Bluestone launches Open Banking for mortgages
Written by Peter Walker
Bluestone Mortgages has launched the pilot phase of its Open Banking solution, becoming the first specialist mortgage lender in the UK to incorporate the service as part of its core underwriting process.
The pilot will be rolled out to a select group of advisors on Bluestone’s panel, with a national launch expected to follow shortly thereafter.
The Open Banking solution is supported by a service provided by credit reference agency Experian, giving customers the option to provide their bank transaction data to Bluestone within minutes.
Open Banking is the directive driven by the UK competition authorities, requiring major banks to provide access to their customer’s transaction information to trusted counterparties. Subject to a customer’s informed and ongoing consent, this information can then be used to provide tailored financial products and assess affordability and other borrower characteristics.
Bluestone explained that it has used applicant bank statements for many years to verify application information, but the provision of statements can be cumbersome for customer and lender alike.
The move is part of Bluestone’s commitment to invest in technology. Earlier this year, it was the first lender to fully integrate its loan application and workflow platform BlueLink, via an Application Programming Interface (API), with Twenty7Tec’s MortgageApply platform.
The business is also currently commercialising BluePay and BlueDial, a payment gateway service and computerised dialler designed for small to medium-sized businesses.
Chief executive Peter McGuinness commented: “Bluestone is committed to being a technology led specialist lender and proud to be the first specialist lender to deploy an Open Banking service into the core mortgage approval process.
“We believe innovation that will be made possible with Open Banking is going to change the landscape for specialist lending, particularly in areas of affordability assessment and expenditure patterns, whilst at the same removing a lot of friction associated with a traditional mortgage application process.”
McGuinness added that his firm has made a significant in-house investment in IT platforms through 2018.
Tom Blacksell, managing director of B2B at Experian, noted that a customer’s current credit position only ever tells part of the story.
“People’s financial circumstances are multidimensional and unique and we are supporting our customers as they look to keep up with a diverse and ever-changing global population,” he continued. “Open Banking has the power to help people who have found it difficult to prove they can afford a mortgage, perhaps because they are self-employed or a contractor.”