Everything an adviser needs to know about APIs
Steve Nobes (pictured), head of network and club relationships, Smartr365
Application Programming Interfaces, or APIs, are big news in mortgageland right now. APIS enable applications to ‘talk to each other’. This means the speedy and secure transfer of data between different systems and platforms, such as lenders and distributors.
So, what does all this mean for mortgages? The key benefit of APIs to advisers is their ability to streamline the mortgage process. Increasing efficiency is something that the mortgage industry needs to improve as a priority, with some claiming it is one of the few industries where application processing times have actually gotten worse in the past 30 years.
The mortgage market has so far resisted wholesale disruption from major technology new entrants – but it would be unwise to assume that this will be the status quo forever. Advisers currently have dominant market share – and they want to stay in that position. To compete in the mortgage market of the future, advisers need to offer the same kind of technology experience that we are all used to when we deal with companies like Amazon, Facebook and so on.
Bringing in APIs
Adviser firms are smaller and nimbler than lenders, and this can be an advantage. It should be possible for intermediaries to take advantage of the benefits that APIs offer without incurring huge costs trying to rework legacy technology platforms.
Adviser technology can automate and enhance the mortgage process. End-to-end platforms which use APIs can map, track and manage the customer’s journey in a clear format which is easily accessible to all stakeholders within the process.
Streamlining the process
A typical manual mortgage application can take an adviser 10 hours to complete, from initial fact-find to completion. Much of this time is spent re-keying data, uploading documents to multiple different systems and manually updating and tracking cases.
APIs streamline the process by allowing the electronic transfer of information between different parties. For example, let’s think about how we might start streamlining the income verification process. Previously, the borrower would have to submit bank statements to the adviser, the adviser would then re-enter the data and submit to the lender. Instead, advisers are now able to send the raw data directly and securely to the lender.
The right adviser tech platform gives advisers the tools they need to retain and grow their business. By ensuring regular, automated client contact, an adviser tech platform should ensure that advisers have time to build effective and meaningful relationships with their customers.