Newcastle opens up digital home loans platform

Newcastle permanent home loan application

Newcastle Permanent has opened access to its recently launched Digital Home Loans service, enabling new home purchasers to apply directly through the online platform.

The first iteration of the platform, launched to consumers in mid-July this year, was initially limited to mortgage refinancing applicants; the latest update opens the service up to new home loan buyers.

Newcastle boasts that the platform can deliver conditional approval to applicants in as little as 20 minutes.

Chief distribution officer at Newcastle Permanent Paul Juergens said the platform will spearhead growth in its customers’ use of digital lending services, noting that digital lending today makes up just around five per cent of Newcastle’s mortgage sales.

“We’re excited to offer this to the wider market, particularly to younger Australians, who we anticipate will drive demand for Digital Home Loans,” Juergens said.

He added: “We’ve taken our time, initially launching to refinancers to ensure the platform was robust and ready to handle a larger number of applications.”

The platform was developed in partnership with several tech and data service providers, including OCR Labs, which provides facial recognition for identity verification, illion and CoreLogic for property valuation data, alongside STP-specialist lendtech Loanworks and loan originations engine developer LendFast. As well, Newcastle leveraged its existing partnership with eSignature developer DocuSign.

Despite its emphasis on a straight-through digital lending experience, Newcastle notes that applicants through the platform can still access human assistance from local customer services teams should they require it.

“We’re calling it ‘Digital Home Loans with a Human Touch’ because the idea is that one of our Hunter-based team members is only ever the tap of a keyboard away from offering personal assistance in real-time,” Juergens said.

“We believe having our people available for customers should they need assistance is key to ensuring they have a smooth experience.

Juergens added: “There’s no point having a Digital Home Loan offering if a customer gets frustrated, gives up and feels the need to come into a branch anyway – we aren’t differentiating ourselves if that’s the process.

“By offering the human touch now, we put ourselves in the best place to ensure we aren’t just among the first to offer it, we are among the best to offer it – today and tomorrow.”