Technology has played a big part in what we do in the mortgage industry for some time now. So much so, that we’ve probably taken its gradual introduction and optimisation for granted over the years, and only truly realised its full potential during 2020.

Take, for instance, the digital optimisation of the application process with brokers and lenders collaborating on a single platform, or via a distribution partner.

As the market moved away from paper-based applications, the transition brought significant improvements to the broker journey and that of the lenders themselves. Being able to manage the entire application end-to-end in this way sped up and simplified the mortgage process to a point where it’s hard to imagine how we ever managed without it.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the benefits of technology came into their own, bringing with them a whole new level of appreciation.

In the absence of face-to-face interaction, the ability to work digitally has not only helped to keep the industry moving, it’s shone a light on how tech can be used to optimise mortgage applications. Our Case Owners, Regional Development Managers, and Telephony teams have been able to maintain relationships with brokers across the UK previously inaccessible without heading out on the road.

It’s clear that brokers and their customers are becoming more familiar and accepting of technology. They’re also more confident than ever in using it. As we move forward, we know there is incredible importance placed on digitising the speed at which a lender can process your application through to offer to survive and thrive. Those who aren’t quick to adapt will, unfortunately, show to brokers that they’re not actively involved in providing the service levels intermediaries need.

Embracing digital communication

Here at Pepper Money, we believe that digital adoption shouldn’t start and end with the application process. It should be utilised wherever it makes life easier for brokers and their customers.

This starts with visible and recognisable elements like a well-designed and informative website, active and engaging social channels and responsive online service. But it also extends to how we work behind the scenes.

For example, as part of our recent improvements, we’ve been able to add on new features, such as a revamp of our telephone system, which now enables brokers to get through to their Case Owner by simply inputting the last six digits of their Application Reference number.

For brokers working with us for the first time, we’ve produced training modules to help make the application process simpler and accessible via our Knowledge Centre. We want to ensure all our digital tools like calculators and criteria guides are easy to use whether you’re submitting your first application or your hundredth.

Several years ago, we implemented a CRM system to ensure we can effectively service our intermediaries and keep in regular contact with them. As with many things at Pepper Money, we take a continuous improvement approach to this CRM. Over the last year or so, we’ve been able to expand its scope to support our team members across the business.

These internal features of our service won’t be noticed by people looking from the outside in, but they’re critical to us delivering a fast and effective service to brokers and maintaining strong relationships with them.

Should the mortgage application process go fully digital?

So, should everything be online?

To be honest, brokers have largely spent the last 18 months working from home, so one of the things we’re hearing most now is how pleasing it has been for them to meet with our Regional Development Managers face-to-face again.

Technology has held the industry together with Teams and Zoom, but face-to-face is making a return. Brokers want to hear how specialist lenders can best help their customers, and for this, face-to-face meetings and presentations will work best (using the wonders of their laptops and other technology if needed!).

As much as we’ll always look to implement new technology in the application process, we believe that our human approach to underwriting is why brokers and their customers are giving us rave reviews via our Trustpilot channel.

So, for Pepper Money, it’s about embracing digital, but not replacing what already works. In this sense, we’re combining tech with human interaction to offer the best of both worlds.

Technology is changing the mortgage industry for the better, whether you’re a lender, broker, or customer. Explore ways to make the most of it and grow with it. But always do it in a way that benefits your people, no matter how frequently they engage.

You can keep up to date with our latest digital improvements and product updates via our dedicated first charge Intermediaries Hub on LinkedIn, and our Twitter channel. For more information on our Pepper Money can help you with your customer case, please message Ryan Brailsford on LinkedIn.