UK mortgage conference calls for more customer-friendly conveyancing systems

Jo Knowsley 9 November 2017

Mortgage lenders urge trade body to “bang the drum” for more joined up legal processes.

UK Finance, the new ‘super’ trade body formed of six merged trade bodies, has been challenged to fight for more joined-up legal processes in mortgage lending.

The body, which includes the Council of Mortgage Lenders, was tasked with fighting for a more customer-friendly process to untangle the conveyancing process, aided by digital panel management.

Speaking at the First UK Finance mortgage conference this week, Greg Went, interim head of secured lending at HSBC, said the home buying process consultation was an opportunity to “hold solicitors to account.”

“Where we can see it, it’s for us to use collective panel management to hold solicitors to account,” he said, during an Innovations session. He added that customer outcomes were important to lenders as an industry.

“It feels as if there is an opportunity because it hasn’t been changed in a long time, to call out UK Finance to start to bang the drum for better outcomes.”

Lender HSBC is working with its legal partners to find ways to motivate and reward those who offer smoother and less complicated conveyancing systems, he added.

Matt Lowndes, managing director of Coreco said he had been visited by several conveyancing firms which promised case tracking and digitised panel management to improve services.

HSBC went on to confirm its new broker-facing platform would soon be live, with a phased roll-out.

Developed in partnership with Capita, the system will return decisions in principle with live updates on application decisions, and instant automated valuation results returned to the broker – which can be overridden for a physical valuation.

Consumers will receive electronic offers and messaging at every stage, a move designed to speed up the underwriting.

Greg Went said that no individual element of the system was ground-breaking, but added that “packaged up” in this way it started to create a much smoother, more simple process.

The move was welcomed by mortgage brokers including Matt Lowndes, of Coreco, who congratulated HSBC for starting to use intermediaries.

“These systems feel as if the lenders have listened and they are learning,” he said. “It’s about making sure all parties in the process are talking to each other.”

Panel moderator and group chair of Mortgage Solutions Victoria Hartley asked whether embedding the broker at the centre of the system automatically created a good outcome for the consumer.

Lowndes said that systems which offered full disclosure – allowing brokers to pre-empt issues such as the correct spelling of names – promised a huge improvement in service delivery.

He suggested adding an Application Programming Interface format on a Coreco portal which the customer could log into to appreciate the benefit of what brokers achieve.

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