Brokers still seeking paper-based applications

The call comes as Advantage Home Loans announced it was to only accept new business enquiries through its online e:valuate system.

There has been a fundamental shift in recent years towards electronic trading and while it is increasing in popularity as a business practice, brokers still want to have the choice over whether to submit an application online or on paper.

Simon Chalk, mortgage planner at Mortgage Portfolio Services, said: “The trend for online applications is accelerating and while it is good for a normal mortgage, at the higher end of the market there are lots of issues that can crop up. When dealing with high-net worth clients, you have to use lenders who will use humans to look at the case, rather than a system, as they are able to judge all the different complexities.”

Alan Hill, managing director of First Mortgage Options, went as far as pledging his firm would not drop the paper option.

“The growth we have seen over the last 12 months has been incredible but the difference between electronic and paper applications is marginal. There is an enormous number of mortgage intermediaries who are not utilising electronic applications.”

However, Keith Dearling, director of Advantage Home Loans, argued the move to solely use electronic applications was right for its business.

He said: “We were doing such a small amount of business through faxes that it was the logical step for our business model. Roughly 99 per cent of brokers transact with us electronically now and it will very much be the future of the mortgage market.”

Mike Fitzgerald, sales director at Brentchase Financial Services, commented: “We are marching towards electronic applications and while we now do 80/20 of our applications electronically, there are some lenders who are not that automated yet. However, a fully automated system is the future.”