Mortgage providers find themselves in an increasingly competitive market, with buyers having more options than ever before. There is a need to differentiate in order to survive.

But while the increased number of options makes the market competitive, it also risks complicating things further for consumers. Whether buying for the first time, remortgaging or purchasing an additional property, the mortgage process can be a confusing and stressful time and many buyers aren’t confident they’re making the right decisions or understand everything available to them.

In this digital age, third party advice services and comparison sites are benefiting from the increased options available and subsequent buyer confusion. Consumers trust these sites and find themselves researching privately on www.comparethemarket.com, www.moneysavingexpert.com, www.thisismoney.co.uk and the like before reaching out to brokers or lenders.

Questions still go unanswered though and confusion remains, particularly once a lender has been selected and buyers aren’t guided through the rest of the process. Naturally excited about moving into their new home, they want constant updates from all parties and can be dismayed by lapses in communication.

If a mortgage provider could engage customers directly, make the process easy to understand and guide customers through the process step by step, they would take advantage of the current market state.

However, many traditional and big name lenders are failing to recognise this and risk being outrun by emerging challenger banks.

While gross lending from banks and building societies grew by just 4% and 9% respectively between 2014-15, challenger banks enjoyed a 56% increase. Metro Bank was the biggest success story, moving from 24th biggest UK lender to 16th, tripling its lending from £500m to £1.5b in just one year.

Together with tech-focussed startups, challenger banks are disrupting the mortgage market with digital tools and services that revolutionise mortgage technology, improve customer service and quicken approvals.

Digital-only bank Atom founded in 2014. It offers good value residential mortgages through partnerships with 868 brokers via a service that is fast, informative and transparent.

Trussle, another new digital challenger, boasts the ability to provide a quote within 3 minutes, 24/7. Its modern UI simplifies what is normally a daunting process, making it completely accessible to modern customers.

Thirdly, Habito is another startup looking to disrupt the mortgage space. It is a simple, honest and transparent way for customers to find and apply for a mortgage within just 30 minutes. As with Trussle, its automated approach also makes it accessible 24/7.

These solutions are naturally attractive for digitally savvy millennials but also simplify the process enough to attract mass market appeal. They should be used as inspiration by the traditional and big name lenders, as they provide some key lessons:

  1. Remember that this can be a confusing and stressful time for buyers, so invest in best in class UX to clearly communicate information and processes.

  2. Guide users through each step of the process with uncluttered UI.

  1. Encourage dialogue through integrated social channels to fit into the lives of customers and enhance the feeling of transparency.

  1. Bridge any knowledge gaps and create a tailored journey for the unique needs of each customer.

Application of these lessons can bring a competitive advantage, with providers able to provide a seamless, joined up experience for all associated parties and influence customer decision making.

But this is only the start and the impact of digital in mortgages will continue to grow through further innovation. If you’d like to learn more or are ready to transform your mortgage experience, the team at Radical would welcome a conversation.