Introducing: New Secure Client Portal within the Key

We are delighted to announce the launch of our new online Client Portal within the Key: a facility where you and your clients can communicate and exchange documents securely and easily.

The Client Portal is the first in a series of enhancements being made to the Key this year, and is a functionality we’ve designed in order to improve and enhance the user experience and the adviser-client relationship.

So, what is it?
The new Client Portal is a virtual environment developed within the Key that allows you and your clients to exchange documents securely, as well as communicate through a secure messaging service.

Put simply, the Client Portal offers a secure space for you and your clients to share information and documentation, all in one place.

What are the main benefits?
The new functionality will enhance your service and support to your client. It will give you greater control and transparency of your exchanges with each of your clients. For your customers, the Portal allows them to upload and send you the documentation you request securely as well as enabling them to the view current status of their ongoing cases with you, be it mortgages, insurance or other products.

The interface is clean, straightforward and intuitive for your customers to navigate making this exchange of information and communication during the property purchasing process less stressful.
The online portal is available your customers on a 24/7 basis, and can be accessed via computer, tablet or smartphone, giving them complete freedom of choice as to when and where they log in.

Client Portal

How does it work?
Each client record will need to be set up for online access individually, to ensure that you can easily control which clients can access the Portal. This means you won’t have to create any unnecessary client accounts. Our user guide gives you step-by-step instructions on to how to do this.

In addition, because the Client Portal links directly to the Key database, only one person can access the client record at any one time which ensures complete data integrity throughout the system.

And what about the messaging service?
This is the place where you and your client can exchange messages with regard to their records and cases. It provides you both with a single place to communicate in, without the need to switch between the system and your emails, as well as peace of mind, with the knowledge that the Portal is completely secure.

The most recent secure messages will be displayed on the Portal’s home screen for your client’s convenience. Furthermore, every time there is a new message, your clients will receive an email so that they don’t have to keep logging into the Portal unnecessarily.

Similarly, in the Key, your clients’ messages are stored in one place, under each client record, making it much more efficient for you to access specific information about the cases you might be working on.

What’s in it for me and my client?
Your clients will not only be able to view their data, but also edit and upload their own information. Once you have initially set their client record up and activated it on the Portal, your client will be able to upload their own documents and data, which eliminates the need to send sensitive personal information via email.

The Portal will also save you time. Because it is linked directly to the Key database, there is no need to re-enter any data you already have on file for your clients. It’s simple to use and lets you work more efficiently.

Interested in finding out more? Make sure you read our full user guide in our Help and training section.

If you don’t yet have the Key, download your 30-day free trial by clicking here.

Mortgage Brain’s Christmas Wishes

With only days left to go before Christmas comes around, our CEO Mark Lofthouse outlines his industry-focused present wish list for this year.

Wish 1: Superfast broadband – especially in the UK
In the fast broadband league, the UK sit at a disappointing 19th place, according to an article published in ISP Review in June this year. South Korea lead the way, with broadband a whole 15bps faster than us here in the UK. Mark notes: “We are supposed to be one of the richest nations in the world, with one of the most advanced economies, and yet our broadband speeds are lacking. Governments keep talking about how poor the speeds are, it’s time something was done about it.”

Wish 2: Instant rule changes
Wouldn’t it be amazing that if, whenever a new set of rule was brought in, they were actually put in place instantly? Those of a certain age will remember Samantha Stevens in Bewitched, all she had to do was twitch her nose and voilà! A change would occur instantly. It would be a simpler world if rules were implemented immediately and effortlessly.

Wish 3: Honest and straightforward Advisers
A problem with the financial services industry as a whole for this third wish, following Ipsos Mori’s Veracity Index 2016, outlined the level of trust the public has in each profession and bankers finished sixth bottom. I know that mortgage advisers aren’t bankers, but the financial services industry as a whole still has an image problem. My wish is that in 2017 the FCA doesn’t have to fine a single company. A simple wish, but one which would help the industry massively.

Wish 4: Advisers taking advantage of new markets
Although the mortgage industry is buoyant at present, it won’t always be this way. At some point, the mainstream mortgage market could slow down again… it’s important to diversify now, deliver a broader service to your clients and keep competition at bay.

The protection, second charge, conveyancing and general insurance markets are a number of areas that advisers should be talking to their clients about. There are opportunities out there so don’t wait until your bread and butter work has dried up to go looking for them and deliver a more complete service now.

Wish 5: Everyone taking a step back and calming down
A straightforward request for this Christmas, whatever side of the debate you’re on, our post-Brexit world has been an uncertain one, and the imminent arrival of President Trump hasn’t done much to calm things either. That’s why my final wish is that 2017 be a calmer year, with no more major financial or political upheavals. Is that too much to ask?

A very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from everyone here at Mortgage Brain. Let’s hope 2017 will be able to grant Mark his wishes.

Online Chat

The latter half of this year saw us enhance our customer support when we officially launched our online chat service for advisers.

Online chat provides a quick, free-of-charge way to talk to one of our Customer Services team, who are on hand to answer questions almost instantly. It means advisers have an extra way in which to contact us for support, which may on occasion suit them better than calling our existing customer services phone line.
Since its launch in June, our online chat system has helped over 1,480 advisers, and the numbers using the service appear to be increasing each month.

What does online chat offer?
Our online chat facility enables advisers to contact us for free via our website with any questions they may have, or for any assistance they require.

Our friendly Customer Services team help with a myriad of queries, from help with forgotten log in details, sales enquires, and any questions advisers might have with regards to all of our Mortgage Brain systems.

When is the service available?

Online chat is available during our normal Customer Services working hours, and from 10.00am on a Wednesday morning to allow for training.

When you visit our website, after a few seconds the online chat box will pop up at the bottom of your screen. Or you can initiate a chat yourself, by clicking on the top of the box with the ‘Can we help?’ button, appearing in the bottom right-hand corner of your screen.

Advisers are able to email themselves a transcript of their chat, ensuring that they have all details they need on file should they require similar assistance in the future.

Why did we decide to offer this service?
In a world where everything is instant, we want to ensure that we provide a service which is in keeping with the fast-paced environment we operate within.

The online chat facility is yet another way in which our customers can get in touch with us. It both complements and enhances our traditional helpline, and the online support in terms of guides and videos already available via our website.

Mark Lofthouse, our CEO, states: “The new online chat facility is part of Mortgage Brain’s proactive commitment to supporting advisers and providing excellent customer service.”

“I’m delighted that those who have already used the service have found it useful and continue to use it as an alternative to the traditional telephone service when it suits them better.”

To use our online chat service, please visit our website www.mortgage-brain.co.uk and let us help you!

Mark Lofthouse on the Importance of Client Retention

Last month, our CEO Mark Lofthouse had an excellent opinion piece published online. The column covered the importance of client retention, a significant area vital to mortgage brokers.

We’ve broken down the top points from Mark’s column so you can easily digest the important information that he covers.

Don’t ‘just sell mortgages’
Any adviser who just ‘sells mortgages’ isn’t doing their job as well as they could. Mark explains that a role of a mortgage adviser extends far beyond simply advising and selling mortgages.
They must value each customer as an individual, and treat him or her as such. He says: “It is critical that the needs of the customer are met and the review and advice process should look at the customer’s overall needs and not just their mortgages.”

This will in turn increase your income.
Mark goes on to say that, if you acknowledge the individual needs of each customer, you are more likely to receive a lifetime of recurring business. On the reverse, you may be missing out on a great sum of income because you’re not paying due care and attention to your customers.

Provide a broader service.
Following on, Mark advises that, although we don’t want to be selling customers things they don’t want or need, offering extra services to them is beneficial, as if the client sees the services as good value, “they’ll be pleased you’ve taken the trouble to give them that extra level of service,” thus leading to recommendations to friends and family.

Regular contact is paramount.
Don’t just contact your clients when they are due a remortgage. It is vital that your customers stay in your thoughts as often as possible, and finding out more about them means you will be able to offer them further services in the future.

Mark states: “Finding out more about clients’ financial affairs also gives you a reason to stay in touch, either as a courtesy call every so often or when one of their products is due for renewal.”

Keep on top of the industry.
Mark’s closing points underline the importance of keeping abreast of the constant changes in the market. He outlines a myriad of knowledge about each customer you need to know, such as “knowledge of the prevailing provider service levels, what clients enquired about last time you saw them, awareness of their financial situation, and if you know them well, where they went on holiday or what their children are up to.”

But you can’t store this in your own head! To keep all this vital information, and to ensure you are organised, Mark emphasises the importance of using up-to-date front and back office technology, which everyone has at their disposal and should be taking advantage of, for example, our CRM system, the Key.

Follow Mark’s tips to become a better asset for your clients, and remember that “advising on more than just mortgages might take you out of your comfort zone, but the rewards to you and your clients are well worth it.”

If you would like to read the column in full, you can do so by clicking here.

Mortgage Vision 2016

2016’s Mortgage Vision events are drawing ever closer, and this year we are aiming to deliver even bigger and better events to all brokers who attend.

Starting from the 5th October, we’ll be travelling up and down the country, bringing you industry insights, information, and current and future opportunities within the UK mortgage market.

This year, we’ll also have a new Mortgage Vision app, which will enhance the overall adviser experience at all eight of our venues.

What is Mortgage Vision?
For those who are unaware, Mortgage Vision is a series of free-to-attend, annual events, organised and hosted by Mortgage Brain.

The events give attendees the chance to meet industry distributors and decision-makers, with headline speakers and our roundtable sessions ensuring all intermediaries who attend the events gain knowledge, which will help them improve their service and potentially bring in revenue for their business.

Of the events, Mortgage Brain’s CEO, Mark Lofthouse, said:

“With over 800 advisers attending in 2015, the Mortgage Vision events have gone from strength to strength and are considered to be one of the best and most informative mortgage events of the year. “The market is constantly changing, and we believe the Mortgage Vision events offer advisers the best platform to keep abreast of new challenges, make the most of

“The market is constantly changing, and we believe the Mortgage Vision events offer advisers the best platform to keep abreast of new challenges, make the most of new opportunities and learn from senior figures in the industry.”

Where can you find us?
There are eight Mortgage Vision events, which will take us all over the country.

We will begin on 5th October at Winchester’s Norton Park, before going to Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium in London (11th October), Aston Villa Football Club in Birmingham (13th October), and then Lancashire Cricket Club in Manchester (18th October).

In November, we’ll be travelling to Twickenham Stadium in London (2nd November), Newport’s Celtic Manor Resort (9th November), Oulton Hall in Leeds (15th November), before heading up to Newcastle’s Gateshead Marriott for our final event on the 16th November.

Who are the headline speakers?
We have some fantastic platform speakers who will be 2016’s Mortgage Vision events: The Association of Mortgage Intermediaries (AMI), Nationwide and The Mortgage Works, as well as our CEO Mark Lofthouse speaking on behalf of Mortgage Brain.

Robert Sinclair from AMI’s presentation entitled ‘Sharing our Worry Beads’ will be focusing on their latest discussions with the Regulator, the FCA, commenting on the forthcoming Mortgage Market Competition Review and Financial Advice Market Review plus explaining in more detail the FCA fees.

Nationwide/The Mortgage Works’ Adrian Scoates’ presentation ‘The Market, The Landlord, and The Taxman’ will be presenting about the current state of the Housing Market, Economy and BTL market and the implications of the changing tax regime.

And finally, our Mark Lofthouse will be speaking about ‘The Future of Technology? What about now?’ explain what does Robo and Digital Advice actually mean and what and how does it impact you and your relationship with current and potential clients?

Who will be presenting the roundtable sessions?
There will be ten exclusive roundtable sessions throughout the day. Whilst you remain seated presenters will take it in turns to arrive at your table and deliver their fifteen-minute session, before they move onto the next.

We have a whole host of excellent presenters this year for our roundtable sessions. They include: Aldermore, Clydesdale Bank, ConveyancingBrain, Fluent for Advisers, iPipeline, Mortgage Brain, Nationwide, Royal London, Santander, Skipton Intermediaries and The Mortgage Works.

You will get to see five roundtable speakers before we break for refreshments, with the other five afterwards.

What does the Mortgage Vision App offer?
Our app is a new addition to Mortgage Vision events, and it will be available to everyone who registers for our half-day events.

The app will provide information and biographies on all event speakers and their presentations, as well as locations, parking details, and the all important event agenda so you know exactly what is going on and when.

What else can I expect from the events?
Attending a Mortgage Vision event will allow you to claim 3.5 CPD hours towards the CII member CPD scheme. This will be emailed to you after you have attended the event.

There will also be plenty of opportunities throughout the morning to network with other brokers, as well as a free lunch at the end of the day.

Each of the eight events begins with registration from 8.45am, with Platform Presentations starting promptly at 9:30am and we aim to finish between 1.45pm and 2pm followed by a free lunch.

We are aiming to make 2016’s events even bigger and better than the previous years, so make sure you join us to understand the further changes that are on the Horizon and how they will Impact you.

For more information, and to reserve your place at a Mortgage Vision event in your city, visit our website today.

Summer Madness at ConveyancingBrain

Introducing Summer Madness: our fantastic loyalty programme over at ConveyancingBrain, which rewards all users of the system with some great prizes.

The programme is our way of saying thanks to those who are using ConveyancingBrain, by offering vouchers for cases that are instructed and then complete, excluding the very first case each month to make it a bit of a challenge.

It started at the beginning of July, and since then plenty of advisors have been taking advantage of this brilliant initiative. So how do you get involved?

It’s really simple.
All you have to do is instruct your first case on ConveyancingBrain, and for all your following cases you can receive £15 worth of Amazon Vouchers.

Your case must complete before you receive your vouchers, but there is no limit on the number of cases you can instruct and complete – so go wild! One advisor did just that: instructing eight cases and earning themselves £105 worth of vouchers in the process.

How does it work?
The counter restarts at the beginning of each month, and your first instructed case each month doesn’t qualify, but every subsequent case does.

Once you have instructed and your second case has completed, just go onto the CB website and enter the details in the competition form and you’ll receive your £15 Amazon voucher. You can then earn an additional £15 voucher for each case thereafter. The number of cases is unlimited, and as long as they complete.

House purchases, as we know and many have experienced, can take a long time. So even if doesn’t complete until June 2017, you can still claim your voucher.

And although you don’t get a voucher for instructing your first case in the Summer Madness campaign, every new customer to ConveyancingBrain, chooses between a nice bottle of wine and a box of chocolates upon instruction of their very first case.

How long have I got?
We’re running our Summer Madness campaign until the end of September, so you still have just under a month to earn some vouchers – alongside your normal commission, of course.

Once you have instructed and completed a case, simply head over to our website and enter the case ID in the form to claim your vouchers. It’s as simple as that.

Remember: this fantastic offer finishes at the end of September and applies to cases that are instructed in July, August and September, which complete before June 2017.

So what are you waiting for? Use ConveyancingBrain today and get started on your voucher quest. How many will you earn?

Summer Madness at ConveyancingBrain

Mortgage Brain Ireland

Did you know that Mortgage Brain doesn’t just operate in the UK? In 2003, we branched out to the Republic of Ireland, launching a mortgage solution system for Irish brokers, lenders and consumers.

Who is Mortgage Brain Ireland?
Mortgage Brain Ireland has held the exclusive distribution licence for our software in the Republic of Ireland for over a decade. Just like Mortgage Brain, our Irish counterparts are the leading providers of mortgage software, with many individual advisers and broker companies currently using the software. They have also created Ireland’s first free mortgage comparison and calculator app: IrishMortgages. This is equivalent to the UK app UKMortgages.

What is the IrishMortgages app?
The app was launched last year, and is the first free mortgage comparison app in Ireland, having been used over 30,000 times by Irish consumers in the past year. It allows users to explore various mortgage and affordability options throughout the country. The app also enables users to find a qualified Irish broker to assist with the process.

It incorporates a mortgage calculator, which is able to determine the cost of a mortgage per month, the deposit size, and the income an individual will need for this size mortgage.

IrishMortgages then calculates how much someone can borrow, based on the latest Central Bank lending rules, which are updated daily. The app also keeps a clear record of all searches done, which is a handy comparison and tracking tool for consumers.

How can an app like this help?
The mortgage app is particularly useful in Ireland as there is a national problem with individuals not understanding mortgages correctly.

Research has found that almost seven out of ten people in Ireland don’t know how much interest they will pay their lender over the lifespan of their mortgage. This highlights the need for the work being done by Mortgage Brain Ireland to teach and inform consumers.

What else does Mortgage Brain Ireland offer?
Just like Mortgage Brain in the UK, Mortgage Brain Ireland offers Mortgage Trading Exchange (MTE), which speeds up the mortgage application process considerably.

The MTE software permits brokers to trade electronically, allowing them to send, track and view applications and documents online. This eliminates the need for paper, thus enabling the process to be a lot smoother.

The Association of Expert Mortgage Advisors (AEMA) has also recently adopted Mortgage Brain Ireland. AEMA account for almost 50 percent of mortgage broker business in Ireland and are implementing MTE from Mortgage Brain in their move to an electronic mortgage-trading platform.

Lenders only need to integrate MTE once into their back office – there’s no need to build and maintain multiple bridges to systems from different broking firms. This saves both time and money.

What is the overall goal for the company?
Mortgage Brain Ireland estimates that, over the next four years, the industry could save €12 million in both cost savings and productivity, so long as both brokers and lenders adopt this standard electronic mortgage trading platform.
Therefore, the end goal for Mortgage Brain Ireland is to make the mortgage application process digital and establish a common trading platform for the industry as a whole.

As previously mentioned, research has shown that consumers in Ireland are not completely clear when it comes to mortgages and the process it entails. Mortgage Brian Ireland is aiming to provide support and information in order to educate consumers, ensuring they are as informed as they can be about the mortgage process and know exactly what they need to do.

Technology in the Mortgage Market

It’s been thirty years since we first introduced our mortgage software to the market, and it has been a vital tool which has revolutionised the industry in terms of technology ever since.

Technology is constantly evolving in its nature, but its particularly interesting to see it used so much in an industry that has, for the most, part stuck to what it knew best and not ventured into unknown territory.

But where can it go from here? And will the mortgage industry be as happy to welcome yet more changes?

Thankfully, we can hope that, because it has become accustomed to new technology before, the industry will be more likely to welcome future technological developments.

Where did it begin?
In 1986, we introduced the first ever piece of mortgage software, but with some drawbacks due to technology itself still evolving into the type of system we needed for it to really take off.

Fast-forward to 2004 and M-Day, which propelled the mortgage industry forward in terms of technological advancements. It revolutionised the way brokers worked, however, the sceptics were out in force: asking how the existing mortgage systems would cope with new demands.

As we know, it did more than just cope, leaving the mortgage industry and the brokers working within it a bit happier about the idea of using technology in their line of work.

But where are we now?
After M-Day, technological advancements took a giant leap; it allowed us, and other mortgage solution suppliers, to create systems which were faster working, easier to use and up to date – waiting times became a thing of the past, and the client became more involved with the introduction of social media, apps and bigger and better websites.

And what do we predict for the future?
Technology is a hard one to predict: faster software, holograms, robots – who knows?!

It does seem that as time goes on, the industry is more accepting, and welcoming, of technological advancements, especially if it makes their job smoother, quicker and easier – as that usually means more business too!

Following on from M-Day, and 2014’s Mortgage Market Review, this year’s Mortgage Credit Directive requirements have enforced more change in the market.

In five years’ time, we think there will have been various advancements, including:

– More systems integration
– Integrating the tablet more
– Remote video – Skyping your broker!
– The (further) rise of Apps

After that, who knows! Technological advancements mean that exciting times are ahead for the industry, and for MortgageBrain too. We can’t wait to see what the future has in store – even if it is robots!

ConveyancingBrain

Introducing ConveyancingBrain – the efficient and smart way for mortgage brokers to earn money from conveyancing!

The market has changed dramatically over the past few years, with 2014 research conducted by YouGov showing that 4 out of 10 customers want access to conveyancing services online.
That’s one of the many reasons why we decided to create ConveyancingBrain; a customer-focused system offered solely for mortgage brokers. It helps customers find a solicitor, that your recommended lender accepts, and who also offers good value for money.

Why conveyancing?
It is proven that the shorter the transaction time, the more likely a property purchase – and therefore a mortgage application – will go through. ConveyancingBrain is an efficient, safe and trusted system that allows for a swift process from beginning to end.
The system is available free of charge, and features a simple registration process offering instant access to conveyancing quotes and ongoing cases.

How does it work?

You can register as a new user on the website in a matter of minutes and begin straight away. You only need to log in once, and you then remain signed in, and can use your account to carry out a variety of different actions, including:
– Generating quotes
– Viewing and saving quotes
– Accessing case progress reports
– Setting default referral fees
– Adding and amending account and bank details
– Viewing all the solicitors on our panel
– Viewing your payment history
– Viewing all messages sent to and received from your clients.

Your customers are able to choose a solicitor according to geography, price and customer satisfaction results. All our solicitors hold Conveyancing Quality Scheme (CQS) accreditations, as well as all being tailored to lender panels.

What are the benefits?
You can earn up to £300 per case, with ten cases a month at a referral fee of £150 each earning you £18,000 a year. The broker fees are also paid directly to you, and you can alter your referral fees on a case-by-case basis.

We offer constant support with any questions and queries you may have, both online and over the phone. In addition, we run free ten-minute webinar sessions every Friday to learn more about how to earn from conveyancing.

You also get a free ConveyancingBrain plug-in for your website in order for you to attract more customers. The plug-in is designed to allow potential clients to obtain quotes, and instruct a conveyancer directly without any intervention from you.

Why ConveyancingBrain?
During the first few months of its general release, over 500 brokers and financial advisors signed up to ConveyancingBrain and began to reap its benefits.

Around 50 brokers per week are now signing up to the new system, which offers brokers a safe and trusted process by which they can earn additional income in a safe, secure and effective way.

For more information about ConveyancingBrain, and to register and begin earning money today, please visit our website at www.conveyancingbrain.co.uk.

Alternatively, you can contact us directly by calling 0371 200 0655 or by emailing info@conveyancingbrain.co.uk.

Mortgage Brain and MCD

Mortgage Brain and MCD

It goes without saying that the new Mortgage Credit Directive (MCD) rules have caused yet another shake up in the mortgage industry, coming into force on 21st March 2016. Ultimately, it means changes to the familiar KFI, and BTL products etc. and also massive change for Advisers as Second Charge mortgages become regulated and part of the advisory process.

We’ve spent many months since the original announcements, working with Lenders and pouring over the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) commentary and documentation to ensure that Mortgage Brain systems can accommodate all the new requirements of MCD for both Lenders and Advisers alike.

We are yet again one step ahead of our competitors; having adjusted, enhanced and enriched our systems well before March 21st. Our main focus continues to be to support all our customers with any required changes to any element of the sales process whether due to regulation or improved usability or functionality.

So how has Mortgage Brain enhanced their systems?

Mortgage Brain’s market leading mortgage sourcing systems, MortgageBrain Classic and MortgageBrain Anywhere, feature a number of new enhancements and capabilities that fulfill regulatory changes for both our customers and Lenders.

Our sourcing systems now offer Advisers the choice to produce either the new ESIS illustration as required by the MCD European Directive or the updated new KFI documentation for each mortgage product. Elect to receive either an ESIS, KFI or simply the documents (ESIS or new KFI) required by the Lender, in your settings and the default illustration will be shown on the screen for all sourced products. Other enhancements include filters for Foreign Currency mortgages, Consumer BTL products, re-mortgage registration fees and a historic Annual Percentage Rate Charge (APRC) capability.

For a full understanding of the MCD changes to our products, please visit the website www.mortgage-brain.co.uk and go the Help and Support section.

What else have Mortgage Brain done?

We have also launched a free second charge loan sourcing system called LoansBrain www.loansbrain.co.uk. It is a new, whole-of-market, secured loan-sourcing website, that is FREE. It enables Advisers to source a range of products from the UKs leading secured loan Lenders and either forward the client’s details direct to a Master Broker or simply refer.

To further help Advisers to manage all aspects of their mortgage advice, sales and compliance process in light of MCD, MortgageBrain has also enhanced its point-of-sale, compliance and CRM system, the Key.

What does Mortgage Brain have to say about all this?

Mark Lofthouse, CEO of Mortgage Brain, comments, “The roll-out programme for our new MCD ready systems has been underway for some time now and we’re delighted that all our systems are ready and available in advance of the implementation of the Mortgage Credit Directive. The new enhancements we’ve made to our sourcing and point-of-sale systems are a result of our continuous investment programme and further demonstrate our commitment to delivering the best technology for brokers.”

What’s the bottom line?

It’s safe to say that, we continue to enhance and develop our systems to ensure that we offer all our customers the very best in mortgage technology solutions!