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Cognitive Dissonance in the Mortgage Industry?


I’m reading an interesting book at the moment by Matthew Syed called Black Box Thinking, the crux of which examines why it is good to fail often, but learn from those mistakes. It is only by doing this that we can ultimately be successful and move to a better place, always learning.

The problem comes when Cognitive Dissonance occurs, which crudely put is when we refuse to believe failure has occurred and change the facts to fit in with our beliefs. Looking at some of the things going on at the moment you can see this in action; Corbyn, Trump, government housing policies, wholesale blame being put on the BTL market, etc, etc.

Lenders and brokers do it all the time. Lenders often refuse to accept their own failings for brokers not using them enough; we are selling the wrong products rather than lenders offering the right ones, or the right criteria, our clients actually need. Either that or it is the regulators fault for not allowing them to innovate.

Take one example; I don’t buy that brokers sell more 2 year rates just to churn. We give advice, proper advice, and if a two-year product is the best advice then so be it. For a new borrower who can’t see beyond a two-year period, as they may move jobs, meet someone, etc, then affordability, future plans and a need for flexibility come into play. Life changes quickly these days and if branches sell more longer term fixes is that actually the right advice? It works both ways.

Meanwhile, brokers blame everyone but themselves for not setting realistic client expectations at the very start or rather than admitting the paperwork sent in to the lender was a bit, er, haphazard, blaming the lender for slowness.

There are examples all over the industry and as we move into this age where Customer Service and technology are the new kings, we need to get better at failing fast, learning our lessons and moving on. The tech industry is good at this, they try, fail, learn, adapt and move on at frightening speed.

As an industry we need to do this too. We need to get better at promoting what a mortgage broker does, why advice is the be all and end all and embrace technology and change. We can shape our future if we are willing to.

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