Better mortgage offerings with a focus on sustainability in a business context
Enento Group develops reliable business information solutions that add great value both for its customers and for society in general. As ever, the core idea is to contribute to an economy that is sustainable long-term. Currently Enento is in a growth phase, continuing in the Nordics to develop its business information offering to Swedish customers within the banking and finance segment via its subsidiary UC. Creating further opportunities for data collection in light of increasing digitalisation and the green transition gives UC an important role to play in society.
Climate transition is affecting practically every sector, including the housing market, with sustainability issues increasingly in the spotlight in recent years. As a result of new statutory ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) criteria, which set requirements for a large proportion of companies’ sustainability reporting, market demand for better.
The housing market has been under intense pressure for a lengthy period, with many housing transactions taking place and loans on existing homes being renegotiated. UC’s digital services provide players in the market with a basis for decisions at lightning speed.
Stéphane Hedman, Director of UC Real Estate, explains what is needed for a successful mortgage offering.
What is the most important thing for a mortgage offering to be successful?
"At UC we have long had services to identify desired customers and target groups. In today’s fierce competition, as well as highlighting their own specific advantages it is important for each player in the mortgage market to make the customer journey as convenient as possible. Having digital channels is not enough. They will miss out on lots of business if customers find the process time-consuming and laborious compared with other options. It’s a case of minimising the likelihood of errors and manual processing that takes time.
If competing solutions give an answer straight away, there is a great risk of a lower conversion rate. UC Real Estate’s services enable the customer experience to be made seamless and personal. And in contrast to other operators, we offer a comprehensive range of services that we have developed ourselves within housing and real estate for the areas of valuation, property information and information on housing cooperatives. Our organisation has the collective competence and customer support needed to provide an efficient experience that is convenient for the customer."
In what way can UC Real Estate help its customers improve the customer experience?
"Our solutions mean customers don’t have to fill in lots of details about the property. Some processes can be rationalised if the customer has provided identification – via BankID, for example – and lots of information can be filled in automatically. To minimise customer thresholds and increase the conversion rate from visitor to customer, we also have search functions that do not require logging in and that suggest known information, such as the address, property type and floor area. Our services minimise the number of incorrectly completed details and enable a high degree of automation – in short, providing a quality-assured process for the bank and a convenient experience for the customer."
"Our statistical valuations are always based on property-specific characteristics. We capture whether a building has been extended or undergone extensive renovation, for example – which affects the value."
Fast, quality-assured property information
"And UC Real Estate offers more than just lightning-fast valuations for single-family houses and cooperative apartments. Through a direct link to Lantmäteriet, the Swedish land registry, we have developed a modern design of property information report (FastighetPlus) and flexible APIs to retrieve property information such as mortgages, owners and tax assessment details. It means our customers can now get all the property information they need from one place."
Solution for the whole loan process
"As if that were not enough, UC provides its customers with information for the entire loan process – from personal details to property information. We support a fully integrated process from development to production. And in view of today’s high privacy requirements, we support entirely anonymised development of new digital flows."
Automated stock valuations
"Mortgage providers usually update the values of each object in their stock two to four times a year, which makes it important to ensure that they get the values right and also update the information about the properties in their stock that have been altered. We’ve developed an automated process for this that we call sequential valuation."
Area price analysis
“If, say, a valuation is questioned, it’s important for a mortgage provider to give feedback to its customer. Sometimes formal details have not been updated because the homeowner/housing cooperative has not notified changes. In other cases, the customer may make reference to other properties sold at a different price per square metre. Our UC Area Price service allows an administrator to analyse the price level based on sales of similar properties (same type, similar living space, year built etc.) in a specific area. Often there may be significant variation in the price per square metre between different areas of the same municipality and also between difference sizes of home in the same area.”
What’s happening now at UC – any exciting new products or services?
“At UC Real Estate we are continually working to improve and expand our services. We’ve seen that a greater focus on climate change and ESG means that mortgage providers, too, need to take this into consideration in their process.
We recently launched the service UC Real Estate Risk, which assesses the impact of climate risks on all buildings in Sweden. This service currently allows businesses to classify all Sweden’s buildings based on the risk of flooding and water damage. Factors that may affect risk include being situated close to water or the coast, for example. That kind of thing affects the value, so it’s important to take it into consideration in the mortgage process.
The drivers behind this increased awareness of how climate risks affect the value of buildings are nothing new, having been influenced by EU directives such as the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) and most recently the new EU taxonomy.
A high level of property risk can affect the value, so it’s important to take this into consideration in the mortgage process. In a short space of time we’ve succeeded in developing a robust service that can be used at both portfolio and detailed level, which is also flexible and takes account of new risk factors going forward,” says Stéphane Hedman, CEO of UC Real Estate."
Article written by UC AB | Part of Enento Group