How scaling agility can help mortgage lenders thrive in a tough economy

By Angus Panton, Director of Banking and Financial Services at Expleo


During periods of economic uncertainty, speed and agility plays a major role in a mortgage lender’s ability to stay ahead of the game. In fact, I would go so far as to say that agility, or the ability to scale agility, is essential to minimising risk, maintaining the customer experience and driving a competitive advantage. But just how can agility help? And what are the steps that organisations can take today to put them in a stronger position tomorrow?

The benefits of scaling agility for mortgage lenders

As we face into the volatile market, I find I’m asked more and more about the benefits of being able to scale agility. For me, adopting agile processes and ways of working provides clear benefits that support both business operations and performance. By putting disruptive tech at the heart of the business strategy, lenders stand to boost productivity, build stronger in-house skills and modernise their operation with targeted investment in systems, data, testing, cybersecurity, hyperautomation and quality assurance.

But scaling agility isn’t just a survival tactic, I believe it is essential to sustained business growth too. Organisation that can switch-on or ramp-up agility when and where it’s most needed will be the ones who adapt best to the demands of the market, seizing opportunity before the playing field becomes too crowded.

Unlocking agility

Learning from what works (and what doesn’t) in Fintech is a great starting point for heritage lenders looking to scale agility. Fintechs enter the market with a technology-first model that’s baked-in from day one, they can ‘build or buy’ their way to agility much more quickly than a heritage bank with legacy systems and processes. By partnering with a Fintech or consultancy to better understand agility in action, traditional lenders can quickly adapt existing plans to take advantage of the insight afforded.

Angus Panton

And although it’s possible to learn from Fintech, there is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all, each lender’s roadmap to scaling agility will differ, depending on any number of variables from the size of the organisation to its maturity.

In certain organisations, a foundational level of agility is already in place, but is stifled by red tape or siloed mindsets. The key here is to pinpoint the specific blockers, so that the organisation can identify what is preventing agility from being released in the first place.

The end goal however remains consistent – to deliver long-term roadmaps that unlock agility with streamlined processes, consolidated reporting, increased end-to-end quality assurance and enhancements to the customer experience.

There are five key factors to consider when unlocking agilty:

  • Define your business goals: By interrogating a granular understand of what the company wants to achieve, you can set business goals that will meet the specific needs of your agility challenge
  • Embrace ambiguity: Although none of us can predict the future, spending time considering the ‘what ifs’ can help organisations to embrace ambiguity and build this in to their vision
  • Data-driven decision making: a non-negotiable when it comes to scaling agility is data-driven decision making. Businesses that invest in building out their data insights capability will be the ones to stay ahead of the competition and remain closest to their customers
  • Use the experts: establishing a culture of agility can be hard at first, so gather up some expertise to help you make it as efficient and as smooth as possible.

Adaptable strategy: a strategy that allows improvements to be captured and applied will foster a culture of continuous improvement

Product, price and agility

In a market where interest rates are highly volatile, consumers are naturally focused on getting the best possible deal and product features when it’s time to refinance their mortgage. This combined with a growing preference for researching and buying financial products online, means consumers expect to be able to access up to the minute pricing and products, packaged up as part of a great online, customer experience. In the current climate, it will be lenders that fast-track agility to put customer-centric product strategies in place that gain the most. For example, using hyperautomation to manage mortgage product updates, harnessing AI for customer communications or blockchain for smart-contracts to offer heightened information security.

Agility, always.

No-one knows what the future holds or how economic, political or social forces will shape the financial markets in 2023 and beyond. If 2022 taught us anything, it’s to be prepared – and in the banking sector preparation starts with scaling agility, so that lenders are primed and ready to respond at pace, rather than react in haste.  It’s by doing this that lenders can minimise risk, grow their business and protect and improve the customer experience.


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