The news that NatWest are launching a paperless mortgage, allowing borrowers to apply for a mortgage or undertake the remortgage process online has grabbed the attention of many people in the property market. The property market is one that has been greatly impacted by the development of the internet with online property portals being at the heart of the industry. It is therefore only natural for people to wonder what impact paperless mortgages will have on the industry and whether NatWest will be seen as trailblazers in the sector.
The change will first of all apply to all mortgage applications which take place over the phone and the company is confident this switch will save close to 4.5 million sheets of paper every year. NatWest also aims to roll out this new service to their in-branch advisers before the end of 2017. With around 800 advisers across the country, this means there will be a significant change in the way mortgages are handled at the company.
The process looks set to make the process a lot quicker and easier, with applicants filling in details relating to their income and expenditure. This information will then be used to determine how much the applicant will be able to borrow. If at this point the applicant decides to proceed with the application, they will have an appointment with a mortgage adviser set up for them, but they will also be able to upload documents. These will include passport, payslips and a driving licence and NatWest are at pains to point out that this will be a secure portal.
Security is a hugely important factor and the company has promised that a number of security measures will be in place, including a two-step ID verification process and the applicant will be required to take selfies and then upload to the site as part of the visual identity verification process.
The meeting with the mortgage adviser can take place over the phone or via online video call and at the point of signing off the agreement; this will be carried out electronically. While many people will find the idea of an online mortgage application process to be convenient and perhaps the most suitable for them, it has to be remembered that at the moment, it is only NatWest that offers it. This means the applicant only has the NatWest offers to choose from and while many people will say that the company offers competitive rates, they aren’t the cheapest lender on the market. If you are focused on getting the best deal, it may be that you’ll need to wait on other lenders joining the digital revolution.
However, this should happen in the near future. The benefits of speeding up the application process are obvious to all parties and a source at the NatWest expects the process to be completed in 30 days, with this process looking to remove 10 days from the application process.
It could possibly be completed even faster but there is still a need for applications to be considered and verified. While most people would like to see the mortgage application streamlined, there is an obvious need to ensure it remains robust and dependable for all parties. It may be that some firms are waiting on seeing if there are any security issues with the NatWest’s process but if this runs smoothly, you should see it being rolled out across the industry.