Equity Release Supermarket will launch a mobile app where customers can access its online portal and track their applications this year.
The client portal and case tracking service has already been in place on its website for three years. Here important documents such as valuation, offer and suitability report are all uploaded. Customers are then able to track and see what stage their application is at.
This personalised client dashboard feature also provides contact information of their adviser and lender, including plan details and details of their acting solicitor.
Mark Gregory, director of Equity Release Supermarket, said: “Within this new mobile app we will be looking to further improve the customer journey from application to completion. This will add to the existing client emails, sent at key stages of the process.
“When customers are out and about they can get push notifications. For instance they see their valuation report has just been received, click onto it, login into the dashboard and review the surveyors report. That’s part of what we’re looking to create.
“At the moment we’re probably more tech-savvy than even some lenders in how we work and think as a company. The consumer journey is important to us, not just the advice, but the application process too.”
Gregory said that many customers use the dashboard on the site already and so having it as an app is the next step.
He said that the older generation are becoming more tech savvy. Indeed, iPad usage is growing with the help of grandchildren who are handing down second-generation tablets.
He added: “They’re starting to get used to tech which is only going to help grow the market.
“But the equity release market is still behind the mainstream mortgage market in terms of technology. We need lenders to catch up as well.”
Both Gregory and Gary Webster, head of partnerships at the Equity Release Supermarket, stressed that there’s still not enough information for customers researching equity release online.
Webster said: “There’s a distinct lack of information and sometimes that creates some of the confidence issues coming into the market from a consumer perspective.
“It’s a big financial decision and for an industry that’s had its critics, the information that’s available for consumers is very text heavy about what the plans do. We are looking to change this with more online tools.”
Gregory added that he’s been doing equity release for 20 years so he wants to leave his mark in the sector.
He said: “Speaking to lenders and showing the additional tech we’re releasing soon, they’re saying we’re ahead of the market.
“We are looking forward to working with lenders and solicitors alike, to bring this industry in line with that of the mortgage market. I want to leave a legacy for the industry.
“Lenders can see this latest tech benefitting themselves as well, because hopefully it will bring more confidence and additional consumers into this growing market.”