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Technology is key to brokers&#39 future

The pace of technological change in the mortgage market is breathtaking. It was not long ago that we had to live without email or the internet, and the mortgage process was one long paper chain. Now all brokers have access to the internet and most have their own consumer websites.

Also, most acceptances in principle are done online through lenders&#39 intermediary websites. Product selection systems allow access to electronic transfer of data and mortgage companies could not operate effectively without the internet.

We still suffer from processing backlogs and inefficient systems stress-tested in a market that has seen volumes increase for the past five years. But modern systems can boost efficiency, drive down costs and improve access to the target market. Intermediaries now have a vast array of IT products to choose from – but which are the best?

Lenders can now give instant decisions from their websites subject only to valuation and these can be linked through the intermediary&#39s consumer site to allow the consumer access. The integration of these systems into lenders&#39 back end processing systems means that data should only have to be input once. Further integration will come about as a result of the systems provided by the networks which in turn will have to integrate into lenders&#39 processing systems. Consolidation within the mortgage market will come about as the industry improves its IT solutions.

Your survival depends on the use of technology – to reduce risks and comply with regulation. Any fall in volume must be balanced by a gain in efficiency. An increase in risk has to be assessed and provided for. Regulation is at hand audit trails must be laid down, T&C schemes must be in place and the financial promotion regulations understood and applied. And when the FSA comes calling for the data it requires, who wants to have to enter it manually? All these problems have technological solutions and I will be making my contribution to the debate each week in this column.

From next week I will be accessing the technological solutions currently available and also looking for the IT solutions of the future.

I will be bringing you an assessment of IT companies, lender systems, networks, trading platforms and product selection systems, their product functionality and costs and their advantages and disadvantages. Whether they are CRM systems, product selection tools, application processing systems or compliance tools, they are all essential kit for the modern mortgage company. Intermediaries, networks and lenders must keep abreast of all the innovations available and I will be doing my best to enhance their knowledge of the options.

If you have an interesting technology problem – or an interesting solution – let me know at mortgage.strategy@centaur.co.uk

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