Communication breakdown

Gemma Harle

August 12, 2015

Gemma Harle is managing director of TenetLime

Have we reached a tipping point in the mortgage application process?

In this ever-accelerating world of digital communication – where everything is instant and you can purchase anything from a computer to a car at the click of a button – is the mortgage process stuck in the past?

Today’s consumers don’t want to join a waiting list, put up with delays to fix an appointment, wade through reams of endless paperwork and take weeks before seeing any signs of progress. They want to see, click and buy.

For a variety of reasons, the mortgage application process is out of kilter and customers are becoming increasingly frustrated by what they see as its ‘old-fashioned’ antiquity.

Whilst I fully accept the complexity and importance of the current level of paperwork, demand will inevitably dictate a change. As a nation, our attention span has shortened and our industry must find a way to modify the process accordingly.

People are running out of patience when it comes to having to plough through written material, to the point where they are even becoming critical of its value.

We are victims of our own digital success and customers have got used to only having to take the absolute minimum amount of information in.

It’s a digital ‘Catch-22’ situation: with lenders damned by the regulator if they do and damned by consumers if they don’t.

The gap that will inevitably have to be bridged, but that will require an almost unprecedented level of co-operation between lenders and approval by the regulator.

Consumers are also confused about the true role of brokers – believing they are there to give support and guidance, rather than advice. This only serves to increase the level of frustration.

MMR was all about improving the customer experience and ensuring better outcomes, but the FCA remain unsupportive of any lender standardisation, or simplification, despite the fact that the technology is undoubtedly available and customers are clamouring for it.

To be fair, this is not without good reason, due to the important legal provisions that must be covered and the dangerous liability ramifications of them being overlooked in a simplified system.

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