Get on the right side of the IT divide

Imagine a client coming into a broker\'s office with their financial and social history gathered on a microchip that also provides access to their banking arrangements.

The chip would be implanted in the client’s arm and by using wireless technology and a pin number, they could allow access to the information to whoever needs it.

With technology such as this, brokers could gain instant access to their clients’ financial arrangements. Personal data could be uploaded into the requisite systems for mortgage applications and almost without a keystroke, everything relevant to applications could pre-populate the necessary forms.

A chip could contain the latest computergenerated valuation of a client’s house. It could also offer a snapshot of their credit card borrowing situation or their bank balance. A history of financial transactions and arrangements would be available, along with any legal or financial judgements that might colour an application.

In short, reading these chips would allow brokers to electronically plug into their clients, extracting information from a secure and accredited environment.

Such a situation is still a long way from reality, although things are moving in that direction. Indeed, as far back as 2004 a nightclub in Barcelona offered a service whereby chips could be inserted into VIPs’ arms which they could use as passes into the club. Clients could also put money on their chips and use them like debit cards to pay for drinks at the bar.

For the club’s customers, the idea was more appealing than carrying around wallets but it will be a long time before IT at this level is distilled for the mortgage market, and many people could worry about the social implications of such a technology-driven environment. But others will think this kind of technology will do away with the nightmare of trying to keep personal accounts in order.

Whatever your point of view, such advances are already being investigated by financial and commercial institutions. The potential to improve accuracy, cut duplication and speed up transactions is immense.

As IT develops and we grow to understand its potential the divide will quickly widen between those who are quick to adapt and those who are not. This gap is likely to continue to grow in the coming years and being on the right side of it will be essential to all mortgage businesses.