Intermediaries say the future is electronic

More than three-quarters of mortgage intermediaries expect the majority of their business to be conducted electronically within the next two years, says research from Vertex Financial Services and Trigold.

The survey of mortgage intermediaries predictions for business growth and development shows 76% of UK mortgage intermediaries believe more than half of their business will be conducted online by 2007.

When asked what technology needs to deliver over the next 12 months to achieve this and better serve their businesses, 88% said better electronic application services were key, 64% hoped for more effective application tracking services, 57% said electronic Key Facts Illustrations and for 45% greater transfer of data between applications was also cited as an essential enhancement.

While they anticipate a breakthrough in the use of technology to communicate with clients and lenders, intermediaries also highlighted a number of areas in which mortgage providers could help them to do business better.

Improved service levels were seen as key by an unprecedented 91% of participants. Enhanced e-commerce facilities were also seen as important, with a further 80% of intermediaries looking for this from providers. In addition, supporting mortgage sourcing systems was viewed as important by 79% of intermediaries questioned.

David Edwards, managing director of mortgages at Vertex Financial Services, says: These findings not only highlight how importantly intermediaries regard technology in terms of its ability to drive business, but also illustrate how they are becoming increasingly sophisticated in the demands they make of it.

Traditional views of intermediaries as being slightly techno-phobic are clearly no longer true and both mortgage lenders and technology providers need to take their views on board to ensure that the right solutions are developed to allow intermediaries to provide the best possible service to their clients.

Bill Safran, chief executive officer at Trigold, adds: These results show intermediaries recognise the tangible benefits that electronic trading can bring to their business. This is a testament to the advances that have been made in the mortgage market over the past few years. The next challenge is for technology providers and lenders to work together to continue providing value-added services to the intermediary.