Technology is playing an increasingly greater role in the equity release market, and it's important that those operating in the sector - especially lenders - get the balance right so technology doesn't act as a barrier to offering great service, but instead provides real value to the user experience.
Up until five years ago Pure were still only accepting paper applications - something which seems quite alien now. The introduction of online applications made a real game-changing improvement not only to the delivery times, but also to the quality of information coming through, and can be viewed as a prime example of how technology used in the right way benefits both ourselves and our broker community.
The importance of evolving
At Pure we try to be as transparent as possible with our brokers by offering helpful tools to assist in your day to day management of applications. We feel that our case tracking tool has truly brought the application process to life, and has allowed advisers to not only track the application through its lifecycle, but to also be provided with the key dates, loan details and valuations amounts which are essential to both brokers and customers alike. The mobile app has provided an additional step forward, by offering push notifications of these key milestones and information points throughout the process.
Over the course of the year we have seen an increase in involvement with many sourcing sites as the appetite to create more streamline working solutions gains momentum. From our perspective, affording advisers access to key information has been a priority aim in recent times, leading to technological developments with full API integration with the Iress and Advise Wise sourcing platforms to provide real-time data and instant KFIs to advisers when requests are raised. We've similarly overhauled the product resources on our website, streamlining the document areas but also adding explainer videos, criteria searches, and representative client scenarios.
Meeting customer needs by striking a balance
Over the coming years it will be interesting to see how technology does move forward in the equity release sector, but it's safe to say that it will play more of a part in our customers' lives in some form or other. Consequently, as a lender we will look to offer alternatives to our customers as they look to move away from traditional methods of communication to being more tech-aware. However, at the same time the industry should still move with caution so as not to alienate many of those individuals who appreciate the personal interaction of a phone call or the signing of a paper application form, and it's imperative that, collectively as an industry, we get the balance right.
Innovation cannot take place in a vacuum, and we're committed to creating solutions that meet both adviser and customer needs. As a result, I'd like to take this opportunity to underline the fact that we always welcome feedback from our user base, as it will be their ideas that will help drive and innovative our future technology deliveries.
With our downsizing protection, if the clients have held their account for at least 5 years and they decide to move to a property that doesn’t meet our lending criteria, we will waive the ERCs after this time. The main point to note is that the client must have the intention to port their lifetime mortgage for the ERCs to be waived.