We should not rely on the postal service

For the first time in over 10 years, postal workers may go on strike. Unhappy about a proposed 2.5% wage increase, they have already voted in support of strike action while negotiations continue. This is a potential nightmare for businesses and they must protect themselves from the problems such action would generate.

Industrial action is unpredictable, disruptive and beyond the control of the business community that relies on Royal Mail every day.

This is why it’s essential for companies to rely less on the postal service. Technology can play its part and many lenders and brokers have already strike-proofed their operations against action by the postal unions.

The threat of industrial action will see borrowers worry about important documents being sent around the country as they seek to complete their house purchases. Surveys, lawyers’ letters, mortgage applications and bank statements will all be at the mercy of the strikers. If Royal Mail workers walk out, the system will creak to a halt and who knows how many letters will be lost or delayed.

Given that thousands of mortgages complete every day, the potential impact for borrowers is huge. But brokers and lenders have the power to rise above these problems and make themselves independent of the actions of the postal unions.

The use of faxes and emails goes some way to making sure simple communications are not disrupted by strikes but by moving much more of the lending process online, the industry could make itself immune from future strike action.

Scanning technology has improved hugely and documents can be copied and sent to clients at the touch of a button.

Operating this way has a number of benefits. First, it is faster and more reliable than using paper. It is also more environmentally friendly. And sometimes record-keeping is hard for brokers, but online operations automatically create audit trails that do away with the worry of filing away pieces of paper.

The documents involved in this industry are important and relying on the postal service is ridiculous. Online lending operations offer better service, reliability and administration. They put control back into the hands of companies and mean clients can be catered for consistently. If lenders have not strike-proofed their businesses they should not be surprised when brokers and borrowers choose to use safer, more secure competitors.