July 15 – The technology revolution

With the arrival of the Apple watch, the digital revolution marches on.  Even if Google glasses did not quite match expectations, this is a case of the product solution being too early in their evolution to be accepted.  Technology is often an area where early adapters beat the true innovators.  For those who have worked with Pebble watches over the last two years, the Apple arrival will be no surprise.  The availability of multiple Apps via this medium is what will provide traction.  Many thought the i-pad was an unnecessary development but with over half of UK homes now having tablet technology, it is the desktop computer that is looking redundant.

The investment by Barclays in providing free wifi access in all its branches is just the start of what is to come in financial services.  Our sourcing systems are working hard to make their applications tablet savvy, and we can expect many lenders to be coming at us with new consumer based processes to deliver mortgages within the next 2 years.

They are working flat out on developing new IT based delivery modules. These are likely to go all the way from the consumer completing their own application form to assisting them select the most relevant mortgage product.  This can then be validated at under-writing and the process allowed to flow through to completion.  Whether these are execution only or fully advised processes is not the issue – it is the fact that app based functionality and on-line capacity will allow consumers direct access to data and screens that are only available to a broker today that will transform the market.

We are already seeing the estate agency and valuation worlds being revolutionised by tablet technology.  Agents can upload sales particulars for the house and it can be on-line before they leave.  Surveyors can now complete their valuation and deliver it to the lender before they reach their next appointment.

Consumer expectations of being able to see and transact now is growing.  Lenders will build capability for them to do this direct.  The broker community needs to calculate where it can add value and ensure that they also can interface into lender technology but with consumer facing apps that provide what the new tech savvy borrower wants and needs.  It will need money to be invested.