Promoting your business online – Website Best Practice

In business, as in life, you don’t get a second chance to make a good first impression. That relates to every customer-facing aspect of your business, including your website, especially as physical contact is currently limited making it even more likely to be the first interaction for a potential customer considering utilising the services of your company.

Before making a commitment, such as selecting a mortgage adviser, customers will first check out a company’s website to help them make an informed decision. Imagine your customer performed a search either to discover you don’t have a website, or they arrive to find a series of unattractive, unresponsive, hard to navigate pages. Is that going to encourage them to do business with your company? Probably not.

This makes it essential to position yourself online with a strong, professional reflection of your business that assures customers you are credible and provides the motivation to want to engage further with your business. Forbes claimed that it can be more damaging to have a bad website than no website at all! [1]

First impressions count

If your website is hard to navigate and not visually appealing, the chance to show your credibility and acquire a new client will be lost. In fact, 94% of first impressions are design-related[2] and it takes just 2.6 seconds for a user’s eyes to land on the area of a website that most influences their first impression[3].

Indeed, your website does not get long to win over a customer. They will form that impression in less than a second. 50 milliseconds[4] to be exact, or the blink of an eye. And if they don’t like what they see, 89% will move on to your competitor’s website[5], so let’s look at what you can do to optimise it to help you attract and convert more prospects.

Simplicity

Hicks law states that the more choices a user has to make, the longer it will take them to make a decision[6]. Don’t clutter your homepage with too many products or services. Instead focus on the key messages of your company and decisions you want them to make, like following a call to action or filling out a contact form.

Whitespace

The old days, when all your information needed to be above the fold on your website are long gone. That led to many a homepage that was cluttered and hard to navigate. Now it is more important to use white (or negative) space between text, images, and headings to help create a natural flow to guide your users through your content and make it more digestible and accessible to them.

Clever use of whitespace and thoughtful design will give your website a more minimalist feel and make it more aesthetically pleasing to your users. In a similar way to whitespace, utilising colour contrast can help draw attention to elements on a page you want to highlight, like your logo, a call to action or important content.

Engagement and research

Design and functionality are key to gaining visitors but does your website engage users once they land on your homepage? You may find it easy to attract visitors to your site but if they can’t find relevant and useful content, they’ll move on.

For instance, users may come to your website looking for initial advice for a mortgage. If they arrive on your homepage and find they can scan relevant articles, search for best buys, or use a quick and simple mortgage calculator you will keep them on your website longer. Easy to use features and content bolsters the quality of their experience, engaging them and making them more likely to send an enquiry to generate a lead for your business.

Need help with your website?

Optimising your website might seem a little daunting, but Mortgage Brain is here to help. MortgageBrain B2C is a flexible and professional service that gives you a simple but impactful website to properly represent your company and attract visitors.

You can choose from a range of templates, add mortgage calculators or mortgage search and best buy plug-ins, edit your content to suit your needs, and retrieve leads generated from your site. We do all the hard work for you.

Our templates are designed to be eye-catching, easy to navigate, functional, responsive and engaging, so whether you want a totally new website or to freshen-up and enhance your existing one, our experts have the skills to make it work harder for your business and represent you in the best possible light.


[1] https://www.forbes.com/sites/nicoleleinbachreyhle/2014/09/29/websites-for-small-businesses/#59f10f772026

[2] https://www.sweor.com/firstimpressions

[3] https://cxl.com/blog/first-impressions-matter-the-importance-of-great-visual-design/

[4] https://research.google/pubs/pub38315/

[5] https://www.webfx.com/blog/web-design/website-statistics-2020/

[6] https://www.interaction-design.org/literature/article/hick-s-law-making-the-choice-easier-for-users

Working around the impact

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a huge impact throughout the world with almost every industry and market affected by it. Certainly, the mortgage industry has and continues to face many challenges. Lenders, advisers, and their customers face logistical challenges as they navigate ways to work efficiently from home, without face-to-face contact and for some there will be additional financial pressures.

Mortgage holidays

With normal working practices thrown into disarray and businesses losing large percentages of their income, the knock-on effect meant many homeowners could be faced with financial hardship. To help support borrowers, the government announced that mortgage lenders would offer three-month payment holidays to try and ease the burden and this has subsequently now been extended[1]. It is estimated that almost one-in-five UK mortgage holders have now been granted a payment holiday, which equates to around 2M Britons[2].

In response to the continued financial challenges faced by many consumers, a series of proposals have been developed to help borrowers who are continuing to struggle with mortgage repayments[3] including:

  • Granting those who have not yet taken a payment holiday until 31st October 2020 to apply
  • Enabling borrowers coming to the end of a payment holiday, but still in need of support, to request another three-month payment holiday
  • Stating that at the end of the payment holiday lenders should contact borrowers to agree whether to spread the cost of missed payments over the remaining mortgage term or to extend the term
  • Extending the ban on repossession of houses until 31st October 2020
  • Clarifying that payments missed through payment holidays or partial holidays will not affect a borrower’s credit score

Mortgage products almost halved

COVID-19 also heavily impacted the UK housing market. In the middle of March, mortgage lenders were forced to review their offerings due to the operational obstacles that the lockdown imposed, including the requirement to continue servicing and supporting existing customers, the process of mass migrating day-to-day operations to a home based set up, and the inability to obtain physical valuations. The consequences of these factors resulted in numerous product withdrawals or amendments alongside multiple policy and criteria changes. Meanwhile, buyers and sellers were urged not to move or hold viewings during the lockdown[4].

Recent Mortgage Brain data (as of 27 May) shows that when compared to pre-pandemic levels, the number of mortgage products available is 42.4% lower than the nine-week average to 16th March[5]. However, it is not all bad news, there is cause for cautious optimism as that figure appeared to bottom out during the week ending 12th April and the last five weeks have shown a steady rise in the number of products, resulting in a 13.8% (8,450) increase on the lowest level4.

Technology at the forefront

For many of the problems the pandemic has given rise to, technology frequently provides an answer. With the battle against Coronavirus demanding everyone observes social distancing, while there was a boom in remortgages, the housing purchase market slowed[6], with the knock-on effect being felt by the mortgage industry. But out of these problems, could we have found different ways of working that change our lives for the better?

Times like these bring about radical innovations and new solutions to tackle these obstacles. If you’re trying to buy a house, a viewing in person was not allowed during the lockdown. Now, although possible again, many buyers and agents may be sceptical about the safety of viewing in person. This has given rise to virtual viewings as there is no need keep to the two-metre rule but moreover it provides a widely accessible experience that buyers and agents can perform from the safety of their own homes whilst reaching a larger audience than ever, without the constraints of having to align the scheduling of the seller, buyer and agent[7]. This innovation appears to have surpassed the old way of working with a more convenient and efficient process, and with the addition of drone technology, exteriors of larger properties can be impressively showcased too. Perhaps this could become a part of the new normal?

Another heavily impacted activity has been the hosting of in-person events with countless roadshows, seminars, exhibitions and conferences having to be cancelled as venues close with little idea of when they may reopen. Once again, technology has been leveraged to provide a substitute through online events. Whilst you can’t pick up your goodie bag full of handy gadgets or enjoy a smorgasbord of snacks, think of the stress, travel time, and cost negated by not having to make travel and hotel arrangements. Not to mention the positive effect on your carbon footprint. Could virtual events also become a part of everyday business life after lockdown?

Support for the market

At a day-to-day level, innovation within technology itself has also provided a channel of support with companies like Zoom and Google constantly and rapidly evolving their offerings to meet the new needs of a digitally expectant world.

Within the mortgage industry it is a similar situation. Rapid changes to products available, policy and lenders’ criteria have proved challenging to keep track of due to the number of channels providing information and the constant nature of the changes. To aide this, several support hubs emerged in the market offering support to various groups. However, in April, Mortgage Brain delivered a new breed of support hub that took a holistic view of the market and consolidated everything in one place to provide a single source of truth and help combat the information overload.

Developed to support advisers and lenders alike during these challenging times, the COVID-19 Support Hub was made available on Criteria Hub and relays the truth about the pandemic’s impact on the industry across policy, product and news as well as containing easily accessible resources including:

  • Lenders Impact Page allowing you to access regularly updated information populated direct from the lenders themselves, and
  • COVID-19 News Portal displaying criteria, product, and industry news as it is released

Mortgage Brain made its COVID-19 Support Hub available to everyone by hosting it publicly to ensure all advisers had access to the updates they needed to be able to monitor the rapidly evolving marketplace. Taking it a step further, Mortgage Brain also made the Criteria Hub platform free to registered users for at least 90 days so they could further filter through the noise that the Coronavirus outbreak brought.

Innovation at the core

Mortgage Brain has long been a mortgage technology expert and market leader, and COVID-19 has proved the value of its innovative solutions through its ability to keep advisers working efficiently, from wherever they find themselves.

Inevitably, the need to work from home and the lack of face-to-face meetings with clients has created its own challenges. But Mortgage Brain solutions like The Key with its Client Portal, make  communication with clients secure, quick, and simple through encrypted online messaging. Meanwhile, its case tracking functionality means both adviser and client know exactly how a case is progressing 24/7.

The latest version of The Key includes new remortgage review functionality which can monitor when a mortgage rate is due for review, suggest potential replacement products complete with savings, and automatically email a customer and urge them to contact their adviser.

Whilst the purchase market slowly starts to move, ConveyancingBrain offers a way to take advantage of the surge in demand for remortgages which currently accounts for 65% of market activity[8]. It’s quick and simple to send a cashback or fixed fee remortgage to earn referral fees of up to £300 and the case tracking functionality within ConveyancingBrain means customers can always see how their case is progressing.

How long will COVID-19’s impact on our market last? No one really knows. And who is to say what the new normal will be for the industry, but the pandemic has undoubtedly served as a catalyst for innovation and digitalisation, the impacts of which will revolutionise the way we all work. To find out more about Mortgage Brain’s suite of powerful solutions that together offer a seamless end-to-end journey from sourcing through to conveyancing, email sales@mortgage-brain.co.uk


[1] https://www.which.co.uk/news/2020/05/coronavirus-how-to-apply-for-a-three-month-mortgage-payment-holiday/

[2] https://www.theguardian.com/money/2020/may/09/mortgage-holidays-cost-payments-coronavirus

[3] https://www.moneysavingexpert.com/news/2020/05/homeowners-set-to-be-able-to-extend-mortgage-payment-holidays/

[4] https://www.moneysavingexpert.com/news/2020/03/home-buyers-and-renters-urged-to-delay-property-moves/

[5] https://www.mortgage-brain.co.uk/pdf/press-release/news-product-and-esis-numbers-up-again.pdf

[6] https://www.theguardian.com/business/2020/mar/26/housing-market-frozen-by-government-during-coronavirus-lockdown

[7] https://www.homesandproperty.co.uk/property-news/london-property-coronavirus-virtual-viewings-a137631.html

[8] https://www.mortgagesolutions.co.uk/better-business/2020/05/22/mortgage-market-has-bottomed-out-but-new-abnormal-awaits-lofthouse/

A single source for truth

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced all of us to rethink the way we do business, bringing technology to the forefront as vast amounts of the UK workforce migrates to working from home.

This has undeniably brought challenges across financial services, notably within the mortgage industry for lenders, for you, and your customers, as the shape of the mortgage industry continues to change almost daily.

Some of the most rapidly evolving changes have occurred as a result of mortgage lenders reviewing their product ranges and policies for new and existing customers alike, mainly due to operational constraints and to support the government’s payment holiday scheme. It is now reported that 1 in 7 mortgage holders in the UK have requested a payment holiday[1].

On 14th April Mortgage Brain reported the number of products available were down by 7,179, 49.1% lower than the nine-week average to 16th March.

Supporting simplicity

Keeping up to date with the frequency and complexity of the changes poses new challenges for your business including how to best obtain timely, accurate information, and understand how these rapid changes are impacting your business and your clients. Particularly as an overwhelming amount of information is posted across a multitude of channels by numerous sources.

As mortgage technology experts, at Mortgage Brain, we take pride in the accuracy, timeliness and relevancy of the information we publish and have available within our sourcing and criteria solutions. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic we have enhanced our efforts to provide access to accurate and relevant information by allowing users of our offline sourcing product to access the online version for free for at least 90 days. And, we extended this offer to Criteria Hub for new users*, while also inviting lenders to update their policies on the platform in real-time.

During these challenging times, we have also acted upon customer feedback to provide additional support through a platform to relay the truth of COVID-19’s impact on the industry across policy, product, and news, all from one source. With this in mind, on 20th April, we proudly announced the launch of a newly developed, bespoke solution in the form of the COVID-19 Support Hub on Criteria Hub.

Introducing our COVID-19 Support Hub on Criteria Hub

Our dedicated support hub contains easily accessible resources including:

  • Lenders Impact Page allowing you to access regularly updated information populated direct from the lenders themselves; and
  • COVID-19 News Portal displaying criteria, product, and industry news as it is released

The platform is open to everyone and provides a single source for mortgage industry updates at this time of uncertainty. However, fully registered Criteria Hub customers can also benefit from access to specific policy notes directly from lenders on the page, and from within Criteria Hub itself, to assist with customer advice at a time when clarity is more important than ever.

Criteria Hub remains free for at least 90 days to new users, enabling all advisers to take advantage of its latest features. Register today, and equip yourself with the knowledge to support your clients during these difficult times by visiting the Criteria Hub Support Hub or emailing sales@mortgage-brain.co.uk.

Any existing customers that would like to have a demonstration of the new functionality can email sales@mortgage-brain.co.uk to arrange a free online session.

* Please allow two working days to process applications

[1] https://www.mortgagesolutions.co.uk/

Source of Funds – Fighting the fraudsters

Mortgage Advisers face a balancing act when it comes to conveyancing. They want the process to be as smooth as possible for their clients so that latter enjoys a good customer experience (especially if they recommended the Solicitors). However, proving the source of funds, can become a sticking point.

Solicitors need to adhere to strict rules regarding money laundering and proving source of funds, and if the information isn’t readily available and clear, it can slow down a purchase for anyone.  

A failure to follow the rules could mean huge fines. And there’s a good reason for that. Money laundering and fraud is costly for UK businesses, citizens and the government. Costly to the tune of more than £100 billion a year, according to the National Crime Agency (NCA).

Take the case of Maria Michaela. She conned banks out of £13 million until she was arrested in January 2012. How did she do it? She would create a false identity, submit an offer for a house that was over the market value, then default on the mortgage. She did this multiple times.

Also, more recently in January 2020, the NCA took out a civil recovery order for £120,000 which was allegedly linked to Ulster loyalist paramilitary group, the UDA, in South East Antrim. Properties in this area were alleged by the NCA to have been bought with illegal proceeds such as mortgage fraud and money laundering.

Where there’s money, criminals and fraudsters will see an opportunity. So the mortgage industry is an obvious target. Research from fraud prevention service Cifas and WPI Economics in 2019 showed that in the first six months of that year mortgage application fraud by production of false documents rose by 14%. During the same period fraud by submitting altered documents rose by 32%.

Providing the proof

So, proving source of funds is a necessary burden for anyone purchasing a house and is a requirement by Solicitors in every case, in order to combat the bad boys and girls. Without proof of source, Solicitors can’t proceed and a purchase can grind to a halt.

Thankfully, there is a quick, convenient and secure way of getting this information to your Solicitor if you are using ConveyancingBrain. Just make sure that the documents are uploaded through the client’s account and there is no chance of vital documents getting lost in the post.

Imagine it, the crawl of snail mail that can take several days versus instant digital upload in seconds. And with no documents going missing. No more frustrating delays for anyone, just a nice smooth process that will help the Adviser receive more recommendations and more business. All whilst everyone is doing their bit to curb the fraudsters’ opportunity for criminal activity.

So, to help things along, all house purchasers need to understand (hopefully helped by their Adviser) that they can use any of the following to prove the source of their funds:

  • Savings – bank statements showing an accumulation of funds over the last six months.
  • Pension – a copy of a pension release document and a bank statement showing receipt from the pension company.
  • Sale of shares – a copy of the share release schedule and a copy of a bank statement showing money received from shares.
  • Sale of property – copy of a completion statement and copy of a bank statement showing money received from a Solicitor following the sale.
  • Inheritance – copy of a letter from executors stating the amount inherited and a bank statement showing the money being received.
  • Dividends from a UK company – copy of a divided certificate, a copy of the company’s accounts and a bank statement showing the money being received.
  • A Gift – a letter is required from the person making the gift. They will also need to prove the source of the funds.

And don’t forget, three-way communication between an Adviser, the client and the chosen Solicitor with ConveyancingBrain, creates a useful audit trail, saving time and reducing stress.

Sound interesting? Speak to us today on 0371 200 0655 or email support@conveyancingbrain.co.uk.

The changing shape of the UK mortgage market

What’s in store for the UK mortgage market in 2020? By the end of 2019, there was a boost in the number of buyers, sellers and house prices. With this optimistic end to the last decade, will this mean a bright future for the changing shape of the mortgage market?

Buy-to-let costs – high or low?

According to our latest BTL quarterly analysis from December 2019, there have been significant cost reductions over a three month period. Our CEO, Mark Lofthouse commented ‘there has been a continuous reduction in rates resulting in substantial price reductions particularly for five-year fixed rate products.’ But what does this mean for 2020?

Well, with the right specialist advice and support from brokers, landlords will be able to make the most of low rates in buy-to-let costs in 2020 and remain confident that they are getting the best mortgage to suit their needs.

BTL tenant demand to soar

Even in the wake of 2019’s general election and the ongoing progress in relation to Brexit, there appears to be a market lift in the BTL demand. Based on a survey by the Royal Institute for Chartered Surveyors (RICS), the number of buyer enquiries has drastically risen in January.

Based on figures from this survey, the data shows that:

  • Enquiries rose to a net balance +23% from the previous month’s +19%
  • Sales agreed gained an increase to +21% net balance.

The question is, how might these figures develop towards the end of the quarter and further into 2020?

Residential mortgages at a historic low

Based on our latest product data analysis, the UK mortgage market has seen some big cost reductions over 2019, particularly over the last five years. Based on this data, Mark Lofthouse also commented, ‘With mortgage costs down by up to 17.8% compared to January 2015, there are savings across the board that advisers are able to offer their customers. Mortgage costs remain at historic lows and forecasters are predicting that this will continue into 2020.’

Rising mortgage lending

It may come as no surprise that mortgage lending supports over 70% of housing transactions. One figure which may come as a surprise is that, according to UK Finance and Hometrack, gross mortgage lending has doubled to £268 billion between 2010 and 2020. Thanks to house price growth and rising sales, the new decade could see a continued rise in mortgage lending.

Increasing confidence

With so much to be positive about, one could argue a growing confidence in the mortgage industry during 2020. According to IMLA (Intermediary Mortgage Lenders Association), 93% of mortgage intermediaries were confident about the outlook for 2020. So when it comes to the changing shape of the UK mortgage market, we should remain optimistic.

If you’re looking to make your 2020 as successful as possible whether it be through mortgage product or criteria or affordability sourcing, multi-Lender mortgage submission or conveyancing referrals, get in touch with us today on www.mortgage-brain.co.uk or have a look at our plans to transform mortgage sourcing in 2020 here.

Love Your Customer campaign: sharing the love

February may be a short month but we know it’s going to be a big one!  We’re bringing back our favourite campaign – ‘Love Your Customer’ from last year, tying in closely with Valentine’s Day and celebrating the loyalty of our customers.

To get involved and understand more about what this fantastic campaign entails, read on and find out how we’re sharing our love customer loyalty.

The ‘Love Your Customer’ Charity Competition

Firstly, we will be running a competition from 3-13th February at 11:59 pm and the prize draw winner will be picked at random and announced on 14th February, Valentine’s Day!

You can take part in the prize draw by simply answering one multiple choice question. Then you will be automatically entered into a prize draw for £50 worth of Amazon or M&S vouchers.

With every entry made, Mortgage Brain will donate £5 to the winners’ charity of choice. The more people that take part the more money the charity receives. Don’t be afraid to share this with colleagues and friends and help spread the love.

On social media, we will be sharing the #LoveYourCustomer messages and promoting customers to share and take part in the competition to donate more money to charity. Our sales team will be visiting clients across the country throughout the month and gifting them with Thornton’s chocolates to say thank you for choosing Mortgage Brain. Check out all the activity using #LoveYourCustomer on Twitter and LinkedIn.

What more can you do for your customers?

It’s an important aspect of our culture to do the most that we can for customers. It’s important to us that you are aware of how you can use our software to support your customers compliantly, efficiently and transparently. Many of our solutions are aimed at our customer’s customer. For example, you can get the best results and inspire increased loyalty by using The Key’s Client Portal.

Customising the Client Portal to match your branding creates a professional look and feel, and will give not only an excellent first impression but a lasting impression too. Your customers want to know that they’re working with someone professional and reputable.

Using the Client Portal properly can save you up to an hour per case – and, with the average adviser completing six cases per week, that’s almost a whole day you’re saving!

It’s competitive out there, but with the right tools and by showing how much you care, you will always provide a better customer experience that you can be proud of. Whether you’re new to Mortgage Brain or a long-term customer, you all deserve a thank you because sharing is caring.

Enter our charity competition

Terms and conditions

Love Your Customer 2020

1. The closing date is midnight on 13th February 2020.

2. Only one guess per prize draw per entrant.

3. All prizes are subject to availability, and Mortgage Brain Ltd reserves the right to replace the prize with an alternative product of equal or higher value if necessary at the Promoter’s discretion. No cash alternative will be offered.

4. No purchase necessary.

5. This prize draw is only open to UK residents aged 18 years or over.

6. The winner will be selected at random after the closing date by an independent judge from all entries received. The judge’s decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into.

7. The winner will be notified by email or telephone (using the details provided at entry) within 6 weeks of the closing date. Following such notification, the winner will be required to send the Promoter full details of their postal address to which the Prize will be delivered (if applicable).

8. If the Promoter cannot: (i) contact the winner (via the details provided at the date of entry) within a reasonable period of time (to be established at the Promoter’s sole discretion); or (ii) the winner does not return details of their postal address to the Promoter within 14 days of notification that they have won the Prize, the Promoter reserves the right to re-draw a winner of the Promotion and thereafter until a winner on these terms is found.

9. Please allow 28 days for delivery of the prize. The Promoter accepts no responsibility for the prize being lost, damaged or delayed in the post.

10. Unless otherwise stated, the Promoter is Mortgage Brain Ltd, 6 The Courtyard, Buntsford Drive, Bromsgrove B60 3DJ. The details of the winner will be available six weeks after the closing date by sending a SAE to Mortgage Brain Survey Prize Draws at the above address.

11. Click here for our GDPR Privacy Policy

Love Your Customer campaign: sharing the love for customer loyalty

February may be a shorter month but we know it’s going to be a big one, as we’re bringing back our favourite campaign – #LoveYourCustomer for the second year, tying in with Valentine’s Day and celebrating everything ‘customer related’.

To get involved and understand more about what this fantastic campaign entails, read on.

Our ‘Love Your Customer’ Charity Competition

We will be running a simple multiple-choice competition from 3rd until 13th February at 11:59 pm. The winner will be picked at random and announced on 14th February, Valentine’s Day.

You can take part by simply answering a multiple choice question here. You will be automatically entered into our prize draw to potentially win £50 worth of Amazon or M&S vouchers.

With every entry made, Mortgage Brain will donate £5 to the winner’s charity of choice. The more people that take part the more money the charity receives. So please share the link to the competition: https://www.smartsurvey.co.uk/s/MortgageBrainLYC2020/  with colleagues and friends and help spread some cheer.

Gifts of Cheer

Our Corporate and Lender Account teams will be visiting our customers across the country throughout the month, gifting them with chocolates to say thank you for choosing Mortgage Brain and posting pictures on social media.  Our office-based support teams, Direct Sales and Customer Services team will also be taking part and spreading the cheer.

We will be sharing the #LoveYourCustomer messages across all our social media platforms Linkedin and Twitter, hoping to encourage competition entries and donate more money to charity.

What more can you do for your customers?

It’s an important aspect of our culture to do the most that we can for our customers. So it’s important that you can use our software to support your own customers compliantly, efficiently and transparently hence many of our solutions are created with your customer in mind. For example, you can get the best results and inspire increased loyalty by offering your customers the use of our CRM, The Key’s Client Portal.

You can customise the Client Portal to match your branding, creating a professional look and feel, which will give not only an excellent first impression of someone professional and reputable but a lasting one too.

Using the Client Portal properly can save you up to an hour per case – and, with the average adviser completing six cases per week, that’s almost a whole day you’re saving!

It’s competitive out there, but with the right tools and by offering your customers’ use of the best technology out there, you will always provide a customer experience that you can be proud of.

And finally, in the spirit of #LoveYourCustomer, whether you’re taking advantage of one of our 30-day trials, have just signed up or are a long-term customer, you all deserve a thank you because you ultimately make Mortgage Brain.

Enter our #Loveyourcustomer charity competition

Big plans for 2020

A year of integration

For mortgage advisers across the country, 2020 is set to be a momentous start to a new decade. How do we know? Because this year will kick start the integration of six of our software solutions enabling you to provide your clients with the very best and most transparent service ever.

Not only will we be bringing completely new mortgage products to you, but there will also be enhancements to our current systems. We hope you’ll agree that our plans will pack quite a punch and offer exceptional support to you and your business.

Affordability Hub – NEW

Affordability Hub is like Skyscanner for mortgage affordability – it collects information on property, income, debts and expenditure in a standard form and sends this to lender’s affordability calculators and collates the results of what a lender will potentially lend. This means that the expectations of an adviser’s customer can be correctly set.

It transforms the mortgage process by providing you with the amount a lender is prepared to lend, challenging the current process, where the lender only provides an agreement to lend based on a specific amount requested by the adviser. Affordability Hub provides you and your customer transparency of the amount of the loan that the lender is willing to lend regardless on occasion of the property value.

Currently, in a phased pilot, Affordability Hub will be released in 2020 as a complementary addition to customers already using either one of our product sourcing systems – MortgageBrain Classic and MortgageBrain Anywhere –  or criteria sourcing, Criteria Hub.

Criteria Hub

Criteria Hub, the google for mortgage criteria, uses groundbreaking technology to help you quickly and efficiently match the needs of your customers with those of the Lenders. For example, if a client was bankrupted three years ago, has Japanese knotweed in the garden or has child maintenance or state benefits, the system brings up which lenders will lend and what their criteria is. Criteria Hub also provides details of the criteria used by advisers to Lenders and, with this insight, Lenders are able to design and fine-tune their products to better meet adviser needs.

Those who use Criteria Hub will be the first to enjoy complimentary use of Affordability Hub when launched and in only a few months, Criteria Hub’s integration with MortgageBrain Classic andMortgageBrain Anywhere will be released.

 Lendex – NEW

Along with Affordability Hub, we are releasing another system in 2020, Lendex, now also in a phased pilot, promises to make mortgage application and submission more efficient and compliant in 2020. This flexible online solution means you get decisions direct from Lenders in under a minute.

There is no need to log into individual Lender websites. Lendex submits AIPs and FMAs directly to all participating Lenders’ back office systems with just one log-in needed, letting you submit and complete applications, then track all outstanding cases from one screen.

Just when you thought the release of this innovative software was enough, we’ve added even more integration. Lendex, when fully launched, will integrate seamlessly with Mortgage Brain’s CRM system, The Key, and with our sourcing solutions, MortgageBrain Classic and MortgageBrain Anywhere and will be free for Mortgage Brain users. However, Lendex will also be available as a stand-alone solution, so everyone can experience the benefits:

MortgageBrain Classic and MortgageBrain Anywhere

2020 really is the year of integration and MortgageBrain Classic and MortgageBrain Anywhere, our offline and online product sourcing solutions already integrated with The Key, and its client portal will also see an integration with Criteria Hub, Affordability Hub and Lendex.

Opening the door with The Key

We’re continuing to cement ourselves as the go-to one-stop shop for the entire mortgaging process. If you haven’t guessed already, integration of all our systems really is at the heart of it and we cannot finish without passing comment on our powerful back office., CRM and point of sale system with a customisable online Client PortalThe Key.

Incorporating a digital Fact Find that offers single data entry, full compliance, lead generation capture, reports and multiple integrations for the full mortgage process, in 2020, you will also enjoy integration enhancements with ConveyancingBrain – the clever way to earn from conveyancing. We’re not stopping there though. Following a successful pilot, the integration with Lendex will also commence.

You’ll be spoiled for choice of the solutions we have to offer. Get in contact with us today on 0208 665 3289 to see product demos before you sign up or to make any enquiry. If you need more of a guided tour of our products then feel free to sign up to a webinar or access all the free videos on our website.

Make sure you take full advantage of our free 30-day trials available with all licenced products, connect with our helpful colleagues and find out what these dynamic solutions can do for your business.

Gift your business with leads this Christmas

It can be tempting to start winding down in the lead up to Christmas, however, your business won’t thank you for it if you do. As tempting as it may be to check out for Christmas, there’s still plenty of work to be done, and also a plethora of leads that you can acquire!

Even when you’re not sitting in your office this Christmas, or in front of your computer screen, you can still be effective in generating leads. And no, it’s not magic – here are some tips to guide you through a Christmas period of productivity, even when you’re in front of the fire with a mince pie in hand – you’ve just got to put in some work before you can put your feet up!

Automation is here, bringing good cheer!

Live Chat applications continue to be a big hit in the digital world. They can offer you the great power to fully automate website processes. Chat bots are there to automatically engage with any messages you receive, again, meaning you don’t have to actually be there in person all the time.

Add a live chat to your website – you can even customise the message on each page of your website so that you can get people to ask specific questions based on what they’re seeing on that page – there will be a reason as to why they navigated there in the first place.

The bot can then gather the initial information from the customer, which can then be passed over to you or one of your team to provide the most adequate support. It also saves you from having conversations with people who may not be looking for exactly what you offer, which is why we have this on our website.

 Make tweaks to your homepage

Put yourself in the shoes of someone who has just landed on your website and ask yourself: is it clear what we do, is it clear what we can offer them, and have we made it easy for them to get in touch?

Take advantage of easy-to-use plug-ins, like the ones we offer, and position yourself as a credible and modern professional adviser. Our plug-ins ask only basic questions, which means visitors are more likely to fill in the form – an easy way to generate leads without having to have an initial conversation! Plus you’ll receive those leads encrypted (so no security issues) and if you use The Key, our compliance and CRM system, they’ll go directly into the system, so no rekeying.

UKMortgages

Wait, there’s more! Our guide to gaining more leads for Christmas would not be complete without yet another easy-to-use option – our very own UKMortgages! The completely free-to-use, lead generation suite is compiled of a consumer-facing mortgage calculator & adviser search app, a website and an Amazon Echo Skill. This state-of-the-art mortgage tool offers a fantastic way for customers to get in touch with your business at any time.

Set up advertising

If you’re happy to spend money on advertising, this is another great way to get leads without having to go out yourself to get them. There are plenty of different types of ads, so it’s important to know what platform will be the most benefit to your business – be it Google, Facebook or LinkedIn. A few questions that will help you make the right decision are as follows:

  • What platform your target audience is on?
  • Which products you could potentially sell to them?
  • What they’re interested in?
  • How you can address them to turn them into paying customers?

There are different types of ads depending on what your goal is and how far along the sales funnel the people you’re targeting are. You will want to run a mixture of brand awareness, consideration, and conversion ads – these can be set up to run even when you’re not in the office.

Upfront effort for some long-term returns

As you can see, you don’t have to be putting in the backbreaking effort every single day to increase your leads. You’ll have to spend a bit of time setting processes up and putting the wheels in motion initially. But, if done correctly, these processes can then run efficiently with little tweaking needed. This all means more time for you to spend with your family this festive season, and you can’t say no to that!

Wishing you a wonderful festive period and many hours with your feet up in front of the fire with a mince pie in hand.