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Technology is fine but speed isn’t everything

I think most people in the industry would pass on their congratulations to the likes of GMAC-RFC and edeus for the technological innovations they have brought to the market.

It’s wonderful to be able to produce nonconditional mortgage offers in minutes, taking weeks off the mortgage process. As a packager this streamlines our business and improves our relationships with brokers.

I look forward to some of the other key players such as Mortgages PLC, Kensington Mortgages and Platform following suit shortly.

Nothing stands still for long and this is especially true of technology. I was talking to a senior executive from a major lender and a senior executive from a leading national conveyancer recently. They both informed me that they were on the cusp of instant completions.

A broker will be able to apply for funds and an automatic valuation model will be used. Online checks for all essential conveyancing requirements will then be done, closely followed by a request for completion funds which could be instant.

So a consumer could walk in off the street, apply for a mortgage or remortgage and make the biggest financial decision of their lives, all in the time it takes to watch the first half of a football match. One word springs to mind – frightening.

Let me assure you that I am not technophobic. My company has invested heavily over the past 12 months in an online system complete with back office database.

I appreciate the place technology has in our industry and how important it is. I just feel we should consider where it may take us and where it could leave the most important person in the mortgage chain – the customer.

How many times have you seen clients who have changed their mind about a scheme, a repayment term, a repayment method or even a lender? How many times have clients also changed their minds about the properties they were planning to buy? These situations must be reacted to, and reactions can take time.

If a transaction takes place in such a short time, the worst case scenario would be that a client could be stuck with the wrong lender on the wrong scheme and possibly in the wrong property. This could cause many problems for the industry.

It seems ironic that in the world of unsecured lending, second charge lenders have to offer a cooling-off period. If technology continues to march on at the pace it is, this will have to be considered when it comes to mortgage loans too.

This would ensure that the above scenario doesn’t breed in a technologically enhanced environment. After all, would it be such a bad thing if it took seven or 14 days to complete a mortgage?

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