Almost three-quarters of brokers (72%) expect topline revenue/sales to grow in the next 12 months, including more than one in four (28%) who expect growth of between 10% and 20%. About one in six (16%) expect their revenues to grow by 20% or more. Confidence among brokers appears to stem in part from the range of different products they can sell to different groups of customers with a range of specialist requirements.
Our research also reveals a willingness among brokers to embrace more innovation and increased use of technology, both to drive market growth and to improve service – particularly in terms of speed and flexibility. This willingness to make more use of technology seems to stem in part from a conviction that the best technology will always need to be used alongside human expertise when working with specialist lending requirements. 91% of brokers agree or strongly agree that the specialist mortgage market is not threatened by automation because the complexity of cases means human underwriting and service will always be needed. And, almost two-thirds of brokers (63%) say they are sure that robo-underwriting will never replace human underwriting in this market.
But brokers also have a clear view of where technology could address some problems that exist in this market, particularly at the front end of the mortgage application process. Almost eight out of ten brokers (78%) say they have dealt with clients who have expressed dissatisfaction about the process still being largely manual and paperbased. Two-thirds (66%) believe the biggest benefit to be gained from greater use of technology in the sector will be accelerating the mortgage application process. The results indicate an intention to use technology to create a faster, more efficient service for customers that maintains the human element in the delivery of solutions tailored to meet the many and varied needs of customers.
Overall, the results of our survey paint a picture of an industry that is confident about the future and sees increased use of technology as an opportunity to improve efficiency and the service offered to customers. There are clear concerns about the continued malign influence of the Brexit crisis on the housing market; and about lenders failing to contribute as much as they could to the development of a specialist lending market able to fulfil its potential. But brokers see no shortage of promising opportunities; and are prepared to try to take them over the months and years ahead.