Stuart Phillips (pictured) is director at BrokerSense
As a broker myself, I’m a firm believer that real flesh-and-blood advisers bring a huge amount of value to the mortgage process.
For most people, a mortgage is the single biggest financial commitment they will make in their lives.
The time may come when as a society we’re ready to entrust this sort of thing entirely to the machines, but I’m not convinced we’re there yet.
Equally, though, it’s obvious that as a profession we need to move with the times.
Customers expect and deserve the best possible service – and we need to convince them that we are getting the best deal they can.
We shouldn’t be slaves to technology but by making use of relatively simple tools like mortgage affordability calculators we can keep pace with the march of robo-advice.
The best thing is, we can make our own lives a whole lot easier in the process.
How many brokers are still manually trawling individual lenders’ affordability criteria, laboriously inputting client details each time, and still only covering a small cross-section of the market?
Not only is this tedious and time-consuming – it also risks missing out lenders who could give the client a better deal.
The key to using technology effectively is good design. It needs to be easy to use and fit in with how we run our businesses – not an unwanted complication or a source of headaches.
The affordability tools we’ve designed at BrokerSense integrate seamlessly with your CRM, so there’s no need to duplicate data entry, and scan the whole of the market, using criteria from fifty traditional lenders – and 75 lenders for our new buy-to-let calculator.
This means they can generate comprehensive affordability reports in a matter of moments.
It’s easy to put that information into a format that can be used to present to clients, giving them a clear idea of how much they may be able to borrow.
There’s a lot of talk about robo-advice and I know a lot of us worry that the role of brokers is going to be diminished.
If we harness some of the technology that sits behind robo-advice, and use it to our own advantage, it will enhance our role and make the service we provide even more valuable to consumers.