Challenger bank targets mortgage approvals in hours

Challenger bank targets mortgage approvals in hours

Technology provider Iress is working with Atom Bank to move towards mortgages being approved in hours rather than weeks, the company’s managing director has said.

Simon Badley, managing director of Iress UK, said his company was building a mortgage platform with Atom Bank, which will be ready later in the year.

Atom will be the first client to implement the latest version of Iress’s mortgage sales and origination product. This has been re-engineered to enable the system to meet the needs of challenger banks and regional building societies as well as traditional high street lenders.

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Mr Badley said: “It is going very well and it is a really exciting project. They are very different in the way they approach retail banking.

“If you take Nationwide, with which we have a very strong relationship, as an example, it gets the majority of its mortgage business through intermediaries because of the increased regulatory risks that came about through the Mortgage Market Review.

“There are some organisations that are thinking that, as we move through the next few years, people will become more self-directed in the mortgage market, and some of our conversations are about how we enable that.

“Could you create a way in which people can get a mortgage in hours, not weeks? Atom believes you could make it so straightforward that people would be able to do it, because the friction would be taken out of the process.”

He added the product Iress is developing with Atom would be “going in that direction”.

Atom Bank was the brainchild of Anthony Thomson, founder of another challenger, Metro Bank, and Mark Mullen, former chief executive of First Direct.

It is set to offer products through mobile applications and online.

It secured a licence from the Bank of England last year and expects to launch in the second half of 2016.

Neil Woodford is the biggest shareholder in the Durham-based challenger bank.

Adviser view

David Hollingworth, associate director of Bath-based London & Country, said: “Let us remember that the mortgage market in the last peak was reaching the point where instant offers were available, but clearly that was a different time.

“Things have moved on, and the reason why reaching offer stage has got longer is because we have requirements around paperwork.

“If you can smooth some of that out, which you would imagine technology could hold some of the answer to, then you could get a speedier process – but will that change the front line?”