Peter Williams is executive director of the Intermediary Mortgage Lenders Association
The IRESS findings are a very useful review of the progress towards making the mortgage application process as efficient and transparent as possible – an aim we fully support. The significant changes over the last 12-18 months mean lenders have been making considerable investments into their mortgage processes and not least into IT, reflecting the pressures being brought about by the Mortgage Market Review (MMR) and the Mortgage Credit Directive.
We welcome the acknowledgement that ‘significant strides’ have been taken to make systems more intuitive and efficient – but there is clearly more that can and will be done. IRESS’ research clearly signposts the improvements that are most valued by brokers, and will help to focus minds on the areas that can make the biggest difference to the broker and consumer experience.
Technology is developing all the time, and as lenders work to adapt their legacy systems, we can expect to see more integration of scan and attach facilities into online application process to give one example. However, the challenge is not just the technology itself but how it can be integrated into credit and fraud avoidance processes, which means it may not always be possible to meet intermediaries’ every need.
Lenders vary considerably in terms of their IT legacy systems and that in itself can be a constraint on the speed of progress alongside the fact this is a competitive issue with firms making choices as to what they prioritise. The survey responses are mainly from small to medium sized brokers who face very different operational realities to the lenders in the survey. Nonetheless, as the participation of IMLA members shows, lenders are keen to make further progress.
We welcome an open dialogue and the industry has much to gain by continuing the discussion between intermediaries and lenders – both individually and collectively – to improve the application process. We will continue to work with our partners at AMI and IRESS to take this learning on board and to encourage further improvement and best practice across the lending community.