You need to upskill on technology

Phil Whitehouse

November 29, 2017

Phil Whitehouse is managing director of MCI Mortgage Club

Unlike the government’s Brexit talks, things in the mortgage world move fast – not least when it comes to mortgage technology.

Over the last 12 months or so we’ve seen plenty of change and progress within the technological world with some big tech stories grabbing the headlines.

Brokers question Labour’s Bank of England plan

27Tec has caught most of the column inches with the work it has done with some lenders in streamlining the submission of cases while Knowledge Bank’s mortgage criteria search has also has turned the world spinning as brokers can search a case on criteria rather than historically just rate – something which will clearly have an effect on Mortgage Brain and Trigold ‘traditional sourcing models’.

And of course, one cannot mention technology in the mortgage world without including the ongoing discussion surrounding robo advice.

The concept of automated advice is being bandied around as the next best thing since the hoover – although I think not enough is being said about the types of cases this model will cater to.

We all know some clients (particularly at present) have more complex needs and I can’t see how these clients will ever be catered to by a computer.

Yes, automated advice may work for the low hanging fruit, so to speak, but brokers will still show their worth when it comes to more complex cases.

That being said it’s fair to say brokers, at present, must feel bewildered as to where all this is going and what should they be doing.

The answer is clear. You must embrace it. You may not agree with it all. You may prefer a traditional approach but the fact is this technological revolution is happening and if you ignore it you will simply be left behind.

You need to upskill to give yourself the best chance of competing in a more technological market. And doing so does not have to be time consuming or expensive.

Take time out each week to study the alternatives and try to understand what is going on.

Attend roadshows and seminars were possible. Read up on the developments in the market. The trade press will cover all of the important movements in the market, make use of it. Ask lenders for their view. Speak to other brokers and find out what they think. Educate yourself. But get involved. Partner up.

The right technology provider will enable you to embrace technology and move forward in line with the industry. But do your research before you agree to anything.

Indeed, the only thing worse than shunning the advancements altogether and staying set in your ways is jumping in too quickly and forming an IT relationship with a provider you don’t know enough about. Conduct full and proper research of all the alternatives.

Timing is vital, too quick a jump could mean the solution is not right, too slow and the world has moved on.

The fact is this is a vital topic so taking the time to get involved is vital too.

The government has announced it will look into the homebuying and selling process to make it more straightforward and fairer for all involved and has issued a call for evidence. And you can almost see the entire housing and mortgage industry rolling their eyes.

If there’s one complaint about the government that prevails year and year (regardless of who is number 10) it’s that it continuously makes decisions about sectors without fully understanding what’s actually happening on the front line.

The buy-to-let sector is a case in point.

Over a two year period the government has waged all out war on the industry in an attempt, apparently, to make it safer for all those involved.

And yet just weeks ago housing minister Alok Sharma admitted in a debate in the House of Commons that rents could well rise as a result of the measures the government has put in place.

You’ll remember, at the start of the year communities secretary Sajid Javid called for reform in the housing market in what can only be described as a damp squib of a White Paper and now almost 10 months on Mr Javid has launched a consultation to find out, essentially, what people think can be done.

Don’t get me wrong, any action that is taken to improve the housing market and make things easier for buyers (and sellers) should be welcomed but I can’t help but think this whole thing only exposes how little the government understands our industry

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