Mortgage brokers have staunchly defended face-to-face customer service following the launch of several customer-brokered mortgage platforms and the emergence of robo-advice.
A number of mortgage professionals told The Adviser that despite the flexibility and convenience promised by new mortgage platforms, relationship building remains the most crucial aspect of the broking business.
“Technology is fantastic but at the end of the day it’s a relationship business,” Jeremy Kruse of Smartline commented, “we can’t automate the process fully … there are some things that technology can’t replace”.
In recent months, a series of fintech business including Hero BroKer, uno and Joust, have descended on the mortgage market, eager to establish themselves as legitimate distribution channels.
Hero BroKer, launched earlier this year, allows borrowers to compare home loan rates, apply for a mortgage and receive approval for finance.
Nancy Youssef of Classic Finance said that when it comes to purchasing a home loan, “the basics don’t change; people still want to deal with a real person. It's still very much about a relationship”.
Scott Beattie of Cube Central agreed, pointing out that every customer is different.
“Lending is so different depending on each individual client’s circumstances and that’s where [brokers] come into play,” he said.
“You can get really, really ultra-vanilla deals that are always going to be really tough to compete with — but the analogy I like to use with my clients is that if you’re flying a plane you like to have a human being sitting in the front of the plane in case we get turbulence,” he said.
“We have a welcome-pack which we give to our clients [in which] we talk about some of the things that can go wrong and why it’s good to have us as the captain piloting you towards purchase or refinance, because sometimes we can overcome [turbulence], sometimes we can’t.”
Smartline’s Jeremy Kruse highlighted that brokers add value to the customer experience of finding an appropriate product that suits their specific needs and guiding them through the purchase, dealing with a real estate agent, arranging finance and settlement.
“It’s a process which most people aren’t that familiar with. It’s not something that they do on a regular basis so they need someone to hold their hand through that,” he said.
[Related: Borrowers become brokers with new platform]