Gateway Bank has announced that it has been testing out a platform, developed by Galilee Solicitors, in an effort to digitise the mortgage application-to-settlement process for its customers in NSW, South Australia and Victoria.
The platform “guides customers through the signing and acceptance process while allowing the upload of documents, such as insurance certificates, to satisfy loan conditions” and has two-factor authentication, eliminating the need to mail or email documents.
Lexi Airey, who transitioned from the role of chief customer officer to CEO last month, said the bank has been in the process of transforming its back office to deliver better services to customers.
“Customer-centricity is at the core of our organisation, and service simplification will have a positive flow-on effect both for our valued members and our staff,” Ms Airey said in a statement.
Cordell Smith, managing partner at Galilee Solicitors, said recent changes to state legislation in NSW that enable electronic witnessing – a capability that is already available in South Australia and Victoria – could mean “a new beginning for the mortgage lending industry”.
The mutual bank noted, however, that the regulatory environment in Australia still does not allow universal acceptance of digital mortgages, and that it would therefore continue its work with industry and government to ensure legislation is consistent nationwide and is up to date with market developments.
Digital home loans is becoming more prominent in the industry, with Bendigo and Adelaide Bank confirming in February the launch of its Bendigo Express “instant” while-label home loan product, facilitated by digital lending platform Tic:Toc, and Athena Home Loans entering the mortgage lending market with an entirely digital offering.
UBank, a subsidiary of National Australia Bank, has been playing in the digital mortgage space for some time, releasing new tools over time to add extra layers of digital capability.
For example, in February, UBank announced the availability of a new AI-powered digital home loan application assistant, called Mia (short for My Interactive Agent), allowing customers to converse in natural language with the AI assistant via their desktop or mobile devices at any time about their mortgage applications.
Westpac CEO Brian Hartzer mentioned in a parliamentary hearing in March that St. George Bank currently offers a service that allows customers to apply for a mortgage “through their phone, paperlessly, in about 15 minutes”, adding that he expects Westpac’s rivals to have “some version of that available” in time.
“I think increasingly, phone and digital will become viable options for customers in how they get their mortgages, and some brokers are and will continue to embrace that themselves. There are online brokers now that people can go to,” the CEO said at the time.
[Related: Digital lender launches home loan offering]