High street lenders sign up to digital mortgages

High street lenders sign up to digital mortgages

The government's digital mortgage service has been adopted by 16 lenders since being launched a year ago.

HM Land Registry’s digital service 'sign your mortgage deed' enables people to sign their mortgage digitally when remortgaging, removing the need for pen-on-paper signatures and witnesses to be present.

It was launched 12 months ago and to date 16 lenders, including Coventry Business Society, Nationwide, HSBC, RBS and Natwest, and Atom bank have adopted the process.

Lord Henley, parliamentary under secretary of state at the department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, said: "People are doing an ever-increasing amount online, from shopping to banking, e-learning to gaming. Now they can remortgage their home online as it’s quicker, more convenient, and fits their busy lives.

"HM Land Registry’s digital transformation is continuing to make it easier for homebuyers by embracing new technologies like blockchain, enabling them to become the world’s leading land registry."

The service is currently available for people applying for a remortgage on their house, and the government said there were no immediate plans to expand to all mortgages until further testing is complete.

However, HM Land Registry is looking at further ways of improving the homebuying process, particularly around the use of blockchain technology.

In a recent trial, the sale of a semi-detached house in Gillingham, Kent, was used to show how the emerging tech could be used to reduce delays and stress when buying a home by demonstrating a digital transfer of ownership.

Stefan, the seller of the home in Gillingham, said: "It was really straightforward. It shows how tech like this can help make everything so much quicker. If this is the way forward, it’s going to make everything easier."

Robert Sinclair, chairman of the Association of Mortgage Intermediaries, said: "As more organisations embrace the opportunities delivered by developing technology the hitherto complex mortgage journey should become simpler.

"The use of digital mortgage deeds for remortgage is a simple step forward which we hope the Land Registry can continue to expand into purchase.

"Making the administration journey simpler leaves more time for great conversations which ensure the consumer gets great advice and the right products every time."

But he added conveyancing should also be included in the digital process. 

He said: "Moving away from paper into an electronic journey will speed to the process significantly and reduce aborted transactions which will save everyone involved for heartache and costs."

Conveyancers Enact, Hugh James, MyHomeMove and O’Neill Patient are already ready to use the service, according to the government. It added it is working with other mortgage lenders and conveyancers to help them get ready to use the new service.

David Hollingworth, associate director at L&C Mortgages, said: "As we all use technology more and more in our day to day lives the expectation will be for a seamless journey through to completion of a remortgage.