Since the onset of the COVID-19 crisis, several lenders have temporarily adopted digital processes – which include allowances for digital verification of identity (VOI) and digital signatures – to comply with social distancing rules.
Managing director of the Finance Brokers Association of Australia (FBAA) Peter White, recently noted that the adoption of digital processes has been one of the only positive developments in recent months.
“I notice more lenders are moving to digital signatures, which, in this day and age, you’d think should be commonplace,” he said.
“I guess that’s one of the outcomes of a very bad situation in COVID-19, it’s driven some of these initiatives forward.”
According to new findings from mortgage broking platform HashChing’s latest survey of its network, 91 per cent of respondents believe temporary changes to the mortgage application process in response to COVID-19 should be made permanent.
“Brokers have been forced to adapt how they interact with customers, and there’s no doubt that challenges have come with having to transition to a fully digital operation,” HashChing CEO Arun Maharaj observed.
“Yet we’re seeing brokers pivot strategies and take advantage of new digital tools and technologies.”
Mr Maharaj added: “I’m pleased to see many brokers are doing their due diligence in getting comfortable and efficient with working and communicating with customers remotely.
“In fact, the majority of respondents (57 per cent) said they believed the coronavirus lockdown disruption will have a net positive impact long term for their business.”
Brokers back retention of government subdues
The HashChing survey also revealed that the majority of brokers (83 per cent) supported the extension of government subsidies like the JobKeeper program.
According to 60 per cent of surveyed brokers, the absence of government stimulus would have “severe” implications on the property market.
“While we don’t yet know exactly what impact the global pandemic will have on our economy, it’s been very severe already,” Mr Maharaj added.
“Many are predicting it will get much worse before it gets better. It’s therefore not surprising that none of our respondents think now is a good time for property investors to be buying more property.”
Brokers were also asked which borrower segment would most benefit form current market conditions.
The overwhelming majority of brokers (81 per cent) said market conditions best suit first home buyers.
This comes amid the rollout of government-backed incentives, including the second phase of the First Home Loan Deposit Scheme, stamp duty concessions in NSW and the HomeBuilder package.