by reducing time spent checking paperwork for errors
Keep up with need for quick financing in fast-moving housing markets
Help home buyers get the right financing options with less stress
Improve customer journeys for both brokers and buyers
97% reduction in average time taken to sign a new lending agreement using Adobe Acrobat Sign
750 resource hours saved by reducing time spent checking paperwork for errors
6K lifetime ISA account agreements processed with no missed cut-off dates
Audit trail provides confidence that processes comply with legal regulations
One of the biggest decisions in a person’s life is buying a first home. But planning for a first home can be confusing and stressful for many buyers, who may have a lot of questions about how to save and pay for such a major investment.
Since 1853, Skipton Building Society has helped generations build their savings and fund home mortgages. With more than one million customers across the United Kingdom, the organisation stays true to its heritage today by focusing on developing strong customer experiences for mortgages, savings, and other financial planning services. This includes direct access to a mortgage underwriter during the application process, which enables home buyers to develop a relationship with the underwriter and discuss the best services to meet their needs.
“Housing markets can move quickly, so when people find a fantastic home, they need to act fast,” explains Lee Lambert, Credit Management Leader at Skipton Building Society. “Buyers want to get financing solidified as soon as possible so that they can make an offer and move towards a purchase. If we can reduce the mortgage application time, we reduce stress for buyers and lessen the possibility that they will get impatient and look elsewhere for mortgage services.”
The majority of Skipton Building Society mortgage applications come through independent brokers. Traditionally, brokers printed mortgage application forms and then worked with customers to fill out any required information. Once completed and signed by both the broker and home buyer, the brokers either mailed the form or scanned and uploaded the form through the Skipton Intermediaries web portal.
Skipton Building Society saw an opportunity to dramatically streamline the mortgage application process by digitising certain workflows using online forms and electronic signatures. The organisation decided to integrate Adobe Acrobat Sign, the electronic signature solution within Adobe Document Cloud, into in-house systems to create a fast and easy digital application solution.
“We started with a pilot for our highest volume brokers, but adoption of Adobe Acrobat Sign was so successful that we quickly rolled out the solution to all of our brokers,” says Lambert. “With Adobe Acrobat Sign now fully integrated into our broker portal, we’re catching up with the technology available from major banks and other competitors to provide both brokers and customers a fantastic customer journey.”
Credit Management Leader, Skipton Building Society
Mortgage applications can be complicated, with multiple signatures across five pages of documents. Before implementing Acrobat Sign, mortgage underwriters had to carefully check every incoming application for missing signatures, mandatory fields left unmarked, and other errors. Around 25% of applications came back with errors, and the underwriters then needed to contact brokers to have them resubmit paperwork.
Underwriters collectively spent about 750 hours per year checking applications and chasing down brokers. But more importantly, asking brokers and customers to redo paperwork over and over again added pain points to the customer journey.
With Acrobat Sign integrated into the Skipton Intermediaries portal, brokers now enter information directly into an electronic form. Some fields are designated as mandatory, which helps reduce errors as brokers cannot submit the form until the information has been entered correctly.
When the broker submits the application through the web portal, Acrobat Sign emails the home buyer a link that allows them to view and sign the application on any device with just a few clicks. Acrobat Sign supports custom branding so that home buyers and brokers can quickly recognise that the signature request is coming from Skipton. Once the all documents are signed, Acrobat Sign sends a fresh copy of the signed application to the broker, the home buyer, and the Skipton mortgage underwriters.
“Mortgage underwriters spend less time checking for errors, so they can respond to requests more quickly,” says Lambert. “The current average time taken to sign a new lending agreement using Adobe Acrobat Sign has been reduced by 97% - from 7 days to just 267 minutes. This has contributed towards a significant time reduction in the overall application process. Customers can start working with mortgage underwriters much faster, which puts them one step closer to buying the home of their dreams.”
Skipton Building Society was impressed by the speed of the Acrobat Sign workflows for mortgage applications, but it was equally impressed by the solution’s support for regulatory compliance. Acrobat Sign saves a clear audit trail for each signed document, which gives Skipton greater confidence that the solution meets legal regulations. The organisation decided to expand its use of Acrobat Sign to more applications.
Lifetime ISA accounts are fantastic savings options for young people with tax-free savings and bonus contributions from the government. Just as importantly for Skipton customers, withdrawal charges do not apply when funds from the Lifetime ISA accounts are used to pay for a first home. With Acrobat Sign, customers can process this payment withdrawal in just 73 minutes.
“If we can’t process the Lifetime ISA account withdrawal quickly, there’s a chance that customers will not be able to pay their down payment, which can cause them to miss out on a house,” says Lambert. “We’ve processed 6,000 withdrawal agreements with Adobe Acrobat Sign and haven’t missed a single cut-off date. We couldn’t have done it so quickly and reliably without Adobe Acrobat Sign.”
When fixed-rate mortgages reach their maturity date, customers have the option to remortgage or opt for a new finance product. Customers can now sign up for a new or alternate mortgage product, with documentation sent through Acrobat Sign. While documents once took two days to process by email and five days by post, they are now returned in about 12 hours with Acrobat Sign.
Credit Management Leader, Skipton Building Society
When a customer experiences financial challenges, speed is of the essence for Skipton to ascertain the customer’s current financial position and provide the support needed through times of hardship.
“Having a quick turnaround time from the issue of an income and expense form, completion by the customer, and returning it back to Skipton is key to enabling us to assess and support customers struggling with their mortgage payments,” says Lambert. “Adobe Acrobat Sign accelerated this process for us, which helps us to provide support for our members quickly and effectively”.
In addition to improving services directly with brokers and home buyers, Skipton Building Society is finding new users for Acrobat Sign among internal teams. For instance, the Society’s Human Resources department uses Acrobat Sign for recruitment, including contracts and offers of employment.
“There’s a lot of demand for digital services,” says Lambert. “We’re continually looking for ways to expand our digital footprint, whether through more digital services or apps. Adobe Acrobat Sign adds an important piece to our digital strategy by giving us the means to deliver fast, highly secure, and compliant digital services to our customers across more channels.”