Heritage Bank has announced that it has partnered with technology firm InfoTrack to launch a digital verification of identity (VOI) platform.
As of this week (25 May), the VOI tool is now available for brokers lodging loan applications with the non-major.
The tool enables customers to complete VOI checks by uploading photos of their ID documents and taking a “quick video selfie”. The identification is then verified via document verification services (DVS) that complete facial recognition and two-factor authentication before providing the completed VOI check to Heritage.
Heritage’s head of broker distribution, Stewart Saunders, said the launch of the new tool was particularly timely, given the current COVID-19 environment.
“Where possible, we still prefer borrowers to have their identity verified face-to-face by their broker, Heritage staff member, solicitor or accountant,” Mr Saunders said.
“However, we know that in the COVID environment, face-to-face VOI is not always possible.
“Having the new digital VOI process as an option is great news for brokers and their clients. It gets rid of a major potential hurdle in the application process and helps ensure a simpler and easier lending experience for all.”
The non-major bank said it would review its procedures to ID customers in line with legislative requirements once social distancing measures are removed.
The launch of Heritage’s new VOI tool comes amid a swathe of similar changes in the sector. COVID-19 and its associated social distancing requirements has forced lenders to adopt remote verification of identity (VOI) processes (which the industry has long called for).
However, several lenders have said that these remote VOI requirements would only be brought in temporarily and most likely revert following lockdown. This is largely believed to be due to differing interpretations of the ID laws and the “reasonable steps” test.
The changes have led some industry participants to call on lenders to maintain and standardise these processes post-lockdown to help bring about a true digital mortgage process.
[Related: Heritage appoints new BDM]
Charbel Kadib is the news editor on the mortgages titles at Momentum Media.
Before joining the team in 2017, Charbel completed internships with public relations agency Fifty Acres, and the Department of Communications and the Arts.