Mortgage brokers that harness their data and succeed at embracing open banking will be more successful and have longer lasting relationships with borrowers, three thought leaders have told The Adviser.
Speaking on The Adviser Live webcast for the Responsible lending series: How to harness your data to create a goldmine, run in partnership with Choice Aggregation, the CEO of Choice Aggregation Stephen Moore, open banking specialist Marcus Cann and data marketing strategist Salem Lassoued of Data Organica revealed why brokers should be utilising data to create closer client relations and produce additional revenue streams.
According to Mr Moore, data is “fundamental” to the aggregation business and its aim to help brokers run an effective business and is also the “very core of what a broker does as well: collect customer data on behalf of customers and use that data to help navigate the loan process”.
He continued: “But it also extends into other elements of a broker business – for example, protecting your business is all about ‘know and show’. It’s not enough just to know your clients, you need to be able to document as such... And then you move into the more proactive side, so the collection of data to assist in ongoing customer needs and the collection of data for ongoing reuse, for example, a new loan, etc.”
However, Mr Moore added that “few” brokers adequately capture and utilise their data. He said: “For most brokers, the starting point is to ensure that the data is captured electronically before you do the enhancements. And that is really key; brokers today already collect enormously valuable data from a customer perspective, but very few optimise use of that data today.
“Data is only as good as what you do with it. Ideally, it’s not data for data’s sake, it’s data to get actionable insight.”
The head of Choice Aggregation said that ensuring brokers input their data into their CRM systems was therefore important, as these can be used to see additional enhancements and behaviours.
He explained: “Broker know customers better than anyone else in the value chain in lending. It’s not just around raw data, but it’s insights into their family circumstances, their business circumstances, their preferences, their concerns or aspirations. That is absolute valuable insight and the ability to capture that in CRM is critical. You can then add enhancements, such as property search or property values, or set up a trigger if there is a sale of property about to occur to [tell you to] contact the client, etc.
“There is a whole range of things that you can do in that space, but the fundamental is to capture all the data that you have today,” he urged.
The founder and director of Data Organica, Salem Lassoued, agreed that data quality is of paramount importance before the data keeper can draw any insights from it. He explained: “If you’re not capturing your data digitally, then you don’t have data, you have information…
“And you can’t actually generate insight if the quality of your data is poor – for example, if you are not capturing all the necessary fields, if some is paper and some is digital, etc.”
Mr Lassoued added that brokers also need to ensure that before trying to use their data, they understand what they want from it and have a clear goal that they are aiming towards.
“If you don’t have a strategy for what it is you are trying to achieve, then you are just collecting data for data’s sake,” he said.
Underutilised data sources
According to Mr Lassoued, one of the most underutilised goldmines for data insights that can be used to create tailored marketing or messaging is search engine terms.
The Data Organica director and founder said: “People often under-utilise search data – so you can access Google Trends, for example, and search for mortgage broking or mortgages and you will see the most Googled search terms in your country or in your state… so you can understand from having a look at trends over a period of time, say, the last 12 months of search data around mortgage broking, for example, and just see what are people searching for [and utilise that],” he elaborated.
Meanwhile, open banking specialist and former CIO of software company MOGO Marcus Cann said that he believed that property data and income and expense data represents “the greatest opportunity for brokers right now and [is] probably the most under-utilised”.
“The fundamental value of having data is that it can give you greater insight into the customer that you are trying to assist.
“Data today is really used more at a transactional level, but the amount of data available, not just at a transactional data but property data or even identification data, will be able to give people a greater insight into the consumer, their current wealth journey and where they want to go with that journey over time,” he said.
“It’s the information around property, income and expenses that can create, ultimately, the intimacy with the consumer.”
Mr Cann said that the advent of open banking and better understanding of the data that it provides to brokers could see brokers become more proactive in fulfiling more client finance woes and help with budgeting and other finance needs.
He explained: “Once you begin to understand the problems these consumers have over the life of the wealth journey, you understand there are many more data sets that you should really be looking at in order for you to be the trusted adviser.
“For example, in property. At the moment, property data is very good in [that] we can get valuations upfront so that brokers can get better understanding of how brokers can structure a deal. Or, we can get automated valuations so that it is cost-effective and quick. But that is just at the point of acquisition.
“By having access to that property data over time – to understand how the the value of that property is increasing, equity accumulation on that property, etc. – you can possibly help advise your customer on their next asset or an investment purchase.
“I think that is really important and that data is now available and readily available to be integrated into your CRM.”
Mr Cann added that having an ongoing link to a consumer’s spending habits, if granted permission by the consumer via open banking, would also provide closer relationships and bring brokers closer to financial advisers.
“If you can become trusted with the consumer and get permission to have that ongoing income and expense data, you are then part of their overall journey. So, my broker might ring me, for example, and say: ‘If you could just stop going out once or twice a week, your wealth outcome could be very different over time.’
“Or perhaps, a broker, in time, could say: ‘Look, we are seeing your spending on utility or internet providers and we think that we can do better deals – and all of this is part of the overall journey in helping the consumer with their wealth outcome.”
The comments echo those made by Loan Market’s chief customer experience officer, Jason Furnell, earlier this month, who suggested that the broking industry should be embracing open banking, as its themes and end goals “exactly align” with the end goals of mortgage brokers.
Mr Furnell said: “There are four things that are representative of the ambitions of open banking, and these exactly align with what we’re trying to do. It’s about: customer power, increasing competition, being fair and transparent, and creating opportunities that don’t exist today.”
Find out more about how you can prepare for open banking and use customer data more effectively in The Adviser Live webcast for the Responsible lending series: How to harness your data to create a goldmine, run in partnership with Choice Aggregation.
Annie Kane is the editor of The Adviser and Mortgage Business.
As well as writing about the Australian broking industry, the mortgage market, financial regulation, fintechs and the wider lending landscape – Annie is also the host of the Elite Broker and In Focus podcasts and The Adviser Live webcasts.
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