Lenders are accelerating the movement towards digital and self-service initiatives, tempered by the simultaneous movement towards increased human involvement at key points in the mortgage process – in particular the underwriting stage, the Iress’ Mortgage Efficiency Survey has found. 

Between April and June 2020, 36 UK lenders were surveyed via video conference, the interviews showed that COVID-19 has required lenders to change, but it has also provided an opportunity to adapt to the ‘new norm’ in a strategic way

This includes the revision of technology development plans, in place before the crisis, to reflect a more digital landscape, where data and connectivity are mandatory for improved efficiency.

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Lenders need to engage with consumers remotely due to social distancing and other restrictions is also driving digital adoption.

Steven Carruthers (pictured), Iress’ principal consultant for mortgage lending, said: “While there continues to be a drive to automate as much as possible, a hybrid approach incorporating human interactions at key moments in the mortgage process is also proving important.

“Lenders recognise they need to continue to automate but the balance point varies between lender peer groups, and all see the value in this hybrid approach. COVID-19 has placed a laser focus on how lenders and their customers want to engage with each other from here. The powerful combination of technology and humans is at the heart of this.

“We’ve changed our approach to the survey this year, making it far more qualitative to reflect the subtleties and nuances in the market. This has meant we’re able to uncover trends purely quantitative surveys cannot.”