Conveyancing and technology: how the two go hand in hand

The conveyancing market is booming. Proactivity levels have soared by 69% in the past four years, according to data released in July by Search Acumen, even with 11 per cent less conveyancers currently in the market. It’s becoming ever more imperative that those of us still working in the industry can cope with a heavier workload, and continue to make it a success.

As the amount of technology on offer increases, its use in different sectors grows at the same time. Technology in the conveyancing industry has improved as of late, with the rise in technology overall playing its part in enabling conveyancers to not only keep on top of their cases, but to ensure they are completed efficiently and to a high standard.

Conveyancers are, on average, now completing an extra case per week, and technology can be thanked for having a large part in this success. It can be said to be helping improve efficiency, enhancing due diligence and streamlining the processes that must be completed in the conveyancing process. But do you know everything that’s on offer to you to ensure your conveyancing career is a successful one? 

Technology and communication

Communication is incredibly important if you want the conveyancing process to run as smoothly as possible. ConveyancingBrain’s Case Tracking Guide provides an overview of the perfect method of three-way communication, between you, your client and the chosen Solicitor. The ConveyancingBrain team is also able to join in the conversation to move things along, so it can be a four-way conversation if need be.

One of the beauties of the messaging element of the case tracking is that you can also choose whether all parties or just some can see each message. On occasion it may be prudent to simply converse directly with the Solicitor without the need for the Client to view that message, thereby giving you greater control of the communication.

The Purchase Progress log on the case tracking system also shows what stage the case is currently at and helps provide confidence and information as to what activity the Solicitor is undertaking.

With all communication in one place and made simple, you can keep up with your growing workload whilst not compromising on service. The guide explains how to track your cases efficiently, with the system allowing everyone to see case updates 24/7 and alerting all parties when there is an update, request or advance in the case.

Regular updates

The brilliant thing about technology is that it means processes are now instant, and updates more frequent. ConveyancingBrain are committed to making regular updates to the system to make things easier to use and processes more simple to follow, giving you the tools you need to obtain a quote quick and easily, instruct a solicitor and complete a case.

tracking

Automated emails and text messages (if chosen) are sent whenever a Solicitor adds a note to the Case Notes section of any ongoing cases, saving plenty of time as it means you don’t even have to log in to check your messages.

Technology also makes it easier to take on customer feedback and implement any changes to make the user journey a better and smoother one.

One change ConveyancingBrain made recently was making it possible for you to choose whether to disclose the Solicitor’s name on the quote you provide to your client. Technology allows you to choose from different options to make everyone’s conveyancing experience better.

Opportunity for more

With technology comes the ability to offer more for your customers, with the advantages for online offerings ever increasing. Downloadable guides are a handy ConveyancingBrain offering that you can use to offer additional support to your clients.

Whether it’s sharing the 10 Steps to Conveyancing with your client to help them understand the process, information to sell conveyancing to clients, or guides to help you to make the most of the system, there are plenty of free information available to ensure both you and your clients are well equipped to understand the conveyancing process.

Technology is all about making things easier

When it comes to your job, the more streamlined processes are and the easier a system is, the more likely you are to succeed. Coping with an increasing workload sounds difficult, but when you use systems at your disposal, life is made much easier.

Open All Hours – top tips for Advisers on how to win more clients (without working harder)

Whilst we all know that success comes from hard work (and perhaps a bit of luck) we also know that working smarter is often key too. However, despite this ‘always-on’ digital world that we now live in, it can often seem impossible to switch off without losing an opportunity.  So what if your business could carry on working hard for you, even when you have signed off for the day? With research showing that 85% of shoppers research online before buying* it is imperative that you are ‘open all hours’ for business to win new clients.  Online at least.

Here are our top tips on how to gain more customers, even when you are officially ‘Out of Office’.

Work smarter, not harder

Consumers today look to investigate and research when looking to make any purchase and it is no different with mortgages. With increasingly busy lives, they will typically do their research at a time to suit them – so to capture their interest, you need to ensure your website and your social channels are working even when you aren’t.

By adding interactive information and research tools such as a Mortgage Search plug-in or a Best Buy Table onto your website, users at least have an option to submit an enquiry to you, rather than simply be an uninspired visitor.

Your social channels are also live 24/7 so ensure that they carry on working for you after hours. Take the time to add content that is relevant, current and recent – there are tools, such as Buffer and Hootsuite, to help you schedule social media posts that can be published at times when your potential clients are more likely to be active (and you have switched off for the evening).

 

Get recommended

An influencer engagement survey found that over 90% of consumer’s trust recommendations from friends and family more than any other form of marketing, and 70% said they trusted consumer opinions posted online.

Provide an excellent and honest service that brings results for your clients, and they are far more likely to recommend you to family and friends.

Why not take the plunge and ask your clients to provide written recommendations that you can add to the content on your website or post on social media. These short recommendations will continue to work for you for many months to come and speak volumes about you and your services.

 

Achieve 5-star reviews

As well as recommendations, you could also ask clients to review your services – the trick is to make the process simple and easy to do so. You could send them a follow-up email thanking them for their business and at the same time ask them to provide a review? There are several ways of doing this:

  1. Reviews given on your Google Listing not only appear on your Google Business Page (easy to set up if you don’t have one) but they also appear against your business record in Google searches:

Ask for reviews on your Facebook page if you have one. Look at this recent search for ‘mortgage adviser’ – which one would you select? A customer will probably consider locality and take note of the star rating and may potentially make a choice based on the highest ratings and/or number of reviews.

  1. On receipt of unprompted feedback or thanks from a client, ask if you can publish what they have written. Most people are delighted to see their name and words ‘in print’.

facebook reviews

Prove your brilliance

As good as customer reviews, testimonials and recommendations can be, many potential clients will also be interested in what you have done for other people in similar situations. Including case studies on your website can open your business up to more clients, as you not only tell them how good other people think your service is, but it also helps to explain exactly how you have solved challenges and issues that may have arisen during the process.

You don’t need to use any names in the case studies, just explain clearly and concisely exactly what the problem was or what situation the client came to you with, what you did to get them the best deal and what the successful outcome was. It provides yet more evidence as to why people should choose you as their Adviser.

 

Perfect your pitch

When a potential client does find you, providing them solid advice there and then will help them to conclude that you are the Adviser for them! Show your expertise, share your knowledge and give them all they need to come to an informed decision.

All clients are different, and as you know will have a varied amount of knowledge about the mortgage process and the advice available. So as long as you use your experience to make them feel comfortable talking to you and putting their trust in you, growing your client base should become second nature.

 

Use technology to your advantage

An ever-growing client base requires management and consistency. Taking advantage of technology to store all your client’s data securely and reduce paper-work to a minimum will save time, both for you and for your client.  Your client will expect you to have the latest information at your figure tips to provide information on products relevant to them and their situation, so be ready to do.

Clients will also be relying on your efficiency, and using mortgage technology can enable you to demonstrate that you are indeed very capable, whilst you remain compliant throughout the whole mortgage advice process. It will also save time with limited need for paperwork as your records are largely entered online.

However, with 65% of consumers citing a fear of their personal information being hacked, you need to demonstrate that your clients’ data is both secure and protected – at all times. If you use a secure system such as the Key, not only will you be able to manage the whole sales process compliantly and with little effort, the associated Client Portal will allow both you and your client to securely message and exchange documents. Not forgetting you can now present an online Fact Find form to your client which they can complete at their leisure, and you have no need to re-key the information as it synchs seamlessly back to the Key.

laptop

Get out there!

So now you have set up your website and social channels to showcase your business and handle incoming enquiries (pull marketing), you may still need to get out there and promote yourself (push marketing). It doesn’t take long to craft an email to send to your database of potential customers. Let your prospects know you are open for business, send them your latest review or recommendation and perhaps provide news of a new fixed rate product, not forgetting to highlight your relevant services. With £35bn of mortgage loans expiring in the next 2 months+ there is huge potential to grab a slice of the market.

Spending time on expanding your presence both online and offline holds the key to obtaining more clients – even when you are ‘out of office’.

We do hope these tips will help to ensure your business is ‘Open all Hours’ – without working even harder than you already do.  Good luck!

 

Sources:

+ CACI

*Retailing Today

◊ PwC, Total Retail 2017

Social Media for Advisers

Social media for advisers – where to start?

Research shows that £145Bn worth of mortgages were granted in 2016* but with new mortgage brokers setting up every week you need to be able to protect, and indeed grow, your own market share. You can gain instant access to 1000s of buyers using social media, but where do you start? Or how do you maximise your time online to the best effect? In this article, we explore how social media can give you that competitive edge.

Why use social media?

Being part of a social media community immediately opens up opportunities to expand your audience, communicate within the industry and engage with potential clients. It can help you:

  • Keep abreast of the latest news and developments in the mortgage market
  • Promote your business and communicate with potential clients
  • Network with fellow brokers and connect with Lenders
  • Link in with industry influencers who may open doors for you

As we mentioned in our previous blog, your website acts as your shop window. Social media goes further – it provides more channels and opportunities to promote your business, as well as directing readers to your own website. With each and every social media channel you can easily connect, engage and discuss with all those who are important to you. You can promote your business through your social profile(s) to help attract new clients. By posting engaging, relevant content and promoting your profiles to others, you can help boost your reputation and recognition amongst your target audience.

You can promote your business through your social profile(s) to help attract new clients. By posting engaging, relevant content and promoting your profiles to others, you can help boost your reputation and recognition amongst your target audience.

Social media platforms allow you to network with fellow brokers, start a conversation about a current topic and discuss more general, light-hearted subjects. Ultimately, social media gives you the possibility to grow a network of contacts you can connect and potentially work with in the future.

Using social media

Which platforms should you use?

From Facebook to Pinterest and YouTube, the myriad of channels can be overwhelming making it hard to know which one/s to focus on.  However, you don’t have to use them all. Don’t overstretch yourself and focus your efforts on perhaps just one platform to start with. This will ensure the quality of your messages remains of a high standard and you are able to post regularly.

TOP TIP: Do NOT attempt to use more than three channels when starting out on social media. Perhaps start with one and build from there.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn is a prime platform for brokers to find and network with like-minded peers. It is traditionally a professional network, where discussions tend to centre on industry-related subjects. This means that most of your connections are likely to be people you work with and other industry contacts you may know, for example, people you have met at events or conferences. You can also join groups about topics you’re interested in or to connect with like-minded people, such as the Mortgage Brain group or Mortgage Brokers UK.

You can create a personal profile as well as a company page for your business to post your own content and updates to promote your services.

Twitter

The main benefit of Twitter is that it is an open network. While LinkedIn and Facebook both have closed networks whereby you must connect with, ‘like’ or ‘follow’ someone in order for them to see your content, Twitter is open to everyone.

Unless your account is on a private setting, people can see your tweets and get involved in discussions, especially if you use hashtags. This is an excellent technique to increase brand awareness and to spread the word about your business.  Don’t use more than a couple of hashtags in any one tweet thought, otherwise it could look like spam.  Again, you can set up your profile to be personal – or create one for your business.

TOP TIP: Practice at writing short posts as Twitter only allows 140 characters, including any relevant links or tags.  For example: Radical new proposals to cut out unfair abuses of leasehold have been announced by the government this week:  buff.ly/2uBapHo   (132 characters)

Facebook

Your personal Facebook profile with party and children photos won’t get you far in the mortgage world, so for business promotion, it is a good idea to create a Facebook company page to act as the hub of your marketing on this channel.

Like many other social channels, Facebook allows you to schedule content to be posted directly onto your page and reach out to your target audience with the use of promoted posts. It is a tool primarily for businesses to use, and it can help you with lead generation.

TOP TIP: Ensure you set up the right sort of page for your business – Facebook guides you through the process and has a great help centre should you need it.

Business or pleasure?

If you have your own business and are looking to grow your client base, it’s best to first focus on creating company pages for Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. You can share similar content across all three sites whilst ensuring you reach a variety of audiences since different people use different networks. This simple step ensures you are promoting your business, rather than your social activities.

TOP TIP: Check your organisation’s policy to ensure you stay within their guidelines (if applicable). It may include hints and tips to get you started.

If you work for a larger company and would like to expand your industry presence as an individual, you can start off with a Twitter account and a LinkedIn profile. You can get involved in discussions on Twitter and tweet from meetings or events to get involved in conversation with fellow brokers. Start building connections with colleagues on LinkedIn and explore any groups you can join to meet new people to network online with.

Use social media to your advantage

Using social media wisely can help grow your business and your network of trusted contacts and specialists. Show yourself to be an expert in your field and you are likely to earn the trust and respect of your audience. You should share interesting, unique content that adds value to your followers, reminding yourself that it’s quality, not quantity that counts. Dedicate sufficient time to build an audience on each network – and remember not to spread yourself too thin. Good luck!

*Source: Building Societies Association

My Mortgage Brain Experience: Katie M

As part of my Year 10 work experience programme, I was kindly offered a placement at Mortgage Brain where I spent a week with the marketing team, learning about what the company does in a broad sense, as well as the individual roles and responsibilities of the team. It was my first experience of a business environment, so it was interesting for me to see how everything works and how my original perceptions of an “office life” were so far from the truth!

I was given a basic outline of what the company does in which I learned about broker/customer/lender relations and roles, the different departments and their roles within the company. I also learnt about the different products the company offers and what each one provides. This was when I realised how little I actually knew about mortgages and how difficult it was for an outsider to grasp.

Nonetheless, it was explained to me well. I was given my own email and was shown how to use Outlook which was a programme I hadn’t used before (luckily it was easier to understand than the actual company!). I was also taught how to structure an email formally which was very useful – especially since it’s something we don’t learn at school.

I was introduced to the employees of Mortgage Brain on my first day, I received a warm and friendly welcome from all of the staff; everyone was so kind and eager to help me. It was a great environment to work in as everyone got on well (they didn’t even argue over who made the tea), and were always looking out for me (and offering me cups of tea), which definitely put me at ease (the tea was very good). I sat down with each member of the marketing team during the week and they talked me through their roles within the team and the programmes and processes that they use. It was informative for me to learn about individual responsibilities as well as an overall view because it allowed me to visualise what working for Mortgage Brain would be like.

During my stay, I was lucky enough to be involved in the redesigning of the Mortgage Vision 2017 website. This was great as I was given the opportunity to attend meetings within the team where web design was discussed. I also had a look at the Mortgage Vision 2016 website and I was asked to review and compare it to other sites. This was a great experience for me as I could learn about web design and the whole process behind creating a website; it was a lot harder than I realised. The team was very good at helping me feel included during the meetings and explained concepts that I didn’t understand. The end product looked amazing – I’m sure you’ll agree!

I was also able to attend a “Company Meeting”. This was particularly useful for me as a work experience student as I was able to experience how meetings work in the real world – they were a lot less scary than I had initially imagined, but a lot more boring!

Overall my work experience with Mortgage Brain was fantastic; I was able to see a new environment which was like nothing I had ever experienced before.

Security: You are in safe hands with us

Whether we like to think about it or not, cybercrime is on the increase. In 2015, it was reported by Professional Adviser that 20,000 cyber-attacks were taking place each week, and that figure is expected to reach around 700,000 by the end of 2017.

Safeguarding data is of paramount importance, and so we want you to have peace of mind that the information stored in our datat centres will always remain intact. Hence why we dedicate a great deal of time and effort to our cybersecurity strategy and ensure that robust measures are in place to protect both your data and our systems against any potential threats or unauthorised access.

Regular security updates
All of our systems receive routine software updates to protect against any known cyber threats and provide resistance to potential future risks. What is more, we don’t support unsecure operating systems such as Windows XP which no longer receives any security updates from Windows.

Backing it up
We know that when you save information on our systems, you need and expect it to remain safe. Therefore we ensure that we regularly back up all your data and always have a secure copy of all our hosted data, and always have a copy of your files should any ever be corrupted. This also means that should you need to install the Key on a new computer or laptop, you can simply reinstall the application and continue you where you left off with little inconvenience.

Our own protection
We don’t simply safeguard your data, we also ensure that our own systems are protected by firewalls which will prevent any hacker attempting to gain unauthorised access. The recent WannaCry virus exploited a technique that is prevented by our security systems, meaning that any attempt to corrupt the data was useless.

Rigorous security checks are also regularly carried out. We use a specialist security partner to test our systems for any possible vulnerabilities and make any recommended changes to ensure that we are following best practice and doing all that we can.

Our internet hosts are also secure
Our systems are hosted by industry-leading internet services providers in highly secure data centres that offer virtualization technology, which provides another extra layer of protection.

All processes are in place
We also have systems that are on standby, designed to take over immediately in the event of any service interruption. This means that there will be a limited impact to your business, but your data will remain safe and secure.

How can you help?
Your own understanding of the potential and real threat to all of us by cybercrime is important. Just awareness is an important way in which we can all together prevent cyber-attacks affecting us.

Good cybersecurity practices include regular updates and back-ups, strong and frequently changed passwords, being careful when connecting to public Wi-Fi and being sensible when sharing information on social media or plugging devices into your computer. Secure messaging is also wise when sending sensitive data, which is a feature of our Client Portal within the Key.

Being aware that threats are out there and being prepared for them is something we at Mortgage Brain pride ourselves on.  Our aim remains to ensure that you can use our systems, safe in the knowledge that we have your data security and integrity taken care of and it remains an integral part of our service to you.

How to engage with website visitors to turn them into customers

Whether you consider yourself technically savvy or not, having a website in this day and age is not only key to generating new business but expected. It is the first thing that any prospective client will look for even if it is just for your contact details. Your website however is so much more, it is effectively your shop window; as the ‘shoppers’ peruse your site, wouldn’t it be great if they were to see something that captured their attention, kept it, and offered them something that they simply couldn’t resist. Surely you would like that website to be yours.

There are several steps you can take to make your website stand out from the crowd, as well as ensure you are promoting yourself as well as you can against your competition.

So, why is a website so important?

Your website presents your business online to the world. It is vital that you have a professional-looking regularly updated website to attract your website visitors, therefore potential customers.

People visiting a poorly designed website that takes a while to load are likely to go straight back to the search engine and choose someone else – and this is the last thing you want when business and new customers are so important.

Keep it simple

Your website could be your most lucrative marketing tool, so you should take several things into consideration when thinking about its design – or explaining to someone what type of website that you want.

A clean, straight-forward template is one of the first steps to ensure your website is a winning one. People don’t like clutter; they like to go onto a website and be able to instantly and intuitively know how to navigate to the information they require.

If your website has too many menus and a lot of text on the home page, it will be sure to put people off. Your homepage sells your business, and the menu should only include pages that offer useful information about your services that will help visitors learn about your services and you who are.


Websites
 Think about the add-ons

Providing general information about your services is vital, but it’s also highly beneficial to include additional tools to offer your visitors an opportunity to get engaged with your website. Broadly speaking, the more engaged your visitors are, the more likely they are to convert into paying customers.

Interactive Mortgage Search plug-in and the Best Buy Tables allow you to position yourself to your audience as a more credible and modern professional adviser and differentiate your website from others. You can find out more about how plug-ins work here.

These sort of plug-ins can also encourage visitors to fill in an enquiry form, so they become lead generators. You can then receive the visitors’ contact details in an encrypted email, so that all personal details remain secure. If you were to use Mortgage Brain’s plug-in and Best Buy Tables, then enquiries are pre-populated into the Key, our CRM system so that the leads form part of your usual compliant sales process.

Both of Mortgage Brain’s plug-ins are also mobile-friendly, so they will look and work well on any website being viewed on different devices, from a PC to a smartphone.

Get social

When people are looking for a service, many may turn to social media to get a feel for the company and see what they are posting. So adding buttons that link to your social media profiles on your website will allow people to quickly find you.

You must however be sure to keep your social media accounts regularly updated. Visitors are likely to be put off by a Twitter page that hasn’t seen any activity for several months, or a Facebook page with hardly any information about your business or what you do. Make sure you are posting content onto your pages or accounts each week to keep them fresh and engaging.

The perfect website?

A website doesn’t have to be perfect to convert customers. It just needs to be smart, efficient, and straight-to-the-point, preferably with add-ons such as our mobile-friendly plug-ins to give your visitors as reason to stay on and remember your website for long enough to encourage them to contact you and turn into paying clients.

Websites are all about capturing attention, and then engaging visitors enough to keep them there. Once you’ve cracked that, your business will start generating a lot more leads.

If you want to find out more about our MortgageBrain B2C offerings, go to the dedicated page on our website. You can also contact the team via Live Chat whilst you’re there, or tweet us if you want to find out more.

Integrated Second Charge Sourcing

Breaking new ground is something we are always striving to do. That’s why we have developed a second charge sourcing functionality within our first charge sourcing systems. It’s a rich and powerful feature, simple and easy to use, and is unlike anything else available on the market right now – and we created it to make your life that little bit easier.

How does it work?
Our sourcing systems have been a powerful tool for businesses for the past thirty years, and they’ve just become even more powerful.

The new functionality gives you the option of sourcing and comparing any first and second charge mortgage products, side by side, on one screen or print out.  It gives you a choice as to whether you want to advise on second charge products and deal directly with the lender, or pass the lead to a Master Broker to progress.

Second charge enhancements are currently being rolled out to existing MortgageBrain Classic users and will be coming soon to MortgageBrain Anywhere – so, if you use that system, then watch this space. The enhancements are included in the software and you don’t have to pay extra to be able to source second charge products in either of our sourcing systems.

What are the benefits?

The main benefit, of course, is that you can source everything within one system. Compare re-mortgage and second charge products on one screen with no need to switch to a different system. We’ve put everything in one place to save you time and hassle.

You can also compare as many products as you like at any one time. To do this, simply check all of the boxes of the schemes required to compare remortgage options, and then move to the second charge tab and select as many products required to compare from this tab.

The reload function is another great time-saver. It allows you to save all your searches for a client and open them at a later date. So, if you need to pause midway through, you can save all your scenarios retaining your filters, and re-visit them later when you’re ready to begin again.

Our multiple tabs function also helps you out allowing the remortgage deals to be retained whilst second charge products are sourced alongside it – which enables you, the broker, to work much more efficiently.

Is there anything else I need to know?

If you’re a little unsure about how our new functionality works, you can book a live demo and join our weekly webinars. They are held on Tuesdays at 10.00-10.15am BST, and they take you through everything you need to know about this powerful tool for your business.

For those who want to see what we’re all about, you can begin a 30-day free trial of Mortgage Brain Classic to experience first-hand just how much easier we’ve made it to source mortgages for your clients.

Give us a call on 0208 665 3289, or email sales@mortgage-brain.co.uk one of the team who will be happy to help you begin your Mortgage Brain journey. You can also check out our hints and tips for MortgageBrain Classic, too.

A History of Mortgage Brain

We recently celebrated a milestone here at Mortgage Brain as we turned thirty years old. We’d like to think that we’ve aged gracefully, and made the most of our time since 1986, offering our customers the best products possible – and service with a smile.

Where did we come from?

Set up by Peter Nice, Mike Green and Barry Louvel back in the eighties, Mortgage Brain came from humble origins.

Peter built a small sourcing system for his wife, an estate agent, and Mortgage Brain was born. We offered the first sourcing system in the UK mortgage market available to all brokers, and thus started the thriving industry we know today.

Initially, product data and software updates were distributed via disk – sent in the post! It wasn’t all online, automatic and up to the minute as it is today.

Then it all changed…

As Mortgage Brain grew, the three founders decided to sell the company in 2001 to a consortium of lenders and Nationwide, Halifax (now Lloyds Banking Group) and Alliance & Leicester (now Santander) bought the business for £4.8m.

RBS, Northern Rock (now Virgin Money) and Barclays came on board a little later in December 2001, when the turnover was £2M and we had only one product channel – mortgage sourcing.

In an era of paper applications, the lenders who now owned Mortgage Brain were keen to make changes in the market. So, they brought in our CEO, Mark Lofthouse, to develop a trading platform that allowed mortgage applications to be completed, submitted and processed electronically.

Enter Mortgage Trading Exchange, which arrived in 2003, and has gone on to become the largest single delivery channel for mortgage placement in the industry. Today, more than 20% of all mortgage applications from brokers are processed via the platform.

Making waves

Three years later, we bought the Key, a point of sale system. At this time, the system was in its fledgling state following the introduction of MDay. Significant investment and development has led to the Key becoming the most widely used CRM system available with thousands of advisers relying on it to support their businesses on a daily basis.

A History of Mortgage Brain

There is no stopping for us

We then upped our game even further, launching MortgageBrain B2C in 2010, offering the industry’s first app, UKMortgages in 2012, and, a year later, bringing another industry first, iSourceMortgages, an iPad-based sourcing system to the table. To follow shortly in 2014 was MortgageBrain Anywhere, our online sourcing system developed as a solution to the growing demand for flexibility and ability to use multiple devices, and at the same time Mortgage Brain’s original desktop sourcing product was renamed MortgageBrain Classic.

More recently in 2015 we ventured into conveyancing sourcing with a case tracking portal with the launch of ConveyancingBrain – soon after followed by LoansBrain in 2016. The latter is a second charge sourcing website that remains freely available to all, and now in 2017, we have also integrated that functionality into our first charge sourcing systems.

Product accuracy and product data turnaround have always been crucially important to us, and today we continue to lead the field, with 90% of all product data requests from lenders being up and live on our sourcing systems within four hours, and 100% within eight hours. We also continue to adapt and enhance our products to ensure that they offer the latest in technology and support all the latest regulations – we never stand still!

 Ahead of the pack

We have consistently delivered specialist technology solutions ahead of our competitors since we began, and each year invest approximately 40% of our turnover into product development to ensure that you continually get the most out of our systems.

Our employees remain our best asset and the customer services team are on hand to support your queries or answer your question. We also are the only technology company to add an online chat facility to our website to help those who don’t want to pick up the phone. Plus our extensive library of resources to support our products with numerous videos and guides remains the best in our view.

We are very proud of who we are and what we have achieved.

Celebration time…

To celebrate our successful thirty years in business, we held a party in London at the end of April to raise money for a number of charities actively supported either through fundraising or volunteering by one or more of our Mortgage Brain colleagues.

The charities were Alzheimer’s Society, Birmingham Christmas Shelter, Contact the Elderly and Shooting Star Chase a leading children’s hospice charity. So far, we have raised a fantastic £50,245 for our incredible charities.

Here’s to another thirty years – and thirty more after that!

Little Known Facts About Electronic Trading

Although electronic trading was greeted by brokers unenthusiastically upon its launch in 2003, it has since become one of the cornerstones of the mortgage industry. The simple idea, which began with our launch of Mortgage Trading Exchange (MTE), provided a way of delivering mortgage agreements in principle (AIPs), and processing applications seamlessly between brokers and lenders.

So, what’s happened since then? We thought we’d run down some facts you may not know about electronic trading, and how brokers have taken advantage of this fantastic weapon in their armoury.

Transactions have sky-rocketed
In the first year, around 150 transactions each week were being processed using MTE. Within a couple of years, this had changed to 2,500 weekly transactions, and now, there are between 4,000 and 5,000 mortgage transactions being completed via MTE – the total figure for electronic transactions via our system stands at over two million.

The mortgage sales process continues to be supported
Although some intermediaries were sceptical about it at first, electronic trading is actually designed to support brokers in completing the advice and sales process in, or away from, their office. It offers you offline access to lenders AIPs and full application forms, meaning you only need to go online to submit applications to supporting lenders.

It offers direct access to lenders
Systems such as MTE ensure that brokers can use lenders’ own application forms alongside the platform’s own generic ones. AIPs and applications sent using MTE also go direct to the lenders, without the need to pass through any other portal. It’s just like using the lender’s service, but with more flexibility.

The systems are compliant
Another worry about electronic trading upon its introduction to the industry was whether they would cope with the tough demands and requirements from the FSA/FCA. Fast forward to the future, and the systems have more than stood the test of time with regards to how compliant they are. They have faced hurdles such as MDay and the Mortgage Market Review and surfaced at the other end unscathed.

Flexibility is one of its main strengths
Electronic trading systems allow brokers to work offline and away from the internet. This means that if they client doesn’t have all the information to hand when the mortgage application is being filled out, the application can be stored and accessed at a later date. Most systems will also work with more than one sourcing system, or as a stand-alone application, to offer the broker more choice.

Electronic trading makes brokers faster
Short on time or under pressure? You’re not alone. Many intermediaries are facing the same problems; from other brokers, the internet, or customers with apps. The main problem is clear: competition is fierce, and in order to be ahead of the game, you need to be quick off the mark. Electronic trading can get you responses in less than a minute, and faster responses mean happier clients, more sales and greater efficiency.

Easy re-sending and tracking
Before electronic trading, having a client declined meant having to start an application from the very beginning in order to submit the same application to another lender. With systems like MTE, you can re-use data from a declined application and or AIP, saving you plenty of time and meaning you don’t have to fill out the same information repeatedly.

There are big names behind electronic trading
From its very beginning, electronic trading has had the support by many of the big names in banking. For example, our MTE system is jointly owned by Lloyds Banking Group, Nationwide Building Society, RBS, Virgin Money, Barclays and Santander – not only does this give you peace of mind that the system is safe and secure, it allows you to trade electronically with committed lenders who account for over 65% of mortgages provided by intermediaries.

Already using MTE? Then we’re sure you’ll be familiar with all the fantastic benefits an electronic trading system can offer you.

If this blog has made you think a little more about electronic trading, then you can start using MTE for free today. Simply download the system here, register your details, download your cookie/token, and submit your application forms. It’s as quick as that!

Could the mortgage market undergo Uber-ification?

No one has yet invented the mortgage industry silver bullet; the idea that could transform the industry as we know it. But as our CEO Mark Lofthouse explains, it may be somewhere on the horizon, and we must be prepared for it.

Want a taxi? Not a problem.

Go onto the street and hail one, or book one over the phone. Simple and straightforward. It’s always been done that way, always will be. But in 2011, two men launched the Uber app, which allowed anyone with a smartphone to make a trip request and have the cab closest to them make the pick-up. Five years on and Bloomberg estimated the company’s revenues to be around $5.5 billion dollars.

Airbnb is another strong example of how an idea can come out of nowhere and change an industry forever. No matter how inconceivable an idea, we must remember that the possibility exists that someone, somewhere could come up with it at any time.

uber

But why can it happen?

One of the reasons is that no one ‘owns’ the taxi space. In the same way that no one ‘owns’ the mortgage space. As radical as it sounds, anyone is free to come in and be a ‘disruptor’, and if people like the idea then it could change the rules and irrevocably alter the way mortgages are sold!

The mortgage industry is rarely at the front of the queue for innovation. Apps, for example, were well established in other sectors before arriving in the mortgage market. ‘Robo advice’, however you interpret it, is commonplace in areas such as car and home insurance and it’s now in its early stages for mortgages.

So what’s the chance that our industry will be altered?

No one has yet come up with an idea that could transform our industry, and the idea that someone could may not seem all that attractive. But we shouldn’t close our minds to them or discount the idea that someone, somewhere, could be working on something radical.

Although, we do have to ask ourselves: what would it be? Would it allow consumers to have mortgages that are tailor made? Mortgages that automatically change whenever a new and more desirable product appears? Maybe even a completely new way of buying a house that makes mortgages redundant at a stroke?

They are ideas which may not seem feasible, but in 2017 and beyond they could well become reality.

Ideas don’t always make you an overnight success

It is worth noting that Techcrunch.com reports that Uber’s losses are expected to hit $3 billion in 2017, Airbnb has had it run ins with authority, and there will always be plenty of people willing and able to piggy back on the success of early adopters. But the tantalising possibility remains.

So what can the industry do about it?

It’s hard to fight against something that doesn’t exist and that no one knows anything about, so the best defence is to make the industry as future proof as possible. This means moving with the tech times and offering as high a level of professionalism as possible. As the technology and service improves, so the window for uber-ification is reduced.

In the meantime, keep watching the skies.