Neal Jannels is managing director of One Mortgage System (OMS)
It sometimes only takes a few minutes of browsing social media to become exasperated at opinions being bandied around or getting sucked into some kind of new conspiracy theory.
Of course, a good old conspiracy theory is nothing new, but a recent Ofcom survey suggested that unfounded conspiracy theories linking the pandemic with the rollout of 5G technology has become the most common false information seen by Brits.
Exposure to ‘fake news’, the more negative nature of social media and a variety of coronavirus-related scams that have swept the country in recent weeks are just some of the downsides attached to technology for a society which has become ever more reliant on it.
Thankfully, there remain far more tech positives than negatives, and nowhere is this more evident than throughout the mortgage market. A fact underlined through additional research from two different sections of the adviser community.
United Trust Bank’s Broker Sentiment Survey recently outlined that 53% of property and commercial finance brokers have reported that they are open for business with 100% of their pre-COVID-19 capacity.
A further 18% are suggested to be operating at around 75% capacity. The survey, carried out amongst over 120 brokers in the last week of June, revealed a largely positive view around their ability to recover from the effects of the lockdown.
Although 40% of brokers are currently said to be operating with less than a quarter of their staff typically in the office, 72% of respondents expected to have all their staff back working in the office on a regular basis by the end of October 2020.
Additional research from more2life showed that over half (56%) of later life lending advisers think there will be a greater reliance on technology when the equity release market returns to more ‘normal’ operating models.
It found that the majority (73%) of firms have started to use video conferencing apps more during the government lockdown, whilst 61% are relying more heavily on phone conference lines.
Intermediaries are said to have become more reliant on providers’ portals to keep on top of the rapidly changing market than before the pandemic hit.
Reliance on social media platforms to engage with contacts and new customers has also grown during the pandemic with 23% of advisers citing an increased use of LinkedIn and a further 25% using Facebook more since the start of the crisis. Furthermore, around a quarter (26%) of advisers have introduced phone-based advice since the start of lockdown and almost half (43%) have begun to offer advice using video calling systems, having never offered either service previously.
The obvious driving force behind overcoming recent operational issues, and the nation’s recovery plan, is technology. Notably via a reliance on a variety of back and front office systems, solutions and tools which enable a variety of businesses to function and engage with their customers. Imagine these figures if such technology wasn’t around to support advisers and their clients? It doesn’t really bear thinking about.
The impact of technology on our personal and business lives over the past few months is fully apparent, and this is leading to more and more focused conversations with firms across the mortgage and protection markets on how to better utilise its potential and maximise efficiencies now, and in the future.
Don’t get left behind in the tech race. Working with the right types of tech can help you futureproof your business and maintain strong levels of operational capacity in even the toughest of times.