"In the post-pandemic world – we hope it comes soon - we shall need to adapt to the type of advice that clients will need to get them back on track."
We spoke to Michael Taylor, director of sales at Click2Check, about what benefits its Credit Assess product can offer brokers and why the recent spike in non-standard lending activity is set to continue.
FR: You came on board as director of sales for Click2Check in July. Tell us about the Credit Assess product and the benefits it can bring them and their clients?
In short, the Click2Check Credit Assess product is all about securing the client’s full financial information and credit details to ensure they can match the right client to the right product first time. The adviser sits firmly in the driving seat, getting the client’s agreement to allow them to access their current credit report and Open Banking information. This puts the full financial history on the adviser’s desktop in PDF and digital format within minutes ensuring both the client and the adviser benefit hugely in terms of time and money saved.
FR: What are advisers telling you about the mortgage market at present? Are they seeing record levels of business and how sustainable is this?
In a word, the market is ‘buoyant’ and they are all saying how busy they are with a noticeable spike in non-standard lending activity. The feeling is that this will increase as we move on from this Covid-19 period where people, through no fault of their own, have been forced to take breaks on payments of many things not just mortgages. The need for the credit report and proof of affordability have never been higher.
FR: How can firms – without necessarily adding employee resource – speed up their case completion and how is technology working to aid this?
By delivering a desktop solution via email and providing the client’s online banking information we are able to provide a solution that not only checks ID (ensuring they are talking to right people) but delivers detailed affordability, plus a digital credit report. It means there is no need to employ staff to undertake this process. We have one of our current users that has estimated they can reduce their administration staff by three because of their use of Credit Assess.
Clearly, by not having to wait for the client to go away and sign up to a credit agency to get their credit file and then bring it to the adviser – also not waiting for them to go and pay for three to six months’ banking statements and again waiting for them to deliver them, all saves time. It also ensures control of the advisory timeline and I haven’t even mentioned the time saved in not having to go through reams of bank statements to calculate affordability because all of this is delivered in detail to the adviser’s Credit Assess hub in minutes.
FR: You’ve run an advisory firm yourself – post-lockdown how can firms ensure they are running as efficiently as possible and maintain the human interaction, in a world where advisers are working remotely, and clients may not want face-to-face meetings?
Sadly, I’m old enough to remember way back when advising clients face-to-face and reading about the day when we would be able to do ‘virtual’ client meetings. That day is here, and I think it’s a huge step forward for the industry. Advisers and clients will get a lot out of utilising the tech available. There is no doubt that Covid-19 and the lockdown have corralled us into doing more online meetings and the great news is that the technology is there to support it. Plus it’s easy to use and very interactive.
Credit Assess sits perfectly in this arena - taking the initiative on behalf of a client to get their financial reports not only online but also in face-to-face meetings.
FR: Do you think clients truly understand the importance of their credit report and what it could mean regarding their ability to secure credit?
In my view, there are three distinct categories of client – those that do understand, those that don’t and those that do but would rather bury their heads in the sand about the contents of it. It only tends to hit home for a lot of people when they have either been turned down for something such as a mobile phone or they take the right steps to talk to professionally-qualified financial adviser. It would appear from feedback that there is still a reluctance to order the credit report, in case that opens something of a ‘Pandora’s Box’ for them. Of course that’s where having access to something like Credit Assess is often vital for advisers, because it gets them over this reticence and allows the adviser to get access to the report quickly and painlessly, and to work from a point of full transparency.
FR: What are the biggest challenges facing mortgage advisers right now?
Well I would have to say that in the post-pandemic world – we hope it comes soon - we shall need to adapt to the type of advice that clients will need to get them back on track. There will be without a doubt a host of clients needing the best of financial advice especially if they have missed payments on all sorts of things from mortgages or rent to mobile phone and other bills. This will all impact on how the advice is delivered and how clients’ exact financial detail is gathered.
Also, right up there would be getting to grips with all the new tech out there to make their lives easier and carry out the most professional job possible. Issues like effective client management, time management, and a ton of tools to help in the advisory process can all seem daunting.
We have taken great steps to ensure that Credit Assess has been built with the adviser and the client fully in mind, with easy to follow steps and intuitive buttons to press. However, the important point is to realise there is plenty of help and advice available for free to get on track. Just pick up the phone and get that help and direction
FR: If you could see one headline about the mortgage market during the rest of the year, what would it be?
‘Mortgage submissions continue to hit record highs' would be great, perhaps with the addition of ‘... thanks to Credit Assess’. But that’s probably blowing our own trumpet way too much.