While cost and reputation count for a lot, so does day-to-day functionality.
So this week, Mortgage Solutions is asking: What are your main deciding factors when shopping around for new technology?
When we were employed at both Which? Mortgage Advisers and a small brokerage in Bristol who were under the Tenet network, we used the Key by Mortgage Brain and we knew the software inside out.
Although it could be clunky at times, it worked. We knew that the client information was correct, we could do multiple applications at one time, the documents were held securely, the client portal was usable and the mortgage illustration it produced was accurate.
When we set up with a new network, we chose another provider. The software was dreadful and resulted in us having to re-key information across several different forms and software, rather than being fully integrated.
We then went with another network and this time, the software they offered was more important to us than when we first set up.
The network allowed us access to a practice version of the software that allowed us to input cases as if it was a real scenario. They also have fantastic video tutorials that you can run alongside to help with any problems.
When we were looking at different options, we wanted it to be easy to use, compliant with our network, and integrated so we weren’t having to input data repeatedly. Cost would have been a concern, but we’re quite happy to spend money if it made sense. We also like the idea of a client portal, although the quality of these can differ.
We also use Criteria Brain, primarily for the Affordability Brain. We were offered a 30-day free trial and it is so useful that we signed up immediately. We also like the ability to compare criteria. Yesterday I was able to check which lenders accepted professional landlords and HMOs with eight bedrooms. Vida to the rescue.
I’m now actively telling friends in the industry that this is a bit of kit that they need.
The key with technology is that it must be easy to use and once in place becomes a time saving tool, otherwise people will avoid using it.
Cost is always going to play a large part in the decision making but ultimately it must be of real benefit to the end user.
The next consideration is whether the new technology integrates with other systems we already use. There is pressure in our industry to be technologically advanced to keep up with the online mortgage services that are available. However, there is simply no point in taking on new systems for the sake of it, especially if it means having to key data more than once to achieve the results.
Over the past 18 months or so we have seen a shift in the way in which documentation is sent to us by clients and in the way we are asked to send them to the lender. There is fast becoming a need for a portal to make it easier for the client to provide these documents and this surely must be a consideration when building new technology.
Another consideration is that of the profile of the company providing the technology. In the past we have had many demonstrations of systems that have been built for brokers, but clearly by IT specialists, culminating in an unadaptable system that just doesn’t work.
We would shop around for as long as it takes to find right solution that works for us and benefits our clients.
Mark Pattanshetti, associate director at Largemortgageloans.com
The main system we use is Twenty7Tec, but because of the nature of the deals we do involving clients who make money on the internet a lot of the time they don’t fit.
So, we rely on our own research, spreadsheets, notes, conversations and an internal database. We also work with ex-pats who want a buy-to-let property in London. Putting that into the sourcing system we use, not all the options come up.
If I was a broker who saw more standard clients, then Twenty7Tec would be the system of choice. We also use the Legal and General Mortgage Club’s service where you can contact them, connect with operators who filter through potential options then they email a list of lenders that can help.
We also use Criteria Brain which is very useful.
Those are what I use the most.
However, because I’m familiar with private banks, I can still suggest potential options to clients outside of those systems because they typically aren’t available. Which is a shame as that would be very helpful so someone should come up with that.
We haven’t tested any other systems because of the way our research and compliance is set up.
Ease of use and the speed at which we can obtain information is a main priority when looking for technology, cost is not a problem as long as it works well.