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We must return to basic underwriting

Amid the recriminations and buck passing of recent weeks, little attention has been paid to the lessons that need to be learnt from the mess we are in.

There are going to have to be some changes – one of which should be the reliance on IT.

I’m no technophobe, but it seems that, for example, the dependence on credit-scoring systems has become an Achilles heel for underwriters.

I recently read an article by a mortgage analyst who said credit scoring is too slow to react to changes in the economic climate.

After the 9/11 atrocities, those relying on credit-scoring systems were probably still accepting customers involved in tourism and aviation at a time when those industries were announcing massive redundancies.

Today, in a climate where the financial services sector is seeing huge job losses, credit-scoring systems are probably still accepting applications from those employed in the sector as normal.

I’m sure this is affecting brokers’ attempts to get mortgages for clients. Credit-scoring systems haven’t caught up with the times and are probably accepting higher risk cases, while declining those that represent better risks today.

Technology has revolutionised the industry for the better but we have lost some of the skills that led to the dynamic market we once enjoyed. Lenders must take this opportunity to reintroduce basic underwriting skills and start lending appropriately.

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