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Technology is helping brokers stay compliant and keep competition alive
FOR TONY CARN, sales director at NextGen.Net, efficient and standardised compliance is a focus. Ensuring that brokers have access to the best possible tools for electronic lodgement and assessment of loan applications is of high importance, with new compliance measures emerging as a key issue in the past 12 months.
Carn intends for NextGen.Net to stay at the forefront.
“The success of the broker industry is in our DNA,” says Carn. “Our future is intimately tied to theirs, so we work closely with both brokers and lenders to ensure the industry continues to thrive.”
The NextGen.Net platform, ApplyOnline, itself plays a pivotal role in ensuring compliance, particularly through implementing common reporting standards and requirements and objectives for responsible lending.
Living expense capture and other modelling are factored in.
Serviceability calculations are typically embedded into the application itself, so even before it’s sent brokers can see if it aligns with the lender’s policies.
“ApplyOnline and the compliance benefits it brings are well embedded for new loans; however, the majority of variations continue to be done in a non-standard paper-based way,” says Carn. “Approaching variations with the same solution as new loans is something we see as particularly important to ensure a standardised approach to compliance for all applications.”
Tools such as these are something that Carn sees as key.
In principle, products are becoming more streamlined, but the reality of regulatory changes means that requirements grow ever more comprehensive.
“We’re seeing more and more consumers turning to brokers to navigate the loan landscape,” says Carn. “Our aim is to minimise the burden on the broker and consumer alike by working with them to ensure there are uniform standards and solutions.”
Building the case for change
It’s clear that tech has not only made significant inroads in broker businesses but is becoming an increasingly essential tool.
The advantages are obvious: faster and more accurate loan applications, broader insights from lenders, and an overall better experience for customers.
It’s for these reasons that Carn remains a staunch advocate of keeping up to date with the latest changes in the industry, even if not all of them are ultimately adopted by an organisation.
Having a finger on the pulse is nothing short of essential. Yet Carn isn’t a fan of change for change’s sake. In the broker tech space, it’s crucial to present a realistic case before sweeping reforms are made.
“A business case needs to start by answering the question, ‘What problem am I trying to solve?’” says Carn.
“Is it a real problem, or are there other issues we should be looking to solve instead?” The same applies on the human front.
“Our aim is to minimise the burden on both the broker and client by working with them to ensure there are uniform standards and solutions” Tony Carn, sales director, NextGen.Net
The same applies on the human front.
“Managers need to be asking their staff which areas they feel the need to be upskilling in,” he says. “Without the right investment in employees and tech, there can be a real risk that the company itself falls behind its competitors.”
Risks, challenges and rewards
The mortgage broking industry is not without its own risks and challenges as potential regulatory changes loom in the wake of the royal commission.
As has the wider industry, Carn and NextGen.Net have been watching the findings closely. “We’re hoping that sanity will prevail and keep competition in the broker market alive,” says Carn.
“Does the industry need to invest more heavily in how they can handle the needs of existing customers and the quality of their transactions?” Carn says.
“That’s something we’re constantly asking ourselves, because we need to ensure we can service existing customers properly too.”
Yet there is also significant cause for optimism.
Open banking and comprehensive credit reporting are gaining considerable popularity, and NextGen.Net is well prepared for their advent.
“We’re well positioned in that space as we’re already familiar with the API, which open banking uses,” says Carn.
“Additionally, drafts of technical standards are now being published; NextGen.Net is already looking at the best ways to be involved.”
But perhaps most of all, the ability to adapt and embrace change presents opportunities, with survival of the fittest remaining a key maxim.
“In an age of new technologies, personal trust remains the key disruptor,” says Carn. “That’s something crucial for brokers to remember. Technology enables a better experience for everyone, but its use is still contingent on the skill of the broker.”