By Mark Lofthouse, Chief executive officer, Mortgage Brain
Mortgage technology has come a long way in a short time. After many years when it trailed other sectors of the financial services industry such as life and pensions, the mortgage industry is now leading the way when it comes to embracing, adopting, implementing and securing real and tangible benefits from technology.
Like so many high-tech ways of doing business, when mortgage technology was first introduced it was greeted with a certain amount of scepticism. Now, the industry simply couldn’t do without it.
For 2012, we can expect continued improvements in existing technology and greater adoption, as well as a few innovations.
But first, let’s look at existing technology – point-of-sale and client relationship management systems have already become one of the most important technological aids for brokers.
Not only do they help to streamline lengthy sales and admin processes, and enable brokers to increase their sales and customer retention and minimise the time spent on back office duties, but they can also help with an increasingly tough regulatory regime.
Financial services are very much in the public eye at the moment, and Treating Customers Fairly and other compliance requirements will be vigorously enforced in 2012.
To meet these needs, these systems will continue to be enhanced and developed to help brokers stay on the right side of the Financial Services Authority and up their turnover.
2012 will also see an increase in systems’ integration between service and product providers. This has already begun, but over the next 12 months it will be developed further to create an even faster and slicker support service for brokers.
At the moment, lots of different platforms and systems are used independently and even where integrations exist surprisingly many aren’t used. 2012 will see us move towards a situation where more and more systems are integrated and interlinked.
But probably the most exciting development of the next 12 months, will be in the field of fast moving mobile apps and hand held technology.
Consumers are demanding to do more and more on the go and while many in the industry are launching apps which customers can use to source financial products and services, including mortgages the majority are content light.
We announced at the Mortgage Expo in November that we would be launching a consumer facing mobile app early in 2012.
The app has been developed with brokers in mind and will allow consumers to conduct high level mortgage searches – of intermediary products only – use a range of mortgage calculators, and then, through the Find a Broker feature, use GPS to show the ten nearest brokers. Participation is free to all brokers that use Mortgage Brain and leads are sent through free of charge.
In short, 2012 looks set to be another big year for mortgage technology – brokers will benefit from it and customers are demanding it.
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