Mortgage Solutions - your views wanted

ended 09. November 2021

A journalist at Mortgage Solutions wrote a piece last week about some comments from a lender over the fact that lots of brokers aren't making use of the tech that the lenders have built in order to help with their workloads. He's after your thoughts on why this is - what's holding brokers back from getting stuck in? Does the tech on offer actually make a difference to your workload and the day to day tracking of cases? Have there been any unexpected benefits? And are there any areas that lenders are ignoring but which would really make a difference? Or is all the tech available a load of old Michael Ballacks?



6 responses from the Newspage community

What Tech? No, seriously...what tech? Webchat can take forever to get connected to, and you can often get contradictory answers to questions. Usually, if I'm calling a BDM or lending team, it's to get a reply to a question that isn't easily formulated in a couple of lines on webchat. There's this mistaken idea that webchat is a good thing. In the main, it isn't; I hate it with a passion. Get rid of webchat and have more people on the phones. Lenders have tried to over-engineer a solution to a problem that they created by introducing webchat. It's not often that I name drop, but by far, the lenders with the best BDM's in my experience are Halifax, Accord & Mansfield BS. Why? Because you can always talk to a human. Yes, tech is, of course, essential but don't forget that brokers have myriad roles, constantly sat looking at screens, interest rates, working stuff out, acting as counsellors to clients, negotiating with estate agents, writing reports, dealing with solicitors and responding to email in the way only Sisyphus understands; it's easy to overlook, but in this ever more technological age, it's essential to have some human contact.
Lender tech systems vary in quality and reliability greatly, they are also on the whole very poorly communicated to the brokers expected to use them. Webchat is great, when it's actually switched on and not all lenders use the same quality of personnel to staff the webchat as you often get over the phone - leading to trust issues in terms of the information you are given. You also get a few where they can't talk on webchat about a specific case, due to data protection issues. So the quality of service is very different between lenders. Other, more advanced systems, such as data migration from sourcing to applications are again hit and miss - not all lenders are signed up to platforms such as MTE and the platforms themselves have limitations, meaning sometimes the data isn't fully migrated, or ends up in the wrong box. It therefore becomes simpler to default straight to the lenders own site and enter the data directly. For future IT solutions to really gain traction they need to be adopted by a larger proportion of lenders, all agreeing to same systems and standards. The platform needs to be robust and someone needs to take responsibility for the data and outputs - many brokers will have had heated debates when an IT system has given contradictory information to the lender, but it's neither who are at fault; the lender will blame the IT firm and the IT firm will blame the lender - the broker is left to somehow sort the whole mess out with their client.
What tech? Seriously, I'm not sure what the lenders have implemented that is being referred to. This suggests that they've done an awful job of communicating it. And I'm sorry, an email will not cut the mustard if you want to get something out there. I've got my first in person BDM meeting next week in over 18 months. Maybe now BDMs are back on the road that'll be a more effective way to get the message out. It's great having fancy systems to help us, but if that means dozens and dozens of extra systems, one per lender, it'll never take off. A system that would really help brokers is one where you aren't kept on hold for 30 minutes to get a simple question answered. Having your questions answered correctly and quickly is far more powerful than some novelty tech and can win a lender the business as the broker has confidence to place the case with them. Hats off to the lenders that actually provide that.
The article focuses on Brokers needing to use the technology or BDM's would be taken away. Mortgage BDM’s are Business Development Managers, but whose business are they employed to develop? My experience of Mortgage BDM’s (with one of two notable exceptions) is that they want to visit brokers to tell them about the latest criteria. Brokers want quick answers to client research questions when they have a case, whether that be via a call to a BDM or a Webchat. Mortgage BDM’s should be on the phone and webchat available to brokers instead of on the road for half their working week.
Rob Peters, of said: To me, it’s a case of the three ‘Ls’: Loss of faith in the technology; Lack of knowledge; or Laziness. We know that embracing new tech works for us as we are a modern forward thinking business looking to best serve our clients. Getting prompt answers to queries from mortgage lenders is integral to us delivering for our clients as it means we can respond and react faster. We’re constantly reviewing our working practices to ensure we engage with customers and product providers in an efficient and accurate manner. For us, lender's online chat facilities can offer a fantastic way to quickly engage with the lender, whilst at the same time providing an accurate audit trail of the query and resolution, should a challenge occur at a later date. That said, within professional adviser circles many brokers are acutely aware that some mortgage lenders online chat facilities are currently operating below par. Staff on some helpdesks can seem to lack the training and experience to answer broker's queries, or discuss more complex matters confidently. This in turn promotes a lack of broker confidence as the feeling is they cannot rely on the information received strongly enough to hang their 'advice 'hat upon. Of course, there will always be older inflexible mortgage brokers less able to embrace tech and adapt to new working practices, preferring to speak to a person on the phone because, 'that's what we've always done'. Promoting the availability of new communication options and improving broker awareness is a positive move for the industry, but so is having a balance and choice of communication methods available to brokers to keep the wheels of mortgage advice turning for all.
The half-hearted approach to offering Broker solutions is what lets lenders down. Web chat can be very useful and we use it daily but with some lenders they only offer criteria information and not specific case updates meaning a lengthy phone call anyway to a BDM/sales team for a case update. If case updates and the web chat function is really effective then yes absolutely this can improve a brokers workload. A quick message to a BDM on web chat can give you the answer needed. Furness are a great example of how this works well.