Usually you go to a bank when you are looking for a real estate loan. Because of the Corona crisis, this often no longer works. But many banks offer digital advice. This also benefits the customer.
Those who are looking for real estate financing usually go to the bank branch. “A real estate loan is a complex product that requires a lot of explanation,” says Michael Herte of the Schleswig-Holstein Consumer Center. “It has been possible for customers of numerous banks to fill out questionnaires online for some years now, but the last subtleties were then clarified in a personal conversation at the bank.”
For the institutes, a personal visit to the customer in the branch has its advantages. It offers the bank the opportunity to impress the customer. This includes some psychological tricks. The bank employee appears well dressed in a tie in a tidy office. He makes the customer wait a few minutes, which increases the tension.
“Sales people like to work with such tricks,” says Michael Herte. “They definitely have an impact, and better sales results can be achieved.”
All this is no longer possible if the advice is given exclusively on the computer. It hardly matters what the office in the bank or the home office of the employee looks like. Pure information and facts are decisive. “This has advantages for the customer,” says Michael Herte.
Corona crisis boost
The corona crisis, especially the period of contact restrictions, gave the expansion of digital channels a good boost. Fabian Nadler from the Bitkom digital association notes that according to the companies, digital advice has risen sharply. “And we expect this trend to be sustainable, so it will continue after the pandemic.”
The comparison portal Check24, which has construction loan products from numerous providers in view, is also observing this development. “Customers are happy to accept the offer. Compared to the same period in the previous year, digital advice has partially doubled,” says Ingo Foitzik from Check24. “Even after the restrictions were relaxed, when customers were able to go back to the branches, the figures were quickly 100 percent above the previous year’s period after a short decline.”
“Anyone who has tried and understood online banking once will not switch back to the analog world,” believes Fabian Nadler. “It’s similar with digital banking advice. If it is done well, it is even better and more efficient than a personal conversation in the branch.”
Customers fill out questionnaires
And this is how it works: After the customer has entered his key data on the financing project in an online questionnaire, he arranges an appointment with an employee of the financial institution who accompanies him through the entire process. “The customer receives a nine-digit PIN code by phone, which he then uses to access screen sharing. He doesn’t have to download any software, we just send him a link,” explains Foitzik. The customer therefore only needs a computer, a telephone and Internet access to use this service.
“That’s the way it works for many companies,” says Fabian Nadler. From his computer, laptop or smartphone, the customer can go through all the details of the mortgage with the consultant. It is possible to go through several financing options or to arrange special repayments. “These video chats sometimes take longer than counseling over the phone or in the bank, but they’re often more effective because fewer follow-up consultations need to be arranged.”
A great advantage of digital advice is the flexibility in terms of time. Instead of driving to the bank in the city after work, the customer can make the appointment as it suits him and his family. “It is even possible to advise two borrowers for the same loan at the same time, even if they are not sitting in front of the computer together,” said Ingo Foitzik.
Consumers are entitled to information
Data protection is an important issue. “Due to new regulations, banks have to record the conversation,” emphasizes Fabian Nadler. “Of course, you also have to comply with data protection requirements online.”
“It should also be noted that the loan agreements are formally correctly concluded,” says Michael Herte. “Consumers are entitled to mandatory information such as details of the amount of the loan, the effective annual interest rate, a repayment schedule or a notice of the right of withdrawal.”
In most cases, the conclusion of the loan contracts negotiated online is still analog. It is signed on paper. “But that will also change,” predicts Ingo Foitzik. “The OnlineIdent process is often used today to verify the identity of the bank. And within the next one to two years, the digital signature will replace the analog signature.”