‘Crackers’ house-buying process needs industry response: Atom Bank

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The house-buying process is “crackers” and needs a cross-industry response to simplify it, according to Atom Bank director of retail mortgages Maria Harris.

Speaking to Mortgage Strategy, Harris says that customers ultimately lose out from the inefficient way the industry currently operates.

She says: “In my perfect world we would get the whole industry to sit down collectively and plot out what the customer journey should be and build the technology around open platforms, block chain, whatever has to happen to make the customer journey of buying, selling, moving, remortgaging, whatever, so much easier.

As an industry we are not great at doing stuff together.  I don’t know when anyone has ever looked at our end-to-end journey and gone ‘this is crackers, why do we do it this way, where did all these hurdles and barriers come from?’ The person who feels that pain the most is the customer.”

Harris says that open banking, which will be driven by the Revised Payment Service Directive (PSD2) from 2018, could help drive change.

PSD2 will let bank customers turn to third-party firms to help manage their money.

For example, consumers could use Google to pay bills, but could also keep using their traditional bank’s current account.

The EU directive will demand that banks give third-party firms access to their clients’ accounts by using application program interface (API) software.

Harris says: “I think once the PSD2 comes in people will get round the whole concept of open banking and APIs, what that actually means in technology terms.

“I don’t think the industry is there yet. That principle of data sharing in a secure way, in a block chain way, where everything is validated, that could change the whole process.”

Harris was speaking to Mortgage Strategy as part of a longer interview which will be published soon.