Mortgage blog: Borrowers still reluctant to complete applications online

Posted 24 July 2014

While Brits have embraced online and mobile banking by the millions, new research has found that borrowers are still reluctant to apply for their new mortgage on the web. Figures from Santander show that the majority of applicants still prefer to apply for their home loan in a branch or over the telephone, suggesting that most people still want professional advice before committing to a deal.

Brits embracing online banking apps...but not for mortgages

A new report by the British Bankers' Association (BBA) has found that more and more Brits are embracing online and mobile phone banking. Banking apps for mobiles and tablets have now been downloaded 14.7m times, 2.7m of which were in January 2014.

The report found that transactions worth a total of £6.4bn are completed each week using these methods.

However, while millions of people are transferring money and paying bills on their phone or tablet, relatively few are turning to new technology to apply for a new mortgage. The report highlighted how most direct mortgages are completed in a branch or over the phone, rather than online.

Many customers begin the application process for their new mortgage online but figures from Santander showed only 28% of customers would go on to complete the mortgage process exclusively using the web.

However, HSBC said that it was seeing a number of borrowers complete mortgage applications online with the help of telephone and branch support. The bank reported that one of its home loan applicants completed the full process in 24 minutes.

Anthony Browne, chief executive of the BBA, said: "This report shows just how enthusiastically the British public is embracing mobile banking, contactless cards and a range of other consumer-friendly banking technologies. The way we bank now has made it a lot easier for us to keep track of our finances, with far more options about how we spend our money and talk to our bank."

Banks still committed to branch network

Despite the growth in digital banking, most banks and building societies remain committed to the high street with 2,274 having been refurbished in the past two years.

Keith Osborne, editor of, says: "While millions of us are happy to turn to our phone or tablet to make simple payments or to transfer money, relatively few are to trust technology with the biggest financial transaction of their life. When committing to a mortgage deal the vast majority of borrowers want professional advice from an expert. Whether that is an independent broker, the advisor in their local branch or a telephone advisor, customers want to talk to a qualified expert and seek advice before committing to a deal."

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