Leading bank rolls out video mortgage service
Since the Mortgage Market Review came into force in April 2014, many borrowers have reported that it has been much harder to get an interview with their bank's mortgage specialist. With advisors having to reduce the number of available appointments in order to cope with longer interview times, it has been tougher for consumers to get in front of an expert.
Now, one of the UK's leading banks is attempting to make it easier to speak to a mortgage advisor by rolling out a 'video' service. Borrowers can now speak to a qualified expert via a video link on a laptop, desktop or tablet computer.
Speak to a Lloyds Bank or Halifax mortgage advisor by video
After a pilot scheme in 2015, Lloyds Bank and Halifax have launched a new service allowing borrowers to speak to a mortgage advisor via a computer video link. Appointments can be made between 8.00am and 8.00pm during the week and from 9.00am to 2.00pm on Saturdays with Lloyds and 9.00am to 4.00pm with Halifax.
In addition, 16 Lloyds Bank branches are piloting the video service in-branch, aimed at increasing the availability of mortgage advisors during busy times.
David Oldfield, group director for retail and consumer finance at Lloyds Bank, said consumers want greater choice, convenience and value, whether that’s in branch or online. “Buying a house can be a stressful time for many people, and so for those who are unable or choose not to visit a branch but who still prefer a face-to-face conversation, this video service is a fantastic channel for them to use.”
Lloyds say that a third of appointments with customers that would previously have been completed over the telephone are now completed via video. This Is Money reports that the banking group has already invested £750m in digital innovations over the last three years and has committed to invest a further £1bn in its digital capability over the next three years.
The pros and cons of a video mortgage interview
One of the advantages to a video based interview is that advisors can complete the whole process with a customer in one go.
A Lloyds spokesperson said: "Telephone appointments require a 'break' in the process, meaning the mortgage adviser has to stop the call, email or post the documents and then contact the customer again, whereas with video, we can do it end-to-end as we show/upload key documents.
"About 8% of video or telephone mortgage customers are required to visit the a branch for identification and verification purposes."
While many experts have welcomed the innovation, some believe that most borrowers will still want face-to-face advice in a branch or with a broker to discuss the biggest debt they will ever have.
Mortgage expert Aaron Strutt also believes a video system has drawbacks. He said: "One of the problems with the banks is that they only advise on their products, so if clients do not fit the acceptance criteria they will need to look elsewhere and go through the whole process again."