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While certainty is not a word that applies to much in the UK at the moment, I think we can say with some conviction that 2018 will be the year that technology dominates the sector. It has, of course, played a supporting role in the industry for many years now and is becoming an ever more essential part of brokers day to day working life. However two new developments could significantly change the market beyond recognition.

The first is the much talked about Open Banking initiative and the second? Well, the second could be even more revolutionary. We could soon see electronic signatures become the norm in mortgage processing in a move that will significantly reduce application times and bring the market slap bang into the 21st century.

The Land Registry’s ‘Sign Your Mortgage Deed’ service will mean the borrower will be able to digitally sign their deed online. While it’s been over 17 years since the Electronic Communications Act came into effect, allowing contracts to be concluded electronically, property transactions and similar legal contracts have invariably opted for wet signatures. But with progress like that proposed by the Land Registry we are heading to a point where a  mortgage can be created, signed and registered without any paperwork or even emailing.

The benefits this will present to the mortgage market are staggering. Throughout 2017 there has been plenty of discussion surrounding the time taken to purchase a property and where in the mortgage chain time savings could be made. Indeed, the government’s ‘Improving the home buying and selling process call for evidence’ issued just last month highlighted the need for action.

Where there may be some creases to iron out will be the issue of ownership of the client.

Any system that requires a customer to electronically sign a document needs to be mindful of this relationship, by giving the broker visibility and control.

At DPR we are working with a number of lenders to explore how best to accommodate this functionality as part of our platform. It’s safe to say we’re fast approaching a pivotal moment in the fintech sector.

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