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Digitalisation wasn’t built in a day

Digitalisation wasn’t built in a day

It’s an old-adage that ‘Rome wasn’t built in a day’ and it applies to the digitalisation of buying and selling property.

Since the creation of e-Conveyancing, an entire industry has been transforming. Some practitioners and lenders had a lightbulb moment and adapted quickly while others have been slower in approach.

PEXA understood early that wholesale change requires collaboration from the people set to benefit. To achieve this the industry must listen to one another and accommodate innovation where possible.

Andrew Rothfield, director of Glenferrie Conveyancing, is a man willing to voice his ideas and opinions on digital property exchange. In fact, it was this passion that saw Andrew meet with a major bank to address issues that Andrew (and arguably other practitioners) experience regularly.

“My request was to ask this bank to commit to accept all PEXA invitations as Mortgagee-on-Title if they were sent at least 10 business days before settlement. I’ve had these invitations declined before. The excuse given is that the matter had already been submitted by the bank to its manual settlement process stream,” he said.

It’s a common perception that dealing with banks can sometimes be gladiatorial. But for Andrew the outcome was positive.

“To its credit, the bank acknowledged that its failure to accept PEXA invitations can lead to considerable problems for the other parties involved in the PEXA matter. We all had to revert to manual settlement in this case. The outcome was that the bank offered to accept PEXA invitations as Mortgagee-on-Title if invited at least five business days before settlement. This was more than I was hoping for, a win-win.

Because of Andrew’s meeting, the bank will observe how many matters are being retrieved from its manual settlement queue consequent to accepting PEXA invitations, as these retrievals do constitute a significant re-work burden for the bank. 

Buoyed by the banks willingness to listen and adapt, Andrew wants his initiative rolled-out across the entire industry.

“It’s critical that practitioners have clear guidelines that define when banks will accept their PEXA invitations, or when they will decline. PEXA cannot advance if participants (and especially banks) are not accepting invitations. This needs to be an industry-wide policy as other banks have also declined invitations for this same reason.

As the Romans mortared brick-to-brick, a process of efficient operation developed. In a similar vein, this is being replicated within PEXA. As an early adopter, Andrew quickly experienced the benefits of going digital.

“I remember the days when PEXA was like a disco floor and nobody wanted to dance. I’d send out 10 invitations and only one would be accepted. Now I’m currently settling more than 20% of our transfers in PEXA.  I’m hoping to increase that to 40%.

“I love that PEXA is a peer-to-peer system and that we can all communicate in a polite, respectful fashion and, for the most part, we do. It’s heartening the bank was willing to listen and respond to a problem that I believe many practitioners would be experiencing. 

The fall of Rome is a contentious issue and, similarly, if an industry is not prepared to innovate and improve the way it conducts business its existence is threatened.

“I want to see online property settlement succeed and, to practitioners not willing to invite lenders quickly, I say this: ‘It’s like location, location, location. Invite early, early, early’,” added Andrew.

Practitioners can provide feedback via the PEXA Community or by contacting their PEXA Direct Specialist. 

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