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First-time buyers securing mortgages online as bank branches close

First-time buyers are shifting to online-only banks to help get a mortgage.

A survey by personal finance website NerdWallet found that with Britain’s biggest banks closing more than 300 branches this year, 63 per cent of 25 to 44-year-olds are now comfortable getting a mortgage online or via an app, without any human interaction.

Two-thirds of the 25 to 44-year-olds surveyed said they would now consider a bank with no physical branches, and 48 per cent were prepared to use a digital-only bank.

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A fifth of respondents said they were influenced to select a bank because of convenient access to a branch, but 38 per cent claimed they selected a lender based on convenient access online and 28 per cent liked using a bank’s app.

Denise Ko Genovese, a senior personal finance expert at NerdWallet, said: “The shift to digital banking is very apparent and this trend is undeniably a contributing factor in bank branch closures.

“A large percentage of younger adults are already comfortable applying for a mortgage online, but there is still more work for lenders to do.

“If banks can use their websites and apps to make more information and advice available, while smoothing out the application process, this can go some way to closing the mortgage knowledge gap for current and future generations, so that securing a mortgage online becomes second nature.” 

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