advancements in technology, the next five years will allow us both to shape the future of mortgage advice.”
Twenty7Tec develops criteria search as SmartSearch adds facial recognition
Twenty7Tec has developed an in-house criteria search to sit alongside its sourcing system on CloudTwenty7 platform.
The functionality is currently being trialled with a select number of broker firms ahead of a wider rollout in June.
The additional feature is to be free of charge until the end of 2021.
James Tucker (pictured), chief executive of Twenty7Tec, said: “Bringing both product and criteria searching onto one single platform, and enabling advisers to use one single set of client data for both, has been a long held ambition of ours and I am delighted that we have begun now to roll this out to our users”.
“With the addition of this new criteria search functionality to SOURCE, alongside our integration with Mortgage Broker Tools for affordability calculations, we continue to deliver on our primary goal as a business – to develop technology that makes the process of searching, applying for, and obtaining a mortgage simpler, faster and more efficient”.
SmartSearch facial recognition
Digital anti-money laundering platform SmartSearch has added facial recognition to verify borrowers’ identity.
The feature allows Know Your Customer checks, and screens against global sanctions and politically exposed persons.
Electronic checks using credit reporting data will bring to light any discrepancies in a client’s personal history and clearly flag up where further action is required.
John Dobson, chief executive of SmartSearch, said: “We are here to make our clients’ lives easier, and give them peace of mind not only that they are meeting their due diligence responsibilities, but also guarding against unscrupulous criminals.
“The risk of a firm being targeted by money-launderers varies but the impact if it fails to detect and report any wrongdoing can be devastating.
“With many elements of social distancing likely to remain in place for some time to come, doing this in person, face to face, is no longer possible. Our facial recognition feature means our clients can do everything remotely – protecting their businesses from fraudsters and their staff from exposure to Covid-19.”
Product numbers and search volumes fall as pandemic hits mortgage market
The number of mortgage products on the market dropped to 10,097 in the week ending 3 April, a 31 per cent drop compared to pre-pandemic levels as lenders reduce, amend or remove products.
Mortgage Brain used the nine weeks to 16 March to represent its pre-pandemic environment and during this period there were 14,674 mortgage products across the whole market.
Furthermore, the week to 3 April recorded 214 product changes, a 31 per cent increase from the week before. Compared to the three weeks to 20 March before lockdown and social distancing measures had been enforced, this was a 76 per cent increase in the number of product changes.
Also, there was a 15 per cent week-on-week reduction in the number of ESIS produced from the firm’s mortgage sourcing systems for the seven days to 3 April. When compared to the pre-pandemic nine-week average, the number of ESIS produced was down by 36 per cent.
Mortgage Brain’s data covers all products available through intermediaries, including specialist and buy to let mortgages.
Mark Lofthouse, CEO at Mortgage Brain, said: “The level of changes we’re seeing in the market due to the impact of Covid–19 is unparalleled. The increase in product changes and reduction in ESIS continues and has now been accompanied by a huge reduction in the products available from mainstream lenders.
“The rate of change is reducing and over the next few weeks I expect it to settle down. As the impact of Covid-19 lessens I believe that the market will then slowly move to its new, post-pandemic, normal but this could take some considerable time.”
Mortgage search volumes drop – Twenty7Tec
The volume of mortgage product searches dropped 21 per cent in the week ending 4 April, data from Twenty7Tec showed.
This was down 40 per cent compared to the number of searches two weeks ago, and 44 per cent on the number of searches a month ago.
The platform also produced fewer ESIS documents in the same week, down 26 per cent from the week before.
Over the same period, the total value of loans required through the platform dropped by 27 per cent during the week.
Compared with two weeks ago, this represented a 39 per cent decline and compared with a month ago, this was a 43 per cent drop.
According to Twenty7Tec, for the week to 4 April purchase mortgages represented 32 per cent of searches down from the usual 55-60 per cent of they make up. Remortgages accounted for 68 per cent of searches.
Over a four-week period, searches for purchase mortgages are down 72 per cent, whereas remortgages are down 15 per cent.
Compared to the previous month, buy-to-let mortgage searches rose to 21 per cent, up from the 20 per cent average.
Challenges of the market
James Tucker, CEO of Twenty7Tec, said: “The figures overall are clearly reflective of the challenges faced by the mortgage and property markets at this time.
“There are glimmers of good news however. Buy to let is holding up and represents a higher percentage of the market than the long-term average. Landlords may well have been buoyed by the government’s decision not to grant rent holidays.”
“The government has rightly got its focus on whether or not social distancing is working and if we can pass through the peak of incidents over coming days. Our sense is that we are unlikely to see too many new policy announcements for our industry for at least another two weeks,” he added.
“In the meantime, I think that each of us needs to do what we do best: speak to our clients about their needs and help them as best we can,” Tucker said.
Nationwide integrates DIPs with Twenty7Tec’s Apply platform
It is expected that users can receive an instant DIP on remortgage cases from Nationwide, without needing to re-key data into the lender’s portal.
A spokesperson for Nationwide said brokers will not need to re-key the DIP onto the society’s portal, but client information will need to be re-entered for the full mortgage application.
However it is looking at resolving this in the future.
Nationwide conducted tests and found the DIP results always matched the results returned from the society’s portal as Apply runs the decision against its credit scoring system, the spokesperson added.
Initially, the service will be made available to Connells Group brokers using Apply, before being rolled out to Mortgage Advice Bureau, and then the wider market.
The integration is the first service that has gone fully live to brokers after Nationwide announced in November 2019 that it was launching a ‘sandbox’ pilot to enable third party systems to connect with its credit risk and back office systems.
The society said it would continue to work with a range of third parties to develop and support further technological innovations in the broker market.
Ian Andrew (pictured), director of intermediary relationships at Nationwide Building Society, said: “This is a big moment for Nationwide and we’re delighted that the outcome of recent tests in our API sandbox with Twenty7Tec have been so positive and that we’re now in a position to put our DIP API for remortgages live.
“We expect to expand the API with other third-parties in the near future and we continue to look at other ways we can use technology to improve the service we offer brokers both now and in the future.”
James Tucker, CEO at Twenty7Tec, added: “We’re very proud to be the first broker platform to have been chosen to work with Nationwide on this project, and we look forward to seeing the results that it produces.”
Maria Harris joins Twenty7Tec as consultant
Harris joins the company following her departure from challenger bank Atom Bank in July, where she held the role of director of intermediary mortgages, having spent five years at the lender.
In her new consultancy role, Harris will focus on encouraging the roll out of both MortgageApply and SourceInsight across the market, as well as helping coordinate the roadmap of new deliverables for both of those solutions.
Further, she will work at McKinsey consultation company to help identify opportunities for the company to develop new solutions that can support lenders and intermediaries.
James Tucker, CEO of Twenty7Tec, said: “Maria’s reputation for her knowledge of both lending and technology is second to none, and I am delighted that she has agreed to come and support our desire to remain at the cutting edge of technological change in the mortgage market.”
Harris (pictured) added: “After the most amazing five years designing and launching mortgage technology to disrupt the market this is a great time to work with Twenty7Tec and start taking the industry to the next level.
“There’s so much happening in the tech space right now, so I’m delighted to be working with the Twenty7Tec team who have the vision and drive to transform the mortgage market.”
Tech providers agree ‘further sourcing system entrants more likely than consolidation’ – Accord Growth Series
Lofthouse and Tucker both said that the best customer outcomes always come with advice, discussing the impact of sourcing systems on financial advisers as part of the Accord Growth Series, hosted by the lender’s director of intermediaries Jeremy Duncombe (pictured).
The pair also noted that the sourcing system was unlikely to ever become a monopoly.
More products, more complexity
Mark Lofthouse said that given the number of mortgage products has increased from 4,000 to over 13,000 in the last five years, it was exceptionally difficult for brokers to be able to know every proposition that might be suitable for their client.
Sourcing systems enable suitable products to be easily identified, allowing the broker to spend more time understanding their client’s needs.
However, Lofthouse said that when advisers are looking at the technology to support their business, they need to take into account the whole process from the start to the end, as it is not about the product but the whole proposition.
He added: “An individual having a financial passport, which means that an adviser can get the information from the right sources and cracking that, is the biggest thing that is going to improve the quality of advice and customer outcomes.”
However, both agreed that there will not be a massive consolidation of sourcing systems in the near future, but it is more likely to see new entrants coming into the industry, particularly around niche areas.
Google for mortgages
They also discussed the role of application programming interfaces (APIs) and how they influence the client’s journey from enquiry to product purchase.
Moving on to criteria search systems, Lofthouse emphasised that lenders will not lose out when utilising these systems, calling them “Google for mortgages.”
The pair pointed out how these systems can really benefit advisers when it comes to compliance investigations, as many systems can roll back their data to the very day that a specific case occurred.
And both agreed that a compliance officer can see all of the offers available to the broker on the day that the advice was given, helping to add more transparency to the industry.
Lenders publish time to Mortgage Apply go-live; Connells confirms shareholding in Twenty7Tec
At the event at the Gherkin yesterday, introduced by Stephen Smith, Twenty7Tec CEO James Tucker told the audience it had either signed contracts or confirmed its intent to sign a contract for Mortgage Apply at varying levels of integration with 15 of the top 30 UK lenders.
HSBC and Nationwide are the two top six lenders not listed at this stage. (see below)
The event was simultaneously a ‘call to arms’ for the mortgage industry to collaborate and innovate now before out-of-sector technology providers or aggregators move in, said participants.
Connells will roll out Mortgage Source and application programming interface (API) enabled software Mortgage Apply, to its advisers by the end of 2019 after integration into its client relationship management tool.
Three other distributors, including Sesame Bankhall Group will also roll the two Twenty7Tec systems out to its advisers. PMS, however, stated that Mortgage Brain remains its ‘preferred system’ but will offer the alternative software to users for £10 a month.
Meanwhile, St. James Place has agreed a five-year deal on both Twenty7Tec systems to over 4,000 advisers with integration into its core system. LSL has agreed a similar deal for its 2,000 advisers, with rollout due to complete by 2019-end.
Twenty7Tec also fleshed out its plans to roll out software partnerships with a series of mortgage lenders this year, with some unable to commit to a timeline.
The lenders have agreed different levels of service packages, with some opting for software that offers decision in principle, full mortgage application and case tracking and others will offer the full package, including document transfer, status updates, third party integrations and a secure chat functionality between broker and lender.
Twenty7Tec said ideally every lender will eventually move to this model once all their APIs become available.
Timelines for system adoption supplied by Twenty7Tec:
1. Lloyds Banking Group – Q3 Target – decision in principle (DiP), full mortgage application (FMA)
2. Barclays – Q4 target – All functionality
3. Santander – Q4 target – DiP
4. Natwest – Q2/3 target – DiP, FMA, case tracking
5. TSB – Q4 target – All functionality
6. Yorkshire Building Society – Q4 target – All functionality
7. Skipton – Q4 target – All functionality
8. Precise – Q2/3 target – All functionality
9. Kensington – Q2/3 Target – All functionality
10. Foundation Home Loans – Q3/4 – All functionality
Platform, Aldermore, West Brom Building Society, Together and The Mortgage Lender have yet to announce timelines but intend to aim for all functionality.
A panel of mortgage firms and networks, including Mortgage Advice Bureau, LSL, Sesame Bankhall and Connells, laid out their views on the strategic importance of technology and innovation in the market.
Ben Thompson, managing director at MAB raised the spectre of the travel industry and said while he understood why some may not want to make technology moves first, sitting it out entirely is not an option. He added that the relationships mortgage brokers and lenders have now must be strengthened, adding it’s so important ‘we get that right.’
Adrian Scott, group mortgage services director at Connells Group, said there were three reasons his firm had chosen Twenty7Tec’s software.
“The relationships and the people at Twenty7Tec have been a breath of fresh air for us with their ‘can do’ attitude across their business,” said Scott. He continued that the quality of the technology and ‘seamless integration’ were also key alongside the concept of the Mortgage Apply software.
Sesame Bankhall COO Martin Schultheiss observed that time is the single biggest asset a company has, so cutting out re-keying will allow advisers more advice time and also allow multiple sources in one hit.
“As lenders face down pricing pressures and risk, ultimately, we as advisers need to also stay relevant as we face the aggregators,” he added.
LSL group financial services director Jon Round said: “It might be worth just taking a little bit of a step back here, as we sit at the top of the Gherkin admiring the view and discussing what a brilliant step forward for the industry this is. Ultimately, this is really just about establishing some of the basics that should be in place.”
Round added that the automated flow of data between brokers and lenders is instead supported by an army of administrators re-keying information. “It’s really quite a crazy place to start from,” he said.