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Network deals with threat of lenders' online services

Network deals with threat of lenders' online services

A mortgage network has set out its plans for how it will develop its online offering after recently launching a robo-mortgage advice service.

JLM Mortgage Services has said it is looking at developing an app to allow clients to keep track of their loan over the length of its term.

It is also in discussions with a protection advice firm to learn how it can embed protection advice into its proposition.

Last month JLM launched its Virtual Adviser service, which allows clients seeking residential or buy-to-let mortgage advice to research the range of potential mortgage options available to them without the need to register any initial details.

Sebastian Murphy, head of mortgage finance at JLM, said lenders were increasingly going directly to the consumer to remortgage their property and brokers would need to find new ways of keeping in touch with their clients after the deal goes through.

He said: "We are gearing up an app with a dashboard so every month you will get a 'ping' on your phone to say you have got £396,000 on your mortgage, for example.

"The very hard thing in our industry is the age-old problem of how to stay in touch with someone. It is very rare that you will be speaking to them regularly.

"Some firms do an annual newsletter about what is going on in the mortgage market but nobody reads that."

He added that the app could offer news from the mortgage industry and on the latest rates, as well as keep clients up to date on when their fixed rate deal ends.

Rory Joseph, director at JLM, said: "The big threat to the broker market is not robo-services but lenders' own online services."

Mr Murphy and Mr Joseph said they were currently talking to a "very big" protection advice firm about ways of integrating protection into JLM's online mortgage advice process.

Mr Joseph said he hoped the company could create a hybrid between a high-volume, impersonal robo-advice service and a low-turnover, face-to-face traditional mortgage broker business.

He said: "A lot of people come to us having found their mortgage, they just want to make sure it is the right one for them.

"Mortgage brokers are very much in danger of basically making ourselves redundant because we work in a world where technology gives us loads of information."

Mr Joseph added JLM was hoping to grow to reach around £2bn of lending, compared to the £1.2bn it currently does, but does not have ambitions to grow much further beyond that.

He said: "We have no desire to be a huge amorphous conglomerate."

damian.fantato@ft.com 

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