“The ultimate driver of change is the customer. From our perspective, this comes down to which segments of the markets our clients want to be exposed to. I think there is a segment of the market that wants to transact digitally — the pressure is on us to make sure that we can access that segment.”
Insightive.tv: Can we simply begin with an overview of your customer contracting process?
Andrew: Computershare Loan Services is fundamentally a B2B business, so our B2C element is mostly a derivative on dealing with our client’s customers, rather than our own. But, in this context, we do offer contracting services to end consumers around the mortgage origination process. If a customer wants to take out a mortgage for the first time we support that process at every stage — quotes, advice, signing and everything that sits around that. This is a process that involves a lot of documentation. We have both a telephone and online version of that customer journey. Once that loan is completed and on our systems, we then effectively support that loan until the mortgage redeems.
The post-completion side is quite digitised. We just went live with a new solution called iConnect Online. This allows customers to go online and see their balance, make a payment and execute various elements of post-completion services. In terms of new lending, we are in the process of building a truly digital version of that service.
Insightive.tv: What are the largest challenges you face in building this new system?
Andrew: There are two challenges. The first is the necessity to prioritise investments. There are invariably lots of things you want to do in parallel, but only a limited number of resources and time. Our initial focus has been on post-completion services where the volumes are high and the processes straightforward. Now that we have finished this we are moving to the front-end of the process. It is really about making those priority calls and being realistic about how much you can get done at each step of the processes.
Digitising the front-end has brought us to the second big challenge — the complexity of the product. From a regulatory point of view, it is possible to have an “execution only sale” — one which is not advised. This is something that we do via a digital channel. But the FCA has made it clear that they do not think the majority of mortgages should be unadvised. For the average person seeking a mortgage, advice is a crucial part of that journey.
Insightive.tv: What are the outcomes you are hoping to achieve through digitisation?
Andrew: The main goal is to make the whole process more accessible to end consumers. The reality is that some consumers want to transact over the web. The new lending process for mortgages is a fairly time-consuming one that requires a lot of different documents and information to be aggregated. Being able to dip in and out of that process online, when you have time available, is more convenient than committing one or two hours to a phone based interview. The whole process ends up being more efficient and allows customers to supply all the needed information in multiple chunks at times that suit them.
From a consumer’s point of view, that is quite attractive. It fits in with how people run their lives these days. We do have to keep in mind, however, that this is not a process that everybody wants. Just as the web-based interface is beneficial to customers in certain circumstances, we have to offer options to the customers who would rather engage with us through direct conversation.
Insightive.tv: Do you expect the customer journey to undergo significant transformation in the near future — will it become more digital?
Andrew: I think it will become more digitised. One of the next steps we are looking at immediately is the ability to sign documents online. At the moment, doing the process via email requires documents to be printed out and sent back. Online signing is something that can work in tandem with advised processes over the phone and would allow customers to sign documents online while speaking with someone at a call centre. This would improve both the customer experience and our internal efficiency.
In the larger sense, I think the world is becoming more digital, and I would expect to see greater use of digital channels. But, as I said, there are both regulatory and practical challenges to bringing the mortgage journey entirely online in the near future.
When we design the customer experience over the web we have to make sure that it is compliant, and a big part of that is making sure that the right documents are being supplied at the right points in time and that the information is being presented in a clear and understandable manner for the consumer.
The ultimate driver of change, however, is the customer. From our perspective, this comes down to which segments of the markets our clients want to be exposed to. I think there is a segment of the market that wants to transact digitally — the pressure is on us to make sure that we can access that segment.
Andrew Jones joined Computershare in 2014 when the company acquired Homeloan Management Limited, the UK’s best-rated mortgage servicing business based in Skipton, Yorkshire, where he was Chief Executive Officer. He has extensive experience in management and IT operations, having worked as COO and then CEO at HML for almost a decade before the deal. Andrew has a proven track record of delivering large-scale business change within the financial services industry. Since joining the company, Andrew has overseen the appointment of Computershare Loan Services by the UK government to service mortgages of UK Asset Resolution and helped continue the business create digital solutions for innovative purposes. We spoke with Andrew to get insight into the state of digital contracting at Computershare Loan Services and gain his perspective on the future of the mortgage industry.
Computershare is a global market leader in financial administration. Founded in 1978 in Melbourne, Australia, they entered the UK market in 1995 and now employ over 16,000 people in twenty countries — servicing over 125 million customers. Computershare provides technical solutions to other businesses. Their original successes involved providing specialists computer bureau services to Australian share registrars. Growing globally through acquisition, Computershare has expanded organically within the new markets it has entered. Computershare Loan Services, which also operates in the USA and Ireland, is a major aspect of their UK operation. The business is the largest third-party mortgage servicer in the country, administering over half of all outsourced mortgages on behalf of a wide variety of clients.
THE DIGITAL FUTURE OF CUSTOMER CONTRACTING series