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60 seconds with…Tim Jones


What do you make of the proposals in the Financial services Authority’s MMR consultation paper?
I think the responsible lending paper represents a step forward for the market but there are also substantial areas of concern. The challenge is to ensure this is not a blunt instrument that resolves certain issues but stifles the mortgage sector. In a fragile market we should be adopting a light-touch approach to regulation and leave significant changes until next year.

What is the biggest threat to the market going forward?
I’ve always believed in mortgage advisers. Good-quality, well delivered advice has helped millions of people. My fear is that continuing regulatory pressure could drive intermediaries away from the sector. This would be a shame as they are vital to a competitive, vibrant and innovative mortgage market, and set the UK apart from the rest of Europe.

Do lenders have the technology to handle the arrears and affordability changes?
A big problem is that lenders often have too many IT platforms to coordinate. If you consider the number of mergers and takeovers we have seen and multiply that by the pre-merger legacy systems each lender had, you get an idea of the immense transformation process the sector faces.
Integration with suppliers’ preferred communication systems is not a top priority for most lenders but the impact of miscommunication can be huge. Using third-party software services can result in cost-effective IT development and integration.

How important is technology in today’s market?
Lending needs to be a fully auditable process and increasingly open to regulatory scrutiny. IT is central to ensuring information is available in the appropriate format at the right time without slowing business processes.
Processing efficiency is essential for lenders to reduce their costs and be able to operate competitively. IT can be a key way of eliminating things such as fax machines that have had their day.

So what’s next for Xit2?
Well, this is certainly an exciting time for us as we move into sectors such as asset and fraud-management services.
A huge amount of work is going on behind the scenes with lenders to deliver the sort of efficiencies only outsourced platforms can bring. We will continue to support independent surveyors.

interview by christine toner



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