New mortgage and Fintech launches make for a busy summer

Buster Tolfree, Commercial Director – Mortgages

It was a busy Q3 for our Mortgage team with some significant product and service announcements

In our first annoucement of the summer we revealed our new facial recognition ID verification service, provided through a partnership with fintech company Nivo Solutions. News of the launch appeared in the UK mortgage trade media, but it was also picked up by several fintech websites including a US banking technology site, I had to negotiate the transatlantic time zones for a phone interview about UTB’s fintech ambitions.

Later in September, we announced the exciting news that the Bank was launching into the house purchase mortgage market. The move filled an obvious gap in our suite of products, and it signals our intention to become a specialist lender with a range of products suitable for customers in most propertybuying, remortgaging or capital releasing scenarios.

Face time
The new biometric ‘facial recognition’ ID verification service is provided through a bespoke smartphone App and is designed to save our mortgage introducers and customers time and money. The service is delivered in partnership with Nivo, a secure messaging platform developed by Nivo Solutions Limited. Our relationship with Nivo is well established because they also provide a wide range of fintech services such as e-signatures, secure messaging and open banking.

The new system, which is fully integrated with the mortgage application system, takes only 90 seconds to complete and is available for all UTB first charge customers, and selected second charge customers. The new service removes the previous requirement for certified ID, usually provided by a Solicitor, saving customers time and inconvenience.

ID is verified by using facial recognition AI to compare an applicant to their nominated document such as a Passport, Driving License or National ID Card. As well as being quick and free to use for all applicants, the system eliminates human error associated with hard-copy documents and mitigates potential fraud.

As a forward-thinking lender, we are continually looking for ways to employ technology where there’s a tangible benefit to the customer and the increased efficiency means we can spend more time on the important things such as personal service and individual underwriting.

Matthew Elliott, Chief Development Officer at NivoHub, commented:

“UTB have shown a real drive to innovate. We’re proud to be helping them to deliver a leading mobile experience that reduces fraud and effort and boosts customer satisfaction.”

New mortgage for underserved home buyers
Our new range of first charge residential house purchase mortgage products are designed for customers underserved by mainstream mortgage enders. The new products are aimed at borrowers whose circumstances do not fit the credit score led underwriting processes employed by ‘high street’ and other mainstream lenders. We instead combine cutting edge technology with specialist underwriters to provide quick, individual decisions based on the merits of each application. Like all the Bank’s mortgage products, there is no minimum credit score required, a wide range of property and construction types are accepted and self-employed and borrowers with some adverse credit history are considered. ID verification is processed through the Nivo facial recognition App.

With these latest additions, the Bank now offers a range of specialist mortgages for residential purchases, residential remortgages, first charge capital releasing mortgages for unencumbered borrowers and second charge loans for a variety of uses.

Our success to date has been borne out of listening to the market, taking note of introducer’s needs and working with them to develop great products where we see a demand for innovation, more competition or the application of our more flexible and common-sense underwriting approach. There’s still more to come from UTB over the next 12 months as we continue to expand our product range, widen our distribution and digitise the process. We’re looking forward to working with even more introducers by giving them greater opportunities to recommend UTB to their clients.