Race is on for online integration

The provision of online decision technology has been central to most lenders’ e-commerce strategy for over 12 months and continues to be a key factor in future success. Any lender undertaking a technology review will hold enhanced functionality for intermediaries as one of their primary objectives. But there is now a subtle move of focus towards how these systems connect and integrate with lenders’ major distribution partners.

The mortgage process requires packagers to access many differing lender systems to provide brokers with appropriate products. This generally requires significant re-keying of information. A number of packagers want to achieve integration with lenders’ decision systems to provide brokers with a single data entry solution. This will give packagers the opportunity to provide a sourcing and decision service to brokers for specialist products such as sub-prime. So the race is on to become the online system of choice for the packager and broker involved in the specialist market.” Interoperability of systems between mortgage lenders, packagers, brokers, insurance providers, estate agents and solicitors will be essential”Lendersonline is the latest system that claims to have a multi-lender cascading system incorporating an integrated Equifax credit search. It has been developed by the Loan and Mortgage Processing Centre and launched with a panel of 14 lenders which, the firm says, is representative of the whole of the specialist market from a broker perspective. It has seven lenders that accept direct business and another three are to follow soon.

Primrose has also been developing its Evaluate platform to give direct integrated access to seven specialist lenders’ real-time decisions. This will represent a fairly comprehensive market offering to both packagers and brokers who want fast decisions and should eliminate re-keying.

Among IT companies building sourcing and transactional technology for the packager and broker market, DPR Consulting is leading the way with its Mortgage Bench system. DPR has provided the decision technology to a number of lenders and has been able to integrate them into its technology.

MTE and Trigold have the lion’s share of the small broker sourcing market but will face increasing competition from new systems. Both firms are enhancing their connectivity to lenders.

Some lenders do not want to share functionality on platforms where their brand advantage may be eroded. It is also not in their interests to support one solution that becomes the dominant distribution vehicle in any sector of the market as this could lead to a shift in power away from the lender to the distributor.

It is clear that the proliferation of integrated systems will lead to new alliances in the distribution market based on a common use of technology and increased bargaining power with lenders. Yet there is common agreement that interoperability of systems between mortgage lenders, packagers, brokers, insurance providers, estate agents and solicitors will be essential to ensure lower costs and continued competitive advantage.

Frank Eve is managing director of Frank Eve Consulting