How lockdown has transformed lending

Digital Transformation
Customer Experience
March 31, 2021
minutes read

The last year has been a year of disruption.

Sadly, the pandemic and resulting lockdowns have caused significant trauma and heartbreak for many. For many companies it has meant lost business, negative growth and uncertainty. But what the lockdowns have also done is accelerate technological development in extraordinary ways. 

The quiet revolution

‘Working from home’ has had all sorts of consequences. E-commerce has accelerated the decline of the High Street. Video meetings have replaced physical meetings. There’s also been a quieter revolution in the transfer of bulky and sensitive information.

Lending has become impossible without electronic signatures, security and the exchange of sensitive documents. The more complex the financial product, the more complicated the processes. Lenders and brokers have been forced to embrace technology to continue to trade. This has benefitted both them and the consumer, enabling smoother, frictionless financial services, all from the comfort of your home.

Technology comes into its own

Like other innovative companies, we found that our product really came into its own in the context of Covid-19, because people could no longer do business the traditional way – even if they wanted to. Innovation became imperative.

Our platform enables our lenders, borrowers and brokers to share documents verified by secure e-signatures and audit trails. And we use the cloud to allow for easy integration with other tools and software, wherever the user happens to be. For much of that past year, that has been at home.

Lenders can use Nivo to send regular notifications to brokers and to update customers and partners to ensure transparency at every stage of a deal. In the past year, we have witnessed a measurable reduction in client drop-off as a result, since brokers were able to complete deals that would otherwise have been left in limbo.

And we know there are many other examples of innovative companies and technologies allowing everyone to adapt to the new normal.

How technology has shaped our response to the crisis

The mortgage market was affected by the pandemic, both because of the difficulty of viewing homes and dealing with the logistics of buying and selling, and because many homeowners were forced to take mortgage holidays when their incomes dried up.

Lenders have responded by changing the way they operate, for example using existing data to produce virtual or ‘drive-by valuations’ to get property purchases and remortgages agreed. They have also used IT to improve customer service: both by offering more and better online support, and taking advantage of rich sources of data about customers to inform advice when it comes to human consultation.

Driven by this and other factors, the mortgage market is now booming like never before.

A great specific example of innovation in this sector is United Trust Bank, which used Nivo’s technology to launch its acclaimed UTB Chat Hub, providing brokers and customers with a simple and secure way of communicating with the bank during mortgage applications.

Deloitte’s Resilient Leadership framework breaks the way we deal with any crisis into three phases: respond, recover, and thrive. For most of the past year, everyone has been focused on responding. With several vaccines now coming into play – thanks to timely innovation in the medical sector – we can look ahead to recovery.

Those companies that will thrive are likely to be those that seize the opportunities of disruption rather than just reacting. There are now numerous small and hungry challenger banks seeking to capitalise on the disruption to the industry as a whole. And the effective use of fintech is likely to be the difference between success and failure.

So 2021 will not be a return to ‘the old normal’. Instead, we can look forward to new and better ways of doing things. It’s an exciting time to be in the world of lending.

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