Canada's Condominium Magazine

Bank is betting that Canadians are ready for a fully digital mortgage experience

The president and CEO of Alterna Bank said recently, on the launch of the bank’s end-to-end digital mortgage, that the process of applying for a traditional mortgage puts buyers “through the wringer.” In the time it takes to get a mortgage in the old, non-digital way, a buyer could lose out on three or four homes, said Rob Paterson. His new offering—lending machine, as he calls it—is easy to use and takes the stress out of “an arduous and confusing task.” Rather than running around looking for the perfect mortgage, buyers should be spending their time finding the perfect home. Alterna’s technology will save customers time and energy and let them do just that, he claims.

This offering is likely to have great appeal for many home buyers, Paterson believes, especially younger ones, Millennials of course, who are “very trusting” of the digital space, and do-it-yourselfers who are already used to using Apple pay and Uber and other online financial services.

Applicants at Alterna can apply for a mortgage, upload all necessary documents and close the mortgage online, with no telephone contact with the lender unless they want it. They are  calling it Canada’s first end-to-end digital mortgage platform, and the process can be done in eight to fifteen minutes, the bank claims. Whereas other pre-approval apps typically require the applicant to go through fourteen screens, Alterna has cut the number down to eight or nine, according to Paterson, and the pre-approval comes with a ninety-day rate hold. Their process goes “well beyond” basic credit scores, and uses a “multitude” of data sources ensure that the right customer gets the right mortgage.

Traditional paper-based mortgage application process is a time-waster, according to Alterna Bank.

In the time it takes to get a traditional mortgage, you could lose out on three or four homes. Buyers are put through the wringer, forced to make multiple appointments, going from branch to branch to haggle for the best rate. It’s nonsensical. Buyers should be spending their time finding the perfect home, not running around for the perfect mortgage. Our goal is to dramatically simplify what we believe to be an unnecessarily convoluted process by leveraging technology to save our customers valuable time and energy.

After pre-approval, the platform guides the customer through completion of the application, including document exchange. Digital signatures are used, something that significantly increases convenience and satisfaction for customers.

The reason for the lack of human contact unless the customer wants it, according to Paterson, is that they want the customer experience to be “pleasing” and focused entirely on the mortgage application, not interfered with by any cross-selling efforts on the bank’s part.

It’s an approach very much in line with that of other online service providers: the more personal the interaction feels, the better the customer likes it. That an actual other person does not have to be involved is evidence of the sophistication of our ability to gather pertinent data and turn it into a semblance of intimacy or familiarity. does not endorse in any way this product, which is described for information purposes only.

Auberge on the Park-Tridel


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