Brokers are to the mortgage market what John Lewis is to retail
Recently the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) predicted that technology’s increasingly important role in financial services, particularly mortgages, will lead to a drop in the number of mortgage brokers operating in the sector.
Quite understandably, the FCA believes that – like in many other sectors –technology will start to take on the roles of people within the mortgage market and brokers will gradually become redundant.
And while I am not blind to the obvious changes in the market as a result of technological advances, I genuinely do not see this happening, at least not to those brokers offering a good quality service.
In other sectors, like retail, for example, those retailers that were not offering a good service have been hit hard.
They have found that if their offline offering wasn’t giving customers a reason to physically come into their shops, then those customers would quickly turn to online for an easier, quicker and cheaper service.
But, those shops who are getting right offline – John Lewis for example – are thriving.
This is because John Lewis knows what its customers want – great customer service and a quality retail experience – and knows how to differentiate itself.
John Lewis has continued to provide a quality retail service in their shops as well as making sure their online offering is up to scratch sto ensure they have all their bases covered.
And that is how I see our brokers. Yes, technology will have a huge part to play, and brokers cannot afford to get left behind, but they also need to make sure they are still offering their clients a reason to seek face to face advice.
Recently, there have been huge advantages in technology in the mortgage market, including criteria search tools and rate comparison tools.
But brokers should not be threatened by these, they are not there to take a brokers’ place. Instead, they can be used by brokers enhance their service, enabling them to offer their customers the best deals available.
Mortgages are becoming more and more complicated as more lenders come onto the market and peoples’ individual circumstances become more complex.
Robo-advice can only do so much, and people are increasingly getting frustrated when they get so far with a mortgage only to find they have unanswered questions that they need to ask a real person about.
Taking out a mortgage is a huge financial commitment and the reassurance you get from talking through your options – from the deals available through to the importance of protection – with a real person, cannot be replaced by a computer.