Tech is adding to mortgage complexity: Spencer

Former Stargate CEO and mortgage industry veteran Brett Spencer believes that technology has actually made the mortgage process less efficient than it was years ago.

During a panel discussion at the Finance Brokers Association of Australia (FBAA) conference in the Gold Coast last week, Mr Spencer said that technology can be a hindrance to brokers and their customers, claiming that it has complicated the lending process.

“[Back] in the old days, we wrote more loans, we wrote them quicker, we wrote them faster doing it on pieces of paper,” Mr Spencer said. “Technology has made the processes more difficult.”

Mr Spencer added that the large volume of loan products offered through technological platforms, combined with tightened regulatory conditions imposed by both the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) and the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA), have made the process “too complex”.

“Fifty-five of all loans are coming through brokers because consumers are too confused. Technology won’t fix that, and can’t fix that,” Mr Spencer said.

Firstmac owner Kim Cannon agreed that technology had complicated the process, but stressed that the industry had to “adapt”. He highlighted the benefits of technology, particularly as a “lead generation tool”.

“I agree with Brett. Years ago it was simple, but we only had one product to sell years ago,” Mr Cannon said. 

“The customer is changing, [so] we have to change with the customer.”

Speaking about the future role of technology in the industry, Mr Cannon noted that he didn’t believe certain technologies, like online lending, will make broking obsolete, but will rather play a significant role. 

“I still don’t believe that there is a person born that will, even in this day and age, apply online and never talk to a human,” the Firstmac founder said.

“[Computers] will step up to the plate and continue to take over a certain role, but it doesn’t take you out of the equation.”

[Related: Customers happier with digital banking experience]

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Charbel Kadib

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