All posts by Mortgage Brain

Being cyber secure

The threat of online security risks including cyberattacks, malware, and phishing scams will always exist. Cybercriminals are constantly evolving to become more complex and convincing, meaning your business must stay vigilant and take steps to protect itself, its employees, and its customers.

Startling statistics reveal that in the UK, a small business is hacked successfully every 19 seconds. Across both small and medium-sized businesses 65,000 cyberattacks are executed every day, with 4,500 of those being successful[1].

Worryingly, attacks are increasing in frequency with 46% of businesses reporting a cyber security breach or attack in the last 12 months with many experiencing issues at least once a week. Of those, 19% experienced financial or data loss while 39% suffered loss through business disruption or having to implement new measures to stop a recurrence[2].

Pandemic predators

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought a surge in online activity creating more opportunities for cybercriminals to steal data, and employees working from home also provide new targets[3]:

  • Coronavirus blamed for 238% rise in attacks on banks
  • 80% of firms have seen an increase in cyberattacks
  • Cloud-based attacks rose 630% between January and April 2020
  • Phishing attempts have risen 600% since the end of February.

Types of threats and staying safe

The term ‘hacker’ covers professional criminals and disgruntled employees alike but regardless of name, they are developing new methods of attack all the time. Throughout the cyber security industry, the eight main threats to be aware of are deemed to be as follows, together with some actions to try and stay safe, as recommended by the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), the government, and major security companies:

Malware – makes your computer/network malfunction or grants the attacker access and control with varieties such as worms, viruses or trojans.

Phishingmalicious emails designed to fool people in disclosing details or taking action that is damaging for the business.

Ransomwaredenies a user access to their own system by locking it behind a paywall rendering it unusable until a ransom is paid.

To minimise the likelihood of becoming a victim of malware, phishing, and ransomware, or similar threats, industry experts recommend taking the following precautions:

  • only use current and updated web browsers and operating systems;
  • scan new disks and files with anti-virus software;
  • avoid giving out personal data to unsolicited calls, emails or texts;
  • don’t click links in emails you were note expecting;
  • only download from trusted websites and sources;
  • do not click unverified links;
  • avoid use of public wi-fi networks;
  • and use a virtual private network (VPN) where possible.

Other types of threat

Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) – designed to overwhelm either your database or website by bombarding them with more requests than they can handle, causing them to become unresponsive.

To avoid becoming victim of a distributed denial of service attack, industry experts suggest that you:

  • ensure your business/website has enough bandwidth to handle spikes in traffic;
  • spread your servers across multiple data centres and distribute traffic between them;
  • protect servers with network firewalls, web application firewalls, and load balancers.

Man in the Middle – pretending to be a reputable business using a fake website or intercepting a connection with the intent of harvesting data from users. These attacks often occur through unsecured public Wi-Fi networks.

There are several steps that experts say will counter these attacks, for instance:

  • educate employees not to use public networks;
  • use virtual private network (VPN) for secure connections;
  • monitor networks and devices for unusual activity;
  • use up to date and secure browsers;
  • implement two-factor authentication.

Structured Query Language (SQL) Injection – hackers insert a malicious code into an SQL server to make it release information.

Cyber security professional suggest preventing SQL Injection attacks by:

  • using a web application firewall;
  • and creating multiple database user accounts meaning only specific and trusted individuals can access the database.

Password attacks – whether guessing a user’s password or using software to do so, once obtained the cyber attacker has complete access to the system and all its information.

To combat password attacks, experts suggest implementing a password policy that promotes strong passwords. A strong password includes:

  • at least 12 characters;
  • no personal information;
  • a combination of numbers, symbols, capital letters and lower-case letters.

Zero-day exploits – exploiting software’s vulnerabilities, especially as they age. That is why it always important to keep software updated and apply any security patches that are issued.

Cyber security professionals suggest your business can reduce the risk of zero-day exploit attacks by:

  • using solutions that can scan for vulnerabilities;
  • installing software patches as soon as they become available;
  • utilising data validation to test any input supplied by an application or user.

­With heightened motivation and opportunity for cyber criminals, cyber security specialists say it’s important to review your cyber security regime and address any vulnerabilities that may leave your business at risk. Kaspersky estimated in 2019 that 41% of consumers left themselves open to security risk by using unsupported or near end-of-life operating systems like Windows XP or Windows 7[4].

The NCSC suggest a cyber security checklist for SMEs:

  • Knowledge is power

Establish a channel of communication to enable the exchange of information including policies and training to maintain awareness of cyber risks to your business.

  • Secure your network

Monitor and test your network, and secure its perimeter to stop unauthorised access or malicious content from entering.

  • Stop malware

Use up to date web browsers, ensure anti-virus software is used to scan disks and files; don’t give out personal data, and don’t click links in unsolicited emails.

  • Don’t go public

Public Wi-Fi is more vulnerable to being intercepted so reduce and avoid use where possible.

  • Keep systems updated

System security patches must be applied as soon as possible to ensure security configuration is maintained and avoid exploitation of vulnerabilities.

  • Control access

Limit user privileges and the number of privileged accounts to control access to systems. Restrict access to activity and audit logs.

  • Be ready to react

Prepare an incident response strategy and test your disaster recovery capabilities. Activate specialist company-wide training and report any criminal incidents to relevant authorities.

  • Monitor activity

Monitor all your systems and networks and look for any unusual activity that could indicate an attack. Set up a strategy and policies across the business to do this.

  • Away from the office

Ensure all staff understand the risks of home and mobile working and train them to follow protocols with ways to protect data at all times.

  • Strengthen passwords

Implement a password policy that promotes strong passwords that contain at least 12 characters, no personal information and a combination of numbers, symbols, and capital/lower case characters.

  • Start at the top
    Board and senior management must assess risk to information and systems within the business to establish a risk management regime.

Look out for further information on this topic from future blogs.


[1] http://hrnews.co.uk/cyber-security-statistics-in-the-uk-reveal-troubling-figures/

[2] https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/cyber-security-breaches-survey-2020/cyber-security-breaches-survey-2020

[3] https://www.fintechnews.org/the-2020-cybersecurity-stats-you-need-to-know/

[4] https://www.kaspersky.com/about/press-releases/2019_consumers-still-use-unsupported-and-near-end-of-life-os

Lockdown Love

In challenging times like these, it is more important than ever to reflect on the positives and share some love. And what better time than during February with Valentine’s Day approaching!

Our ‘Love Your Customer’ campaign this year goes under the title of Lockdown Love and we have lots of exciting activities that focus on sharing a bit of joy and love with both customers and colleagues to recognise their loyalty to us.

It’s also the perfect time to raise money to try and help some worthy causes. This year our chosen charities will be:

  • RSPCA: Animal welfare charity
  • Mind: Mental health charity
  • Alzheimer’s Society: A charity for people with dementia and their carers
  • Macmillan Cancer Support: A charity that provides specialist health care, information and financial support to people affected by cancer.

Lockdown Love for our customers

There are plenty of ways our customers can take part and support charity:

Corporate cares: Throughout February, during select meetings and training sessions with our incredible corporate team, customers will be asked to choose one of the above charities for Mortgage Brain to make a charitable contribution to on their behalf.

Prize draw: We want to hear from our customers about one act of kindness they have either performed or received during an incredibly challenging twelve months. Each unique entry will be placed into our prize draw. We’ll randomly select a winner on 16 February who will win a £50 Amazon voucher and a £250 charitable donation will be made to their chosen charity1. Enter here!

Photo competition: We’d love to see photos of the strangest places our customers have worked from during the pandemic OR the most entertaining home-schooling moment you’ve experienced. Submit your photos on Twitter or LinkedIn using either #WFH or #homeschooling and tag Mortgage Brain. On March 1st our judges will choose a winner for each category both of which will receive a £50 Amazon voucher1!

Follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn to join in with all the fun.

Customers can help spread the Lockdown Love by getting involved with any of the activities which willrun throughout the month.

We will be sharing messages and promoting our customers and competitions through our social media channels on Twitter and LinkedIn using the hashtag #lockdownlove.

We also have one or two surprises in store, so be sure to follow us on social media to keep up-to-date!

Lockdown Love for our colleagues

Throughout the month, we also want to recognise the amazing effort from our colleagues throughout a difficult year. Working from home can be challenging to adapt to but remarkably everyone rose to the challenge and still managed to carry on developing and launching innovative new solutions like Affordability Hub plus tools to support the industry such as the Lender Service Levels Report.

We will be running a prize draw and a competition for our colleagues who can get involved by:

  1. Sending in photos that show the one thing they have loved most to help them get through a challenging 12 months.
  2. Sharing the ways in which they met their partners.

So, we have lots of fun in store for everyone. Why not take your mind off lockdown for five minutes and take part in some of the activities, spread some Lockdown Love and raise some money for great causes.

Best wishes

The Mortgage Brain Team

1 Full Terms and Conditions can be found here.

2020 Vision: Looking back

Throughout an undoubtably challenging year, businesses across the world have worked tirelessly to combat the impact of the pandemic on both their business and their industries.

During this time, Mortgage Brain is proud to have not only powered through but to have continued to support the industry through innovations and developments including launching the COVID-19 support hub, a lender service levels report and our affordability sourcing product, Affordability Hub.

We’ve taken time to reflect on the challenges and successes of the year which we’re pleased to share with you.

Information overload

Early on in the pandemic, a key challenge was identified as the overwhelming amount of information being released on a daily basis. Advisers struggled to keep track of the rapid changes to products available, policies and lender’s criteria. The volume of information was vast, and the situation was evolving rapidly. So how could an adviser be sure the information given to a client was up-to-date and accurate without having to invest significant time scouring the internet?

By utilising a combination of product information, criteria updates, and an industry news feed, Mortgage Brain rapidly developed a portal that was free and available for anyone to access which collated all this information to provide one source of truth about the pandemic’s impact on the market. In April this launched as part of the COVID-19 Support Hub on Criteria Hub which includes easily accessible resources covering:

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

The COVID-19 Support Hub has proved to be very popular with almost 13,500 visits to the portal from the start of April through to the end of July, 7800 of which were registered Criteria Hub users. All this essential market information can still be accessed for free via the Criteria Hub website.

Efficiency as a currency

With many businesses being reliant on smaller teams due to operational restrictions, the value of time increased exponentially. As a mortgage technology expert, we are constantly reviewing how technology can help advisers and lenders alike streamline their processes.

For advisers, Affordability Hub: This innovative new solution uses just one simple form to capture details of a client’s property, income, debt, and expenditure. Once this is done there is no re-keying needed as this standardised form can be submitted to the affordability calculators of all lenders on the platform. Within a minute results are returned including a screenshot of each lender’s decision page, giving advisers a complete audit trail for compliance. The platform has truly been embraced with over 30 lenders live and with hundreds of searches being undertaken each hour with a total of £10 billion of affordability searches performed in the first three months since launch.

For advisers, transforming sourcing: To further enhance the sourcing journey for customers, Mortgage Brain launched an integration from its product sourcing systems that enables customers to access information from Criteria Hub providing a comprehensive search to be completed covering both products available and criteria within a single user journey.

Alongside the launch of Affordability Hub, it creates a powerful suite of solutions that cover all three aspects of mortgage sourcing to provide a complete picture of the whole market and enables an adviser to ensure the recommended mortgage fits the customer’s criteria, is affordable to them, and is the most suitable product.

For lenders, Lender Affordability Calculator: Some lenders have their own inhouse affordability calculator, but for those that don’t we provided the ability to have a detailed, bespoke and configurable lender affordability calculator solution that can be used for both residential and buy-to-let customers.

The calculator can be embedded in intermediary-facing websites or there is a modified and simplified ‘quick calculation tool’ for consumer-facing websites. As you would expect from a Mortgage Brain solution, the Lender Affordability Calculator offers easy integration into a lender’s website, backed up by monthly analytics to help assess performance.

For lenders and advisers alike, managing expectations: When the market reopened following the first lockdown, an astounding resurgence of the purchase market arose which was the result of a flurry of applications and requests to already busy lender teams.

Seeing the challenges experienced we worked quickly to develop a Lender Service Levels report to provide advisers with a consolidated view of the current service standards of lenders. Available through the COVID-19 Support Hub on Criteria Hub, the document is updated daily to give advisers an overview of waiting times for each lender and the time taken by each lender to process an application and make an offer.

2021 and beyond…Throughout the year, Mortgage Brain has continued to launch platforms that not only support the market but change the way advisers work for the better. We will not slow down and look forward to sharing even more innovations with you in the new year!

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.

Beyond compliance…

As a mortgage adviser compliance is at the very core of your business and ensuring you have a back office system that intuitively puts compliance first is an integral part of safeguarding your business. However, leading systems, such as The Key by mortgage technology expert Mortgage Brain can offer a plethora of additional benefits to your business that you may not even be aware of.

This short guide will take you through key areas to consider to maximise your sales, CRM, and case tracking platform to deliver exceptional customer service and generate business.

Be organised and get personal

Personalising your communications will increase engagement and provides an opportunity to explain any additional services your business may offer in a tailored way.

One way to achieve this is by including information that is relevant only to the recipient, for instance using a preferred ‘known by’ like Dan instead of Daniel. The Key’s letter templates include merge fields that can be inserted into your communications to give them a person-to-person feel.

Further opportunities to engage with your clients can be found through The Key’s remortgage module which ensures you never miss an opportunity to retain your customers by approaching them as they near the end of their current product rate. Once set up, the module will work to reach out to your customers at the appropriate time.

Communicate often (and effectively)

Data quickly goes out of date and if it does you risk not being able to maintain regular contact with your clients. Make sure you constantly cleanse all your data sets to avoid this and remain compliant with data protection legislation.

Using the Client Portal enables your customers to quickly and easily update their own information including email addresses and phone numbers, so you can always stay in touch which has become more important than ever in recent months where face-to-face meetings have not been possible.

Customers’ circumstances can change quickly. As they do, your clients can update their details in the Client Portal. There is no re-keying needed from you, and reduced risk of errors. Your data remains accurate, and you can spend less time making updates and more time communicating with your clients.

Segmentation and targeting

Segmenting your data into different groups helps you accurately target your messaging and deliver more relevant information that will resonate and encourage connections. An example of this could be to identify your customers who have a mortgage but have not taken out protection, enabling you to provide them with further details or capture their renewal date if they have taken a policy out elsewhere.

Segmenting your data is simple with The Key’s marketing mailshot functionality and you can use the ad-hoc reporting section to filter out applicants you wish to target, safe in the knowledge that The Key’s built-in consent manager stores customer GDPR preferences.

Want to learn more about how you can supercharge and streamline your processes?

Added benefits of using The Key for data management:

  • Engineered to manage your back office compliantly
  • Client Portal gives your clients the security and convenience of sharing documents, case tracking and completing the Fact Find digitally.
  • Fact Find feature giving clients separate logins to add documents and personal details privately and securely without applicants 1 or 2 viewing them
  • Data is securely stored and backed up online

About The Key

The Key, is a powerful CRM, back office and point of sale solution that offers an integrated compliant mortgage process, providing an adviser and their administrators with efficiencies and security. The integrated and customisable Client Portal also saves up to an hour per case by capturing information directly from the client and negating the need for re-keying details.

12 days of…

We’re celebrating the arrival of December by putting together a 12-day advent calendar filled with all things mortgage-related from the 01 December until the 16th December!

Please check back each weekday to see what’s behind each door and go to our LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter social media pages to see the full image and message we have shared.

Happy Holidays from Mortgage Brain!


01: With only 30 days left of the year, we are reflecting on some of the ‘best bits’ of 2020. For us, being named the Best Technology Provider twice was certainly a highlight! What has been your biggest achievement this year? Comment on our social media pages.

02: December is also party season! Is your website as best dressed as it could be? If not, don’t worry, our Mortgage Brain B2C experts can help give your website a makeover so it’s looking its best in 2021. Read our blog filled with useful tips or contact us today!

03: The best gifts are the most personal ones…what’s the best gift you have ever received? Comment on our social media pages.

04: What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store… What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more! ― Dr. Seuss

05: If you’re preparing for your business’s demand next year, maybe you should evaluate where to start when mortgage sourcing for customers. Find out where to start and be prepared for 2021! Read here

06: Whilst we’ve all embraced online events, we would love to see you face-to-face (and shower you with freebies) once it is safe to do so. The Mortgage Brain team is working hard on our 2021 events, so, make sure you sign up to receive updates. We look forward to seeing you in the New Year! #MV2021

07: Throughout this unusual year, we have tried all sorts to keep ourselves entertained with company activities including quizzes, workout Wednesdays, scavenger hunts, and virtual Friday happy hours!

08: We all like to receive a bit of love! This year we raised £1,500 for charity through our #LoveYourCustomer competition. We have so much more to give our customers and it’s not just chocolates! #Throwbackthursday

09: It’s finally time to dust off your Christmas jumper! Whether you’ll be showing yours off on Zoom or the school run today, we’d love to see your festive threads in our comments section. #Christmasjumperday

10: Sharing is caring and this season is all about supporting those in need. That’s why this year, instead of buying Christmas cards we have donated to Mind, the mental health charity.

11: The Mortgage Brain team is here to help you all year, and the festive period is no exception. You can contact us by email, call our Customer Services, join one of our many webinars, or send a message through LiveChat. So, if you need our support, don’t hesitate to get in touch.

12: We wanted to show our customers and partners how thankful we are for your support this year, so we made a Christmas video. And to demonstrate how grateful we are there is NO singing! Merry Christmas from Mortgage Brain.

What’s the latest with Mortgage Prisoners?

The FCA estimates there are currently 200,000 mortgage prisoners in the UK[1]. Some are trapped on interest-only mortgages with ‘inactive’ lenders. However, figures show that the number of interest-only mortgages had fallen by 54%, from 2.5 million in 2012 to 1.23 million in 2018 with regulated mortgage lenders committing to contacting all interest-only borrowers with loans due to mature at the end of 2020 to check repayment would be achievable or to find a new solution[2].

Last year the FCA relaxed some of its affordability checks, allowing lenders to assess affordability based on a borrower’s track record to make it easier for mortgage prisoners to find a new cheaper deal.

Capping lenders’ SVRs, which are a major factor for Mortgage Prisoners, has also been put forward by an all-party parliamentary group to help. There is currently no limit to how high a lender can set the standard variable rate and a cap of 2% above the Bank of England base rate for all SVRs would automatically see mortgage prisoners making instant savings of hundreds of pounds2.

In October 2020, Halifax began accepting remortgage applications of up to 75% LTV from mortgage prisoners, using the modified affordability assessment measures put in place by the FCA[3]. Other lenders may take the same path, taking advantage of the change in FCA rules to try and make it easier for mortgage prisoners to switch to a cheaper deal. Recently, NatWest introduced lending criteria specific to mortgage prisoners and Santander started accepting applications from those trapped in expensive mortgages. The West Brom Building Society too is now implementing the new affordability rules with seven lenders in all starting to offer products[4].

How technology can help

At Mortgage Brain we understand the problems faced by mortgage prisoners and how hard it is for mortgage advisers to find suitable products for them. That’s why our product sourcing solutions MortgageBrain Classic and MortgageBrain Anywhere include a ‘mortgage prisoner’ filter to make it easier to find suitable remortgage products for those clients and help them to escape from a life sentence of expensive mortgage deals.

It’s as simple as adding the applicant and mortgage details, ticking the ‘mortgage prisoner’ filter and clicking ‘source now’. Then the adviser will be presented with a list of suitable products. To see the filter in action, watch the video for MortgageBrain Classic and MortgageBrain Anywhere

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/2020/07/mortgage-prisoners-is-capping-rates-the-answer/

[2] https://www.mortgageintroducer.com/number-interest-mortgages-falls-13/

[3] https://www.yourmoney.com/mortgages/halifax-to-accept-mortgage-prisoner-remortgages/

[4] https://www.ftadviser.com/mortgages/2020/11/10/fca-rule-change-for-mortgage-prisoners-bearing-fruit/

Laying the foundations for self-builds

Self-build mortgages are increasingly becoming an untapped source of business for UK mortgage advisers. Recent research from Ipswich Building Society reveals that over a third of UK adults (35%) are considering a self-build project at some point in the future[1].

There are many aspects that encourage those looking for a new home to build their own. 51% of respondents were attracted to a self-build option because it provides the ability to specify the layout. 28% said that being able to make environmentally friendly decisions during the process appealed to them, and 17% cited economic or financial benefits as a key factor in their decision.

But there was one aspect of self-building that almost half (46%) of respondents saw as a major challenge, the financing of the build, and indeed 72% of those wanting to build their own home didn’t realise they would require a specialist self-build mortgage.

What’s different about a self-build mortgage?

A self-build mortgage is designed to suit the elongated process of building a new home which is usually completed in various stages. Therefore, funds are released to the client to try and tie in with the completion of each stage rather than a lump sum being offered up front, as happens with a standard residential mortgage. This is ideal for situations where the client has a lump sum ready as a deposit for the land to be built on, as well as the first stage of the build.

And it’s not just new build projects that can benefit from a self-build mortgage, they can also be used for:

  • Conversions
  • Renovations
  • Demolish and rebuild projects
  • Mid or partially built projects

Self-building in the UK

The size of the UK self-build market is estimated to account for between 7% and 10% (12,000 homes per year) across the UK[2]. This is supported by data from the National Custom & Self-Build Association (NaCSBA) that shows the number of self-builds growing steadily since the introduction of self-build registers in 2016 to a total of 15,902 in 2019[3].

Whilst the NaCSBA data shows that the UK is lagging behind much of Europe with self-build accounting for 80% of new homes in Austria and 60% in countries such as Sweden, Norway, Italy and Belgium[3] , the government’s Right to Build Scheme, passed in 2016, could result in a yearly increase of some 35% in custom and self-build properties[4]. Additionally, the Right to Build Scheme allows local authorities to make more plots available to self-builders, making it easier to find that perfect location, although the average price of a plot can vary drastically throughout the UK with a few miles making a huge difference. For instance, a plot in Portsmouth could sell for around £371,250, whereas just down the road in Southampton, the average price for a plot could be £156,666. And a plot in Liverpool could set a self-builder back more than £800,0004.

Building plots are also now easier to come by with brownfield sites being made available. These are areas of land previously developed for commercial, agricultural, or industrial use, and local authorities now hold registers of brownfield land suitable for housing. Ipswich Building Society’s research showed that 31% of potential self-builders were not aware of this, although 61% said it would help them find a plot once they were made aware of brownfield sites[5].

Finding the right self-build mortgage

Of course, for a mortgage adviser, finding a specialist self-build mortgage for a client can be time-consuming. It could mean hours on the phone to a variety of lenders, with no guarantee of finding the perfect product for a client.

That’s where Criteria Hub can make a world of difference. It has over 50 criteria relating to self-build, plus a range of questions that assist with the applications, making the process quick and simple with just a single search of over 70 lenders required. This means an adviser can find what maybe once was considered to be a niche product just as easily as an everyday residential or buy-to-let product.

Whatever type of mortgage you need to find, Criteria Hub delivers many benefits:

  • Match criteria from over 70 lenders for both residential and buy-to-let
  • Over 30,000 criteria to compare
  • Ability to flag criteria that are critical or a deal-breaker
  • 1000s of additional criteria not found on lender websites
  • Standardised terms make it quick and simple for lenders to update their criteria

Maybe it’s time to look at Self-build clients and start laying the foundations for boosting your business? To find out more about Criteria Hub email sales@mortgage-brain.co.uk or simply register to become a Criteria Hub user with a 30-day free trial.


[1] https://www.ipswich-intermediaries.co.uk/blog/over-a-third-of-uk-adults-are-considering-a-self-build-project-so-here-s-the-latest-data-on-this-potential-group-of-clients

[2] https://www.york.ac.uk/media/chp/documents/2013/Lloyds_A4%20report%20v2-final%20NEWno.2.pdf

[3] https://nacsba.org.uk/news/single-dwelling-data-shows-self-build-numbers-growing/

[4] https://www.insulationexpress.co.uk/blog/uks-biggest-self-build-opportunities/

[5] https://www.ipswich-intermediaries.co.uk/blog/over-a-third-of-uk-adults-are-considering-a-self-build-project-so-here-s-the-latest-data-on-this-potential-group-of-clients


Best Technology Provider awarded to…

Mortgage Brain!

We are thrilled that we have won the Mortgage Strategy Award again, for the fifth time since 2010! It also delights us to have won the Mortgage Technology Provider of the Year at The Mortgage Awards 2020.

We strive to provide the best mortgage service to advisers and lenders alike with our end-to-end offering by delivering the best innovative technology, providing solutions that support and refine the mortgage process.

This year, we have further enhanced our offering with the launch of Affordability Hub, as well as integrating Criteria Hub with our MortgageBrain Classic and Anywhere systems enabling criteria and product data to be sourced in a single journey. This integration was applauded in our recent award win, which was a proud moment for our business. 

As a business, we are determined to provide the very best technology solutions to help support the mortgage industry and will continue to explore how we can simplify mortgage processes in ways that will benefit everyone!

On behalf of everyone at Mortgage Brain, we would like to say a massive thank you to everyone that voted or nominated, and here is an opportunity to watch our win from the Mortgage Strategy Awards virtual event!

Mortgage Strategy Awards 2020

Sincerely,

Mortgage Brain Team

Knowledge is power

With the housing market experiencing significant activity levels, it is a particularly busy time for mortgage advisers. That’s good news, but at the same time can make it difficult to keep up with industry news, trends and best practices, especially as the market continues to change in light of the pandemic. For those working towards meeting their requirement for Continuing Professional Development (CPD) hours, they have to address pressure to engage with many accredited activities as the end of the year draws closer.

As mortgage technology experts, Mortgage Brain creates solutions to provide advisers with an end-to-end mortgage process that is seamless, quick and efficient. But, it also takes pride in delivering insights, content, and training to support advisers with mortgage intelligence.

Take Mortgage Vision, its annual industry event, designed specifically for mortgage advisers to provide an opportunity to enhance professional development, network with peers, and share knowledge from a variety of industry experts. In 2020, it celebrated its 11th year and transitioned from its usual roadshow format to an immersive virtual event to ensure it could still deliver all the benefits that advisers have come to know and love, which we’ve summarised below!

Bolstering CPD hours with events

This year’s virtual Mortgage Vision event was accredited by the CII meaning attendees could earn up to 3.5 CPD hours from the comfort of their home or office by listening to experts cover topics such as the evolution of the regulatory landscape and the importance of an adviser’s role in the new normal; understanding the shape of a post-pandemic economy and intermediated mortgage market; and how recent FCA changes affect mortgage sourcing processes.

That goes a long way to meet your requirement for the year and you get to benefit from all the knowledge and insight along the way.

Networking

Do you ever wonder what your competitors are up to? Mortgage Vision is the perfect opportunity to meet your peers, exchange ideas, and discuss future opportunities in an environment where the statistics point to an increase in productivity. 99% agree that improved communication and collaboration of online meetings can improve productivity and 76% of individuals use video collaboration to work remotely, of which 75% experienced increased productivity[1].

Share best practice without borders

Our industry is tightly regulated, and businesses can find it hard to keep up with the latest changes in legislation. Industry events are an ideal opportunity to keep abreast of any new legislative introductions or amendments and will help you avoid costly errors. You may even discover better and more efficient ways for your business to operate with thoughts from insightful speakers.

Whilst physical events have their advantages, the online event environment removes any geographical boundaries that may have restricted the events you attend or the number of attendees you could meet. If you’re an adviser in Newcastle you can join an online event and very easily find yourself networking with advisers in the south-west of England without having to leave your home or office. And our Mortgage Vision poll this year showed that companies intend to adopt more technology to help them do that

  • 61% are using more technology since lockdown
  • 78% will incorporate more technology into their business to interact with customers

Spot the trends, identify opportunities

What is the next opportunity that could take your business to the next level? Are you missing out on a potential revenue stream? 37% of the attendees at this year’s on-demand event said they believe an increased need for help for self-employed buyers will have the biggest impact on their business, and 37%[2] thought the change to the Stamp Duty thresholds would impact their business most. Armed with this sort of knowledge, an adviser can plan for the coming months and try and increase their client base, something that was a priority for 42% of advisers2.

Find answers

Got a business problem that you just cannot fathom out? No doubt many people in the room have been in the same position. More than likely with this year’s online event attracting more than 800 attendees. If you can’t find the answer in a networking session with your peers, live Q&A sessions let you quiz experts who can identify issues may have overcome similar obstacles themselves and can help pinpoint resolutions.

On-demand

Some virtual events allow you to revisit the content. Our Virtual Mortgage Vision event proved to be very popular for this with 79% accessing the content on-demand[3]. In light of this, we’ve made the environment available, even if you didn’t attend the original event.

If you’re looking for ways to meet your CPD requirement for the year it’s not too late to earn up to 3.5 hours of CPD hours by accessing Virtual Mortgage Vision, which remains on-demand until February 2021. Gain access by simply registering here.

If you have any enquiries relating to Mortgage Brain’s CPD accredited activities, please contact events@mortgage-brain.co.uk


[1] https://www.lifesize.com/en/video-conferencing-blog/video-conferencing-statistics

[2] Virtual Mortgage Vision 2020 Poll

[3] https://www.mortgage-brain.co.uk/pdf/press-release/news-brokers-turn-focus-to-bringing-in-new-clients.pdf

Where should I start with Mortgage Sourcing?

At Mortgage Brain, we are mortgage technology experts that take pride in providing advisers with products that help them to give customers the best and most accurate advice possible, especially when it comes to sourcing. One question we are often asked is “where should I start with mortgage sourcing?”.

Sourcing is your ‘mortgage research‘ and the main elements can be categorised as:

  • Products available (MortgageBrain Classic or MortgageBrain Anywhere)
  • Criteria (Criteria Hub)
  • Affordability (Affordability Hub)

Covering all three areas enables you to ensure your recommended mortgage fits your customers criteria, is affordable to them, and is the most suitable product.

So where should you start?

The starting point depends on the individual customer and their specific needs. Below are three scenarios highlighting where it would make sense to start your research in each set of circumstances. 

  1. A young professional couple, with no debts, no dependants, both in full-time employment earning £50,000 each, looking to purchase a standard built house for £300,000 with a deposit of £150,000.

It is likely that criteria and affordability are not the main concern (they would only need 1.5 times income). So, identifying the best product available with the lowest rate of interest for their preferred scheme with a product sourcing system such as MortgageBrain Classic or MortgageBrain Anywhere would be the best place to start.

2. A sole trader who has been self-employed for 18 months with only one year’s accounts, is looking to purchase a property that has overhead power lines running above the property which might cause lenders concern.

The applicant has a 30% deposit but has found some lenders require him to provide at least two years’ accounts to be considered for a mortgage. The primary focus here is not rate but rather can he get a mortgage given the circumstances? In this scenario, checking his criteria needs against options available utilising a system such as Criteria Hub would be the best place to start.

3. A single person in full-time employment is looking to buy a property for £300,000 with a 15% deposit, so they need to borrow the remaining balance of £255,000.

A client fact find captures their income, expenditure, and overall household profile and you think £255,000 might not be affordable for them. Again, the rate is a secondary consideration, as is criteria, the main concern is what lender will deem as affordable. Whilst this can be undertaken manually by visiting individual lender sites, using a tool such as Affordability Hub would enable you to quickly check if the amount the customer wishes to borrow is achievable from a range of selected lenders all at once! 

The above scenarios demonstrate there is not a one size fits all approach and illustrate how the latest technology can streamline your mortgage research journey. Such technology is not designed to create new parts of the sales process, but rather to make the existing processes more efficient and accurate so you can give your customers more choice in a fraction of the time.

Utilising leading systems such as Criteria Hub, Affordability Hub, and MortgageBrain Classic and Anywhere as standalone platforms can refine your process but become even more powerful when used together. To assist this, MortgageBrain Classic and Anywhere are now integrated with Criteria Hub, and Affordability Hub is available as part of your Criteria Hub license to provide an end to end mortgage journey.

Time saving technology

Time is money, and with cases becoming ever more complex, it’s easy for you to spend more time than you would like matching criteria for a client, when in fact your processes could be streamlined by embracing technology.

This is reflected by more advisers utilising the multi-search function within Criteria Hub which enables you to select up to 6 criteria at a time to source for complex cases in a single click.

In the last 90 days statistics revealed roughly a 60/40 split in favour of multi searches over single compare searches, with a surge in the use of both up 48% and 57% respectively, illustrating both the heightened requirement for multi criteria searches and the resurgence of the market post-lockdown.

When you combine the number of searches, the overall time saving is staggering. Using the average time for one search of five minutes multiplied by the total items of criteria searches 309,252, the time savings is circa 1,000 days. When you combine this with the ability to perform a multi criteria search within your product sourcing journey utilising Mortgage Brain, the power of these standalone solutions is truly realised.

Time savings can also be achieved when it comes to affordability sourcing with the ability for an adviser to do roughly 1.5 hours worth of work in less than 10 minutes* by getting the responses from over 20 lenders in a single search using Affordability Hub.

It’s easy to see how embracing technology in this way gives you greater coverage whilst requiring less of your time, no matter where in the process you start.

To find out more about how our solutions can streamline your sourcing process, contact us at sales@mortgage-brain.co.uk

* Based on the average selection of 21 lenders per search and the average time taken to complete a lenders calculator being 4 minutes. The average time spent to complete all 4 steps in Affordability Hub is 9 minutes 27 seconds.
- all statistics accurate at time of publication