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Digital change to revolutionise UK mortgage market, improve borrowers experience

Digital change is radically altering consumer expectations in the mortgage market and raising the bar for what borrowers expect from home buying and owning, according to new research.

Technology has the potential to differentiate what individual lenders have to offer to customers and enhance the competitiveness of the UK mortgage market, says the report from the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML).

Some 84% of companies believe technology could improve customer experiences and relationships, 76% think it could improve their own operational capabilities and 68% that it could put customers in greater control.

The research, conducted for the CML by associate Accenture, reveals how the mortgage market is changing rapidly from apps on which customers can arrange and manage their mortgages to digital property searches and the potential of technology to deliver automated decision making.

But the research also highlights the challenges for lenders in a market in which two thirds of customers prefer to speak to an adviser about complex products and value being able to ask questions and receive a personalised service.

Lenders are investing heavily in technology to enhance the customer’s experience and improve backroom efficiency and profitability. As they do so, the research points out that they will need to develop their own commercial strategies to ensure they can react with agility to future developments and remain responsive to customers in a constantly evolving environment.

Technology also presents challenges for lenders, including the limitations imposed by legacy thinking and systems, the need for greater external collaboration and to keep pace with change, and the way in which compliance with necessary regulation can inhibit the pace of digital development.

‘This report highlights the enormous potential of technology in the mortgage market, a huge, process driven industry with more than 11 million customers. It is already enhancing what lenders are able to offer their customers, as well as improving the efficiency of work behind the scenes,’ said Paul Smee, CML director general.

‘The pace of change will not slow, and firms will need to ensure that their plans for developing technology are underpinned by the clearest possible understanding of all the implications of digital change,’ he added.