Brokers have a crucial role to play when it comes to adopting Open Banking

The mortgage market has come a long way over the past decade when it comes to the integration of technology.

There was a time when brokers and lenders alike viewed technology and automation with some suspicion, preferring to rely on the old manual ways of operating.

Thankfully, that is not really the case anymore. We now have lender integration with sourcing systems, allowing brokers to move from identifying the right products for their clients to going through with a full application much more quickly. 

There are also platforms that provide intermediaries with a single point of reference for checking criteria and affordability models, rather than having to go through each lender’s documentation and calculators separately.

Making life easier for brokers and borrowers

All of these developments have made tangible differences to an adviser’s workload, slashing the time spent on basic tasks, like repeatedly rekeying client details and allowing them to deliver a slicker and more satisfying experience to those borrowers.

The past few years forced everyone across the market to rely more on technology. However, the reality is that these innovations have won over brokers on their own merits, even without the challenges of the pandemic.

At LendInvest, our focus has been on identifying how we can make the experience better once the case reaches the lender side. This has meant bringing external technology into our own system, in a way that will save both the broker and client time and hassle. 

Let’s remember, whenever people are polled on the most stressful experiences of their lives, time and again buying or selling a property is right there at the top. That is why bringing together external APIs in order to improve the customer journey, and provide them with a decision in an easier and less stressful way, has to be worth it.

In practice, this means incorporating the likes of Jumio so that clients can verify their ID online through their smartphone, Docusign so that they can sign documents digitally, and Stripe for the payment of fees online throughout the process.

However, there remains work to be done if we are to make the entire mortgage journey a truly digital one.

The paperless pain points

If we are to turn the mortgage process into an entirely paperless one, then there are a couple of obvious pain points. 

The first is around the sharing of client information so that lenders can carry out credit checks, identity checks and the like. All brokers will be familiar with client meetings where they have left, weighed down by a carrier bag filled with various documents, from bank statements to passports, which then have to be scanned, copied and sent over to the lender, before being returned to the customer.

It’s far from an ideal system, which is why Open Banking has been such an encouraging development. It’s a significant step forward when it comes to verifying the information the finance provider has been told, so that a more comprehensive picture of the client can be built and a more informed decision can be made.

It should not be underestimated how important brokers are when it comes to the adoption of Open Banking. Ultimately, it all comes down to the client agreeing to their information being shared in this way, but brokers can be advocates for the system, highlighting to the clients how they will benefit from this smoother and more accurate way of sharing their information.

The other big pain point on the paperless mortgage journey is the legal process. The truth is that the legal side of a property transaction has been largely unchanged for generations, so there is a lot of work to be done on bringing it up to speed with the rest of the property industry. 

Nonetheless, there are encouraging signs that this message is getting through; there are big-name conveyancing firms banging the drum for technology, launching their own digital platforms which bring together stakeholders in a transaction, allowing for a faster sharing of information. Again, brokers have an important role to play here in driving conveyancers forward into incorporating technology more thoroughly throughout their processes.

As an industry, we have made welcome progress on the intelligent adoption of technology, but more work lies ahead if we are to truly bring the entire process online.

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