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Online mortgage sales &#39negligible&#39, says CML

Fewer people than expected are using the internet to take out a mortgage and the number of online applications is low, according to the Council of Mortgage Lenders.

But the CML predicts this could change with the advent of secure electronic signatures which allow the entire sales process to be completed online.

The CML&#39s research, carried out this month with KPMG, found that while the internet is popular with consumers for gathering information and comparing products, the number of mortgage sales conducted online is negligible.

Although the emergence of the web encouraged new entrants into the industry and led to significant investment in technology for online applications, the CML says consumers still want face-to-face contact when making a large financial commitment.

It says new lenders are now reassessing the need for a high-street presence and are targeting mortgage intermediaries to generate increased new business.

The overall conclusion of the research is that firms are becoming more specialised in a bid to drive down costs in what remains a highly competitive sector.

CML deputy director general Peter Williams says: “Intense competition, greater use of technology, growing customer sophistication and changing work and lifestyle patterns will fuel further structural change in the UK mortgage market in the coming years.

“The research identifies a highly innovative industry focused on driving down costs and delivering value for customers. It is essential that statutory regulation is proportionate and does not choke off the sort of innovation that benefits the industry and its customers.”

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