Our Systems and GDPR

With the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) coming into force this week, on 25th May, we’ve been working hard to ensure our systems are enhanced ahead of the new rulings, so that you can be confident that our technology will keep you compliant.

Our enhancements have addressed the main areas of GDPR relevant to the functionality of our systems and the way you use them: definition and handling of personal data, the right to be forgotten, recording of clients’ consent, data portability and the right to object. This blog explains how we have updated and improved each of our systems so that you can have complete peace of mind after 25th May.

Mortgage sourcing

Both MortgageBrain Classic and MortgageBrain Anywhere have had several improvements and enhancements in light of GDPR.

There is now much greater flexibility and control in client data handling, for example enabling you to choose various options when deleting client records or exporting client data – some of the main GDPR requirements.

Deleting data

As GDPR requires you to justify why you’re keeping client data, our sourcing systems now enable you to find dormant clients in order to delete their data or re-contact them if needed. There is a ‘find dormant clients’ option, which you can select to bring up the clients to review.

The new rules also state that no record can be kept of any client data which has been deleted. Therefore, your deleted clients list will only contain a unique client ID, who deleted the client, when, and why.

A ‘deleted clients’ list can be exported in a CSV file to another location allowing it to be saved as part of the GDPR record keeping process.

Exporting data

Another stipulation of GDPR is to be able to export client data in a common standard format. This is to comply with the ability to provide clients with their data so that they can check and confirm that what is being held is correct.

We have also now made it easy to export this data, with a new export button, which also allows you to save the data to a file which can then be given to the client.

CRM, back office support & compliance systems

The Key, our CRM system, stores a great deal of client data, so there is now additional functionality to ensure you can fulfil your GDPR responsibilities. The enhancements include the ability to record consent, and the right for clients to be forgotten.

There are multiple enhancements to recording consent located in the ‘consent manager,’ as well as the ability to record ‘processing consent.’ Users are also able to record marketing consent via mail, email, phone and text message.

All of the Key’s deletion processes have been reviewed to ensure all personal data is removed to comply with GDPR. We have included a new function, enabling you to select multiple client records to be deleted all in one go. You can also search free text recorded as notes in order to search for, and delete, personal data that isn’t stored in the main client record.

The Key’s data portability features have also been reviewed, so that all necessary personal data is available. Industry-standard formats are now used, and records of activity now kept within the Key.

Finally, we have also reviewed our Fact Find functionality and have ensured that amendment of dependents data is recorded to ensure compliance with GDPR.

Multi-lender mortgage application platform

MTE, our mortgage application system, as with our other products already fulfilled most of the GDPR requirements, with personal data being password protected and encrypted. However, we have made further enhancements ahead of this month’s implementation of the new rules, including the ability to delete applications permanently, export client data as a CSV file and the ability to keep a record of client data exports and deletions. Furthermore, we have introduced a new option to record a free text note when deleting a client.

Your responsibilities

While our systems enable you to be fully GDPR-compliant, there are still responsibilities which lie with you. These include ensuring your computers are running software which is fully secure, and operating systems supported by providers. Any applications you use should be kept fully up-to-date, as well as protected by strong passwords to ensure security of data you store. We also recommend using screensavers for when you’re away from your computer for added protection.

You can find details about GDPR and our privacy policy, terms and conditions and release notes for the latest versions of MortgageBrain Classic, MortgageBrain Anywhere, MTE, the Key and MortgageStream on the GDPR page on our website.

If you’d still like to read more about GDPR, with the regulations coming into place on 25th May 2018, a presentation on the topic can be found here.

Meet the team: Chris Brown

An integral member of the Mortgage Brain family, Chris has been part of our sales team for a good few years now. He spends his time meeting advisers, mortgage clubs and networks and is an avid Twitter user – you can follow him @chrisbrownmbl. We quizzed him on all things Mortgage Brain – as well as some added extras…

How long have you been working at Mortgage Brain?
Six whole years!

What does a typical day look like for you?
Every day is different and ranges from travelling the length of the country for meetings with brokers and networks to carrying out webinars. It’s a complete mixed bag.

What’s your favourite part of your job?
The sheer variety of the role makes every day enjoyable!

What is your best Mortgage Brain memory?
There have been many memories, however, the signing up of a large network to use our software having beaten off the new entrants into the market has to be the highlight.

Why Mortgage Brain – what drew you to the company?
Technology will continue to lead the way for advisers and as Mortgage Brain has the pedigree and track record – why not join the best?

Tea or coffee?
I do enjoy my coffee, however, a nice cup of Earl Grey always goes down well.

You’re stranded on a desert island. Which co-worker would you like to have with you, and why?
Dionne Pullen as she always brings food to our meetings and no doubt would be prepared!

What’s your best party trick?
My wife would say my dancing – always good for a laugh.

Do you have any bad habits – especially ones that annoy the rest of the office?!
As I am rarely in the office, I am not there enough to annoy people!

What’s your best quality, and how does it help you at work?
Being Northern, it has to be my down to earth approach to life!

“Alexa… open UKMortgages.”

With Amazon Echo – and its friendly virtual assistant, Alexa – now a staple item in many homes across the UK, it seemed only appropriate to explore the latest Smart Speaker technology and what it could do and thus, the first UK Amazon Echo Mortgage Skill was born.

Developed to ultimately support consumers and drive business to our mortgage adviser customers, our UK Mortgage Skill is an industry-first. Now through a Smart Speaker device, consumers are able to search for a suitable mortgage and find mortgage advisers local to them to help them purchase their new property, simply by asking Alexa.

Ground-breaking mortgage sourcing

The new Skill combines our mortgage data and Amazon’s technology, allowing users to ask Alexa to find a mortgage that fits their needs.

Alexa will ask the user a few questions before searching through over 10,000 mortgage products and then will verbally provide details of the headline product – the mortgage product deemed most suitable based on their answers. Alexa will also send a summary of the most suitable Fixed, Variable and Tracker mortgage products to the user’s Alexa app.

Connecting consumers with advisers

Users can also ask Alexa to find them a local adviser. The Skill can either use the postcode registered to the user’s device – or an alternative one can be provided – to search through thousands of mortgage advisers to find businesses closest to them. All the mortgage advisers listed use Mortgage Brain sourcing software so they have access to all the mortgage products provided by Alexa during her mortgage product search.

Alexa will then provide the name and phone number of the user’s nearest adviser, and send a further list of up to ten local advisers directly through to their Alexa app.

How does it work?

There’s no need to register for the Skill to use it – simply say “Alexa, open UKMortgages,” and Alexa will then offer the option of searching for a mortgage or finding an adviser.

Users will need to provide the amount they wish to borrow, property price and whether they are a first-time buyer, moving home or remortgaging. Alexa will then search through a comprehensive list of whole of market mortgage products and 1,000s of mortgage advisers to find the best products and nearest companies.

Be in it to win

It comes at no additional cost to your licence fee to be listed as a mortgage adviser in the Mortgage Skill, but you do need to be a Mortgage Brain sourcing customer.

In order for your company details to be included, you need to provide your company’s name, address, phone number, email address and website (if applicable). You’ll also need to provide a short company description, which you can do easily on our website.

You can check for yourself that your business details are correct within the UKMortgages suite of products by asking Alexa on an Amazon Echo device to “open UKMortgages,” or on the website www.ukmortgages.uk.com or by downloading the UKMortgages app from either your Apple or Android play store.

So don’t miss any potential customer leads and be part of the UK’s first ever mortgage Skill. Your company listing will appear both on the UKMortgages app, website and Skill – hope to see yours soon!

If this sounds appealing but you are not a sourcing customer yet, you can start a free 30-day trial here.

Take a look at our full press release for more information on this exciting announcement, and make sure you tweet us @Mortgage_Brain when you or one of your customers have tried it out!

Get your red trainers on!

We’re just over half way through another month, and it’s been a busy one for us all. Our fantastic sales team have been up and down the country throughout March presenting the Key Client Portal across the UK at events and conferences.

Integrating with both Mortgage Brain Classic and Mortgage Brain Anywhere, the Key is the industry’s leading back-office system, and its Client Portal now has a Fact Find functionality, which has made it even more sought-after!

For those of you who’ve not been lucky enough to bump into one of our team to find out what the Key offers, we’ve popped it all into a blog for you to explore for yourself.

The benefits: they’re for both you and your customer

The modern customer experience is a highlight of the Key’s Client Portal. Not only does the Portal provide your customer with a modern and efficient experience in their dealings with you, but it means that you can offer this as one of the main benefits for them to choose you as their broker.

The ease at which you can keep your clients up to date with the process of their application is another main highlight, with the Client Portal offering 24-hour access to both you and your customers via desktop, laptop, smartphone and tablet.

Safe and secure

Security is a top priority for us, and we ensure that it can be for you as well. The Client Portal enables you to request, send, collate and receive information securely from and to your clients. It acts as a completely secure method of communication and data storage, so you can both ensure anything you share within the Client Portal is kept safe.

Client-focused Fact Find

Of the Key’s capabilities, it’s the digital Fact Find functionality that has received the most interest since its launch – and why it will be the main focus of this blog – so you can enhance your digital customer journey even further.

The Fact Find functionality is designed to enable clients to provide their information as and when it is convenient for them. This information is then automatically attached to their record within the Key. It means that you can collect hard facts before any initial meetings. This saves you time potentially taking up to 30 minutes of the mortgage process and means that potentially your client meeting can focus on advice, rather than spending much of it gathering this information.

You also have the ability to lock or unlock your clients’ access to the Fact Find so that you can control when they can update and access the data.

While the above aren’t the extent of the Key’s highlights, they’re the most notable ones that our customers have found most useful when using the Key and its Client Portal. You can discover plenty more on our dedicated section on our website, where you can also begin your 30-day free trial.

You can find out more about the Key Client Portal, and its online Fact Find, at events up and down the country. Our events page will keep you up to date with where you can find us, and we also share where we are on Twitter @Mortgage_Brain and LinkedIn.

Meet the team: Craig Kerrigan

As you’re reading our blog, you probably know plenty about our company, systems and what we offer. But how much do you know about the people behind Mortgage Brain? Our new series will allow you to meet our team – the people who bring our company to life and are the face of our Mortgage Brain.

You’ve met Lee Richardson, now we’d like to introduce you to Craig Kerrigan, one of our national account managers, who is a Mortgage Brain newbie, and an integral part of our team.

How long have you been working at Mortgage Brain?
Coming up to five months now, I’ve been here since early September 2017.

What does a typical day look like for you?
I guess that the old adage “there’s no such thing as a typical day” is relevant. 
Some days I’ll be out with our existing clients at their premises (wherever around the UK that may be) for account meetings, reviewing where we are currently and also where we’re going together in the future to support their business. Other days, I might be in one of our offices (Bromsgrove or Croydon) for meetings with our sales and/or support teams. I’m home-based officially, so there will also be maybe a couple of days per week for prospecting for new clients and required administration.

 What’s your favourite part of your job?
The client contact, as mentioned above, ensuring that Mortgage Brain and our customers are working 
in partnership to support their businesses and deliver a great service to them and their end customers.

What is your best Mortgage Brain memory?
Our adventures around the UK – from Newcastle to Belfast, to London to Worcester, to Newport – between September and November 2017. We delivered ten Mortgage Vision events to over 1,000 Advisers – 98.9% of whom would recommend them to a colleague and 95% rated the events as either excellent or very good.

It was fantastic to see so many Advisers attend to hear about the marketplace from the Association of Mortgage Intermediaries (AMI), and the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) from ourselves. Feedback was that Advisers and firms still required support with this, and that’s what we’re doing currently. Hard work to put on but fun and rewarding.

Why Mortgage Brain – what drew you to the company?
Upon talking to various people in and around both the industry and the company, their approach to 
 managing both their people and their customers as valuable individuals.

Tea or coffee?
I’m one of those strange and rare Brits that doesn’t drink either! Soup or hot lemon when it’s cold, but, 
generally, juice or water-based drinks (I’d include beer in that!)

You’re stranded on a desert island. Which co-worker would you like to have with you, and why?
Lee Richardson for his dancing skills – anything else I say is liable to be libellous!

What’s your best party trick?
Making myself disappear at midnight!

Do you have any bad habits – especially ones that annoy the rest of the office?!
I love an all-day breakfast sandwich – which I’ve been banned from eating at my desk!

What’s your best quality, and how does it help you at work?
Trying to put myself in the customer’s shoes, ensuring that we try and meet their needs and give them a great service whilst also ensuring that we still remember that we are in business.

A helping hand from ConveyancingBrain

Going the extra mile is in our nature. Whether it’s offering help with the various facets of our systems or providing training, our team are always on hand to ensure you can make the most of what’s we can offer.

ConveyancingBrain, our comparison conveyancing quotation and case tracking system, is no different. We have a dedicated team on board, always ready to provide support – on a completely one to one level.

Personal touch

Once you register with ConveyancingBrain, you’ll receive a call and we’ll answer any questions you may have. You can also access the most frequently asked questions in our help and support section on our website at any time.

Our on-going support then continues throughout your ConveyancingBrain journey. We understand that, for many of you, this may well be your first time offering a conveyancing service to your customer, so understandably there will be questions and nervousness from time to time. Hence why we always on hand whenever you may need it.

We also like to thank every new Adviser using ConveyancingBrain with a box of chocolates or bottle of wine when their first quote becomes the first instruction. Just our way of saying thank you to you for choosing and putting your trust in ConveyancingBrain. We don’t think that you will be disappointed.

Learning more

For the visual learners out there, we also offer a 1-2-1 system demonstration. This has helped plenty of advisers discover the best ways to recommend conveyancing to their clients, and how to use our system to its potential.

Our website also has links to a number of flyers; to help you sell conveyancing to your clients, brush up on your understanding of any terminology, or if you wish to understand the ins and outs of how the case tracking system works, we’ve got it covered.

Keeping in touch

Even if you’re well on your way with your ConveyancingBrain journey, we still like to check in once a month to see how you’re getting on. We make proactive calls to ensure that if you have any concerns or queries, we can put your mind at ease and guide you through.

You’ll also be added to our mailing list, so you’ll be the first to know about any updates to the system and any new features we’ve added in.

Making progress

The smooth progression of cases is in everyone’s best interests, and our case notes tracking system is the perfect way to ensure that everyone knows what is going on. Our case tracking guide runs through exactly where to find and use the case notes in the system, with screenshots to ensure that you’re looking in the right place.

Case tracking enables you and also us to stay up to date with the progress of all your cases, provides you with an audit trail, and provides a three-way communication between you, the solicitor and our team, so that each case moves as smoothly as possible towards completion.

Want to learn more about our service? We’re always more than happy to answer any of your ConveyancingBrain questions – whether you’re already signed up or you’re looking to join us. You can give us a call on our mobile-friendly number 0371 200 0655, or get in touch via social media on both Twitter and LinkedIn.

Meet the team: Lee Richardson

As you’re reading our blog, you probably know plenty about our company, systems and what we offer. But how much do you know about the people behind Mortgage Brain? Our new series will allow you to meet our team – the people who bring our company to life and are the face of our Mortgage Brain.

First up is Lee Richardson, a National Business Development Manager, who is a long-standing member of the team.

How long have you been working at Mortgage Brain?
Just over three years.

What does a typical day look like for you?
Each day can be different which makes the job exciting and challenging. I could be helping one of my accounts with training or maybe an issue they may be having. Or, I could be out on the road presenting our offering to a new prospect account. Also, I help my colleagues win business and deliver a first-class service to our clients.

What’s your favourite part of your job?
Helping our clients understand the benefits of the system and what the system can do for them. Also winning the sale from one of our competitors is a great feeling.

What is your best Mortgage Brain memory?
Doing my Latino Bull dance moves at the Christmas party!

Why Mortgage Brain – what drew you to the company?
It’s a great company to work for, and what drew me to the company was that your views and thoughts are valued. You are not a number at Mortgage Brain, you are looked at as an integral member of the company who can make a difference.

Tea or coffee?
Coffee – Caramel Latte is the drink of champions.

You’re stranded on a desert island. Which co-worker would you like to have with you, and why?
I would say Chris Brown, we would spend our time on the island arguing which is the more manly game to play: Rugby union or Rugby league. We all know it would be Rugby Union – the tougher sport…

What’s your best party trick?
My dance moves and my fabulous singing voice.

Do you have any bad habits – especially ones that annoy the rest of the office?!
Yes, what seems to annoy everyone is my ability to look damn good looking every morning when I come to work…

What’s your best quality, and how does it help you at work?
I would have to say my sense of humour. Sometimes we work in a pressured environment and it’s good to release that pressure sometimes.

Keep your data secure with the Key

Cyber-crime is one of the biggest threats we face in our day-to-day lives – especially for those of us who spend a large chunk of our time on a computer.

With cyber-security of paramount importance, our role here at Mortgage Brain is to keep your client’s details safe and secure within our systems. This means that, as a broker, you are able to ensure that your clients have peace of mind throughout the mortgage advice process.

The Key is one of our flagship systems, and it holds a plethora of data about clients within it. So how do we ensure that it’s all kept safe and sound? We run through the security ins and outs for the Key below, so you can rest assured your data is kept safe with us.

How does it all work?

Like many systems nowadays, the Key stores all its data and documentation in ‘the cloud.’ Access to the system is restricted to approved users, supported by extensive configuration around password format and expiry.

There are then two ways in which this information is stored:

Locally stored information

Whilst data is in use and being updated, the Key operates with limited data stored temporarily on the user’s computer. Once the data is uploaded to the server – by saving it or closing the application altogether – this locally stored information is then removed.

Security at this end is where you come in.

Ultimately, the local computer environment remains under the control of the end user. We recommend you only use versions of Windows that are supported by Microsoft, and that they are kept up to date with regular system updates.

We also recommend that the latest anti-virus software is used at all times, as well as strong passwords changed regularly to keep the highest protection on your data.

Security

Server stored information

And this is where we come in. When we are hosting the Key, all server information is hosted with a leading Internet Service Provider within their data centres. These centres are protected by the latest, most sophisticated software as well as high-tech physical security systems – including CCTV, alarms, 24-hour monitoring and dual authentication access controls.

Personal data and documents within the Key are stored on servers with no direct connection to the internet. Access to them is via services hosted on separate, internet-facing servers. Data is also encrypted when it’s not in use, and access is controlled by firewalls that restrict all access other than that required to run the service.

There are also a number of other precautions we have in place, which are:

  • Microsoft-supported software
    Regular security updates
  • Anti-virus software on all servers

We also employ an independent security company who run regular tests against all aspects of our data security. Based on their findings, we make the changes and improvements necessary to ensure that your data within the Key remains secure.

For more information about how we keep your data safe in all our systems, you can take a look at our PDF here.

How much is a broker worth?

Do you think your neighbours, family and friends really understand what your job entails? In a Legal & General report, they found that more than half of UK consumers didn’t actually realise that a mortgage broker could offer greater product choice than banks or building societies – and about a third believed that brokers worked on behalf of a bank.

In fact, buyers have plenty of misconceptions when it comes to securing a mortgage and the role a broker plays in enabling them to find better deals and save money along the way.

Nearly half (48%) of homeowners and prospective buyers who did not use a broker chose not to do so because they felt their bank or building society offered them a good deal. But, as we know, as a broker, you are able to source mortgages from a much extensive pool, whereas a bank can only offer their own products.

The wider public seem unaware, however, with almost a fifth (19%) believing that brokers and banks have the same access to all mortgage products. In reality, brokers actually have plenty more options – up to eight times more than a bank or a building society. According to research, as of 30th October 2017, there were 3,721 products available direct to consumers, compared to a mammoth 29,886 available via a mortgage broker.

Not only is there a lack of knowledge about the differences between offerings of banks versus brokers, the research also discovered that one in seven respondents thought their bank or building society would be able to give them access to the same impartial advice as a mortgage broker.

The research from Legal & General highlights an education gap within the society, with a plethora of misconceptions surrounding the role of a mortgage broker and the true number of benefits they can provide to their clients. Mortgage brokers should be shouting about their ability to offer a more impartial, comprehensive service with far more financing choices when compared to a single lender. It is all about spreading the word and educating friends, family and neighbours, so that they can then spread their knowledge within their network and eventually to the wider public – all to mutual benefit.

So, next time you are asked what you do by your neighbour, a family member, a client, a friend or even someone you’ve just met, be sure not to hide your light under a bushel. Tell them what a mortgage broker does in fact do and therefore what you REALLY are worth.

2017: A year in review

Enhanced systems, superior industry-leading functionality, our biggest roadshow of Mortgage Vision events yet, plus our milestone 30th birthday party raising money for charity….. How do we begin to review just how great 2017 has been for you and us?

Let’s start with our systems.

You, our valued customer, are at the very epicentre of what we do. That’s why our focus throughout this year – and every year – has been on the enhancements we could make to our products, in order to ensure you are able to make the most of what’s on offer to you, and ensure the mortgage sourcing process is as streamlined and simple as possible.

We began in February with the Key as we launched our secure Client Portal, enabling you and your clients to communicate with each other within the Portal 24/7. It was a move that brought you and your customers closer than ever before, and has allowed increased levels of communications within a highly secure environment.

Our other big announcement this year was our integrated second charge sourcing, which is now available in both MortgageBrain Classic and MortgageBrain Anywhere. The system enhancements broke new ground in our industry, offering the ability to compare as many appropriate first and second charge product side-by-side as you wish.

Provided at no additional cost, the new functionality has since enabled our customers to use both MortgageBrain Classic and, more recently, MortgageBrain Anywhere, unlike any other sourcing systems available on the market.

We also celebrated turning the big 30…

Over 300 of our closest partners joined us in April to celebrate the 30th birthday of Mortgage Brain. Not only did the evening allow us to celebrate the last thirty years in business, but it also meant we were able to raise an incredible £100,000 for our chosen charities: Birmingham Christmas Shelter, Contact the Elderly, Young Dementia, MDS UK Patient Support Group, the Alzheimer’s Society, Shooting Star Children’s Hospice, Compassion International and Haiti Orphanage Project Espwa.

30th birthday

On a fantastic evening of celebration, our CEO, Mark Lofthouse, said: “Reaching our 30th birthday is a significant achievement, and as well as giving us the opportunity to celebrate, it was a perfect opportunity to say thank you to our business partners, friends, colleagues and associates.

“It was also the perfect opportunity to help raise much-needed funds for several great causes and I would like to thank everyone who has helped us raise over £100,000 for charity, which will make a huge difference to the people they help.”

And our Mortgage Vision events were our biggest yet.

We set a new attendance record at our Mortgage Vision roadshow this year, with a 22 per-cent increase an adviser attendance – a new record in our eight-year history of running the annual events.

Almost 1,100 advisers joined us at the free-to-attend events across the UK, learning about the impact of GDPR, the creation of a digital customer experience, and plenty more. The events also include round table sessions from leading industry organisations – a real pivotal part of what makes our events so vital for you to attend.

We didn’t stop there.

This year, we’ve also added to our team to support the company’s growth and product development, reached over 12,000 conveyancing quotes with ConveyancingBrain, seen the 2 million transaction mark reached by Mortgage Trading Exchange (MTE), and announced news about numerous lenders partnering with us.

What does 2018 hold?

For the industry as a whole, GDPR will be at the very top of the agenda, as we all work towards ensuring compliance with the new rules and regulations.

Our Mortgage Vision survey found that the majority of UK advisers are at risk of non-compliance with GDPR, with 81 per-cent of survey respondents still having no implementation of rules or regulations as of November. Our main aim going into 2018 will be educating advisers as much as possible on the importance of GDPR compliance, and ensuring everyone is as prepared as can be as soon as it comes into effect.

The digital advice journey will also take centre stage in the new year and become increasingly important, and we will also be stepping in to ensure you have all the tools you need at your disposal to maximise business opportunities and stay ahead of the game.

We’re also looking forward to even more product enhancements next year, with product investment being at the heart of what we have undertaken in 2017, and a continuing focus for us going forward.

Our biggest and best year yet? That’s up for debate, but we are certainly proud of 2017’s achievements, and we can’t wait to break more new ground and help you be an even more successful adviser next year!