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February 2020 | Technology

Neal Jannels: Joining the tech dots together

Neal Jannels is managing director of One Mortgage System (OMS)

Is 2020 finally the year that the mortgage market gets its act together and harnesses the power of fintech to improve service standards and create a simpler mortgage journey?

This remains to be seen, but advances are being made all the time with new entrants and disruptors constantly shaking up the property and mortgage worlds.

Late last year, M:QUBE announced that it had secured £5m in seed funding to support its mission of ‘transforming the UK mortgage market’. It aims to digitise and automate the entire application process using data, deep learning and sophisticated technology to deliver mortgages in minutes.

NEW TECHNOLOGY

Interestingly, the business will work exclusively through mortgage brokers, using its partnerships with lenders, investment banks and asset managers to offer a broad range of highly competitive products. This is a concept which I will certainly be following with interest.

Another thought-provoking recent launch from a tech standpoint came via Yourkeys. The firm has recently completed what it says is the first fully digitised end-to-end property transaction.

The proposition ties together all of the major stakeholders in the transaction including conveyancers, mortgage brokers, lenders, housebuilders and estate agents. It is said to have reduced the time to reach exchange of contracts from the industry average of 63 days, down to just 11 days.

Whilst currently focussing on the new build sector, but it’s reported that the technology will be ready to process sales of older properties by the second quarter of this year. For fear of repeating myself, this is another story worth tracking over the course of the next 12 months.

Lenders are not being left behind. Nationwide is currently trialling new technology which enables third party systems to connect with its credit risk and back office systems via APIs. The aim is to reduce the time it takes mortgage brokers to source and submit client applications, and this comes on the back of Nationwide investing £4.1bn in technology over a five-year period.

Education remains key for the intermediary market when it comes to investing in the best forms of technology to support individual business needs. As such, it was great to see a brand-new industry event introduced into the calendar to assist advisers with their tech requirements.

The Future Adviser Event – described as an immersive, tech-focused event with education as its key driver – will offer forward-thinking advisers the chance to explore the changing face of financial services.

The event will also feature ‘unrivalled learning opportunities and unique tech-based zones’.

The more we discuss a range of tech requirements, the better position we will be in – as an industry – to develop and integrate solutions which can make a real difference at all levels.

We are operating in a mortgage market which not only needs change but now actually appears to be in a position to embrace it, rather than fight it (as has been sometimes the case in times gone by).

LEGACY ISSUES

Of course, there remain many legacy issues to overcome, especially when it comes to systems being used by larger lending institutions.

The transition from a traditional mortgage model to a digital solutions-based mortgage model is an ongoing process requiring a well-structured plan which reflects the holistic direction of the lender in question.

This is all about transforming the mortgage journey over the long-term, not about putting plasters on any system leaks.

However, it does feel like lenders have turned an important corner and it’s the smaller players and fintech disruptors (not necessarily those who just make a lot of ‘noise’) which are forcing this to happen.

In terms of intermediaries, we are seeing an increasing number of firms taking advantage of customer relationship management (CRM) systems (like OMS) to help manage customer data, support sales management, deliver actionable insights, integrate with social media and facilitate team communication.

In addition to CRM’s, advisers are now looking for far more from their sourcing systems and features such as lender integration, audit trails, AVMs and credit searches are helping to cut admin burdens across the board.

Collaborative tech trends have helped other financial service sectors to lead the digital revolution and leave the mortgage market trailing in their wake.

Whilst we can’t, and shouldn’t, be looking to transform the mortgage journey overnight – the sooner we join some of the positive fintech disruptor dots together, the quicker and simpler it will become for all links in the mortgage chain.