We recently announced the appointment of Stephen Nobes as our new Head of Network and Club Relationships, but we thought that you’d like to get to know about him and his role at Smart365. Read all about Stephen and his role here.
Smartr365: Hi Stephen – first of all, welcome to Smartr365!
Stephen Nobes: Thank you! It feels great to be part of the team.
Smartr365: Can you tell us a bit about your day to day role?
SN: My role is a bit different, it’s making sure that mortgage clubs and networks up and down the country know about Smartr365 and what we can offer their brokers. I spend a lot of time speaking with senior staff to explain how our platform can be integrated into their brokers’ businesses in addition to the technology they might be obligated to use, and also listening to the pain points they’re experiencing. I also play a part in the tender process, explaining costings and demonstrating the value of Smartr365.
Smartr365: Do you find that these relationships have a big impact on the development of the Smartr365 platform?
SN: Absolutely. We take feedback on board literally and it has a big role in how we build the platform and make it better. Our job is to make brokers’ lives easier, so we listen to them all the time. We do have our own vision for the mortgage process, so it’s a collaborative process between us and the industry, and in that sense we’re a very agile business. Within my first few weeks at Smartr365, I took part in a Gap analysis with a large brokerage, and they said they felt they were entering into a partnership rather than just buying a service. Our strength is that we adapt to the need of our users, and that’s something few other providers can offer.
Smartr365: Listening to the industry is key, then – what do you think the biggest opportunity is at the moment?
SN: It’s tech, without a doubt. Adopting new systems and software can really transform how mortgage businesses operate, and given the subdued performance of Open Banking so far, brokers should be looking to specialist systems which have been designed with their input. It’s then on providers like Smartr365 to show that brokers can put their trust in our platform, and that comes through explanation, word of mouth, and making sure they have a say in what the platform delivers.
Smartr365: Do you think there are any challenges that might stand in the way of adoption?
SN: The biggest obstacle is probably getting people to change the ways they work. We need to demonstrate to parties throughout the process, from big lenders to small, family-run brokerages to independent, that adopting tech like Smartr365 is the way forward for the industry. Bigger lenders will be key leaders in this, and we’re thankfully seeing more and more become open to new ways of doing things.
We also need to make sure that people understand what technology will mean for them. There’s a common misconception that automation means people’s roles are no longer required, but that’s not the case. Smartr365 is focused on augmenting the roles people already do and removing hassle and time-consuming aspects of their business – that then gives them capacity to handle more transactions and can enable growth.
Smartr365: And where do you see the market heading in the longer term?
SN: We can look at the protection industry to see the potential that tech adoption can bring. A common interface, with a certain set of questions and data points that are fit for every lender. This will make the whole process more streamlined and aggregating data will mean that brokers’ roles are made even more simple.
Looking further into the future, I think the use of data will be really important. I’d love to see a system where a broker wanting to collect customer data needs only to type in their name, and everything is prepopulated. This can remove risks over sourcing, and is already beginning to happen in other sectors.
Smartr365: It certainly sounds like you get up to a lot of interesting things at Smartr365! What about when you’re not at work – tell us a little about what you like to do in your free time.
SN: I really enjoy music, and actually trained as a professional musician before coming to the mortgage industry. I play in a band with some other mortgage professionals and have also done some charity fundraising through that. I love to travel all over the world, and regularly keep up to date with everything that’s going on in the world of technology.