XML e-commerce standard to boost mortgage brokers

Mortgage lenders have completed work on an XML e-commerce standard set up by financial service technology standards group Origo.

Technology standards group Origo has completed work on an XML e-commerce standard for the UK mortgage industry.

Financed by mortgage lenders such as Abbey, HBOS, RBS as well as large intermediaries, Origo said the standard will allow mortgage brokers to communicate electronically with different mortgage lenders.

"While lenders have invested considerable time and money developing their distribution technology and online functionality to meet this demand, the interoperability of these systems with standards is now vital to allow disparate systems to be integrated effectively for the benefit of the end user," said Paul Pettitt, managing director of Origo.

Clive Longbottom, analyst at Quocirca, said lenders may not be as enthusiastic as brokers. "Lenders like tied intermediaries and the standard will allow intermediaries to more easily work with competitors. They may not be so keen because they may feel they will make less money due to competition."

He added that the standard must be dynamic and be able to change in reaction to industry trends. "These may be legal such as the requirement for lenders to take more information from applicants."

Take up of the standard will influenced by the Association of Mortgage Intermediaries (AMI), which represents 11,000 mortgage brokers as well as 30,000 mortgage practitioners.

AMI has surveyed its members to see if they would support an e-commerce standard for the entire mortgage sales process. Richard Farr, director at AMI, said the organisation has completed the survey and is currently going through the results before deciding how to advice its members. "We are currently number crunching," he said.

Read more on Business applications