Editor’s view: Brokers must keep pace with technology

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One does not need to be particularly eagle-eyed to notice a technology thread running through this issue of Mortgage Strategy.

Coincidentally, technology features heavily in both Coreco director and long-serving Mortgage Strategy columnist Andrew Montlake’s article and MCI Mortgage Club managing director Phil Whitehouse’s piece. Moreover, our cover profile touches upon the poor take-up of new technology in the conveyancing sector.

Commentators continually preach the benefits of staying abreast of technological developments, yet for some reason the housing and property markets – in general – have always been late adopters.

However, as Mortgage Strategy revealed last year, there are signs of lenders getting their act together. We found lenders were spending significant sums of money on boosting their technology in order to tap into the non-advised market, such as retention deals.

But their focus has not been limited to this area. Last week, Lloyds Banking Group followed Nationwide Building Society in launching a video service that enables its customers to speak to mortgage advisers remotely.

This activity may be partly influenced by the distribution landscape, with brokers accounting for up to 70 per cent of lending. It does not take a genius to work out that lenders would prefer the ratio to be closer to 50-50. Hence it is easy to understand their focus on execution-only retention business.

But what are brokers doing to keep pace?

Admittedly, most brokerages cannot compete with the deep pockets of the big banks. But to view this as a battle would be incorrect. The key to solving the issue is to pay attention to how consumers want to transact in the modern age and tailor your proposition accordingly.

Increasingly, borrowers want businesses to fit around their busy lifestyles and they want results quickly. Firms that fulfil both of these requirements will be successful in the modern age.

Whitehouse sums it up perfectly this week when he says: “If the rest of the world is moving forward, you will soon get left behind if you choose to stand still.”