Google reveals valuable mortgage data for brokers

A senior Google executive has shared valuable data on how Australians research their mortgage options and what drives them to choose one lender over another.

Speaking at the Better Business Summit in Brisbane last week, Google's industry head for performance solutions, Susan Wheeldon-Steele, said that in the home loan space, 60 per cent of all Google searches are for mortgage calculators.

“When you’re looking at this data on surface value, you may not understand how it will give you business,” Ms Wheeldon-Steele said.

She explained that 50 per cent of those using online mortgage caluclators do so to work out repayments, 20 per cent to work out how much they can borrow, but over 10 per cent are looking to see what would happen if rates change.

“Another similar number are using calculators to find out whether they should buy or keeping renting,” Ms Wheeldon-Steele said.

“These are two really undervalued pieces of data. Almost three out of four people said a good mortgage calculator experience had an impact on who they chose for their home loan.”

The Google executive told Queensland mortgage brokers about recent developments in the US mortgage market, where technology is allowing home loans to be approved within minutes.

“Rocket Mortgage from Quicken Loans, the third-largest mortgage lender in the US, allows you to be fully approved for a home loan in eight minutes,” Ms Wheeldon-Steele said. “It’s not about making it easier for people to qualify. It’s making it easier for the people who do qualify.”

She explained that the Rocket Mortgage integrates a customer’s bank statements, credit cards, and credit score in a seamless digital process, eliminating the human need to gather all necessary documents and send them to the lender.

Quicken Loans forked out US$5 million for a 30-second advertisement at the Super Bowl, which caused a flurry of news and opinion pieces in the US media about the product.

Commenting on the power of customer data, Ms Wheeldon-Steele said brokers are in the perfect position to drive their businesses forward using the information provided to them by clients.

“You have a colossal amount of information on the people you work for,” she said. “You know how your processes work.

“What are you doing with that information to improve your processes or your customer centric approach to give your business a competitive advantage?”

The Better Business Summit arrives in Melbourne today, where brokers will get the chance to hear more about the power of customer data from Ms Wheeldon-Steele.

[Related: Google mortgage play threatens brokers]

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