It is hard to believe that the equity release industry once had a negative reputation. Things have significantly turned around in recent years with the Equity Release council reporting 26 per cent growth year-on-year for 2016, breaking through £2bn for the first time. Key Retirement has estimated that 2017 will see 28 per cent growth, with figures expected to reach £2.75bn.
The reason for this strong growth is due to retirees using the equity built up in their home to fund their retirement, help a child or grandchild with their first property, to update their own property or to fund a holiday.
The overall financial industry has really started to embraced technology, introducing innovative products and solutions. With full support from the regulator, the sector has really moved on. But it appears the technology within the equity release area has been lagging behind. It follows the same fundamental process as the residential industry, but without the backbone of technology to provide speed and a streamlined process.
With a new wave of retiree’s who are a lot more technology savvy and are relying on the equity built up in their home to fund their retirement plans, equity release solutions are embedding strong in the mortgage sector. With an increasing demand for these solutions, new lenders have been entering the market, which brings technology and competition, with a real need to innovate to stay ahead, the sector is beginning to claw its way back in line with the rest of the industry. Expect to see new products, blended products, customer self-service, customer online applications, and dynamically confirmed products in this space in the coming months.
Like with any industry, the aim is to put the customer first, giving them access to the solutions they really want and need.