I have been campaigning for some time for better client and compliance management systems for small mortgage brokers, delivered at a reasonable cost. Smaller brokers need access to the same functionality that large networks and brokers have developed for themselves, but at a price that doesn’t break the bank.These systems give competitive advantage and make sure that all the compliance safeguards are in place. It was therefore good to see Mortgage Brain buying The Key recently. The Key, the product name for Client Data Systems’ mortgage software, provides front end point-of-sale and compliance systems coupled with back office support. With its facility to integrate with major sourcing systems, the software allows users to effectively conduct all aspects of the sale and compliance process. These include Initial Disclosure Documents, fact-finds, needs analysis and reasons for recommendation documents and commission reconciliation. The system also provides integration with electronic trading platforms, insurance and protection companies, a data warehouse and compliance monitoring and management facilities. The system can be operated both on and offline. Users will benefit from the additional products and services offered by Mortgage Brain that should enable brokers to strengthen relationships with their customers and partners. Mark Lofthouse, chief executive of Mortgage Brain, says the acquisition of The Key represents the next step in its strategy to strengthen and extend the range of products and services it offers. “This acquisition is an excellent strategic fit with our business and further reinforces Mortgage Brain’s position in the industry,” he says. I agree. It seems The Key is an ideal partner for Mortgage Brain as the firms’ products and services complement each other. And The Key’s customers should benefit from the support and backing of one of the industry’s leading providers of mortgage software. The service is aimed at smaller brokers and the price reflects this. The list price for brokers if The Key is hosted by Mortgage Brain is 35 per month per user and if the client uses their own server – typically this will be larger clients – it is 25 per month. Volume discounts will apply for larger brokers and white label and customisation options will be priced on a per client basis. This is a good addition for Mortgage Brain clients. But it is now competing for customers with some of the soft- ware suppliers that have Mortgage Brain and the Mortgage Trading Exchange integrated into their own software, and it remains to be seen how these relationships will be maintained. With a broader offering, Mortgage Brain looks as though it can provide a one-stop shop for smaller brokers but it will face strong competition from standalone providers of mortgage sales and compliance process software. One thing’s for sure – smaller brokers will reap the benefits.
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