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CFI: Commercial

One small step a leap by

Rob Lankey, managing director, Commercial Mortgages, Aldermore

Those readers with a good memory may recall that last Autumn I wrote in this col- umn about the technical challenges lenders face try- ing to automate the process- ing of commercial mortgage applications. Until now, the differences

between the way in which enquiries are handled in the residential and commercial mortgage markets have been stark. Residential mortgage brokers have, for years, been able to submit mortgage ap- plications to lenders online and receive instant decisions in principle. Brokers have also been able to upload supporting documentation via web-portals, with credit references being automati- cally requested and solicitors and valuers being instructed electronically. Meanwhile, in the com- mercial world, paper has continued to rule the day. In fairness, there have

been very good reasons for commercial lenders’ contin- ued reliance on manual pro- cessing which are primarily to do with the very complex nature of commercial mort- gage applications. By com- parison, residential deals are a lot simpler and, as a result, easier to automate. But being difficult doesn’t mean the challenge is im- possible. Aldermore has fi- nally cracked this particular conundrum with the launch

of Acumen, an online com- mercial mortgage portal that is capable of receiving broker enquiries and pro- ducing an immediate heads of terms document, with- out

needing any human

intervention. To date, making an en- quiry on behalf of a busi- ness borrower has been a far more long-winded process than for a residential mort- gage, regardless of whether the deal is a straightforward application or a complex multi-million pound deal. Acumen enables straightfor- ward deals to be dealt with immediately, giving brokers and their clients the confi- dence to progress to a full application.

Larger, more

complex deals will always require a greater degree of human intervention which is fine because Acumen frees- up skilled staff to focus on those cases which need their professional input. The new system and simi- lar systems to come will hopefully pave the way for a faster, easier and less in- volved commercial mortgage application process which will, hopefully, make life a lot easier for both brokers and their clients. This development isn’t just a breakthrough for Al- dermore, but for the entire commercial mortgage mar- ket. It has, at last, put com- mercial mortgages on the same footing as residential deals, in terms of the ease of submitting straightforward applications on behalf of clients. One small step, one giant


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