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Conveyancing powerhouses join forces to form consortium

Coadjute, a network for decentralised workflow and data sharing within the property industry, have agreed a project to develop new mortgage and home buying technology with a consortium of firms, including CA Affiliates, and banks including NatWest.

The purpose of the technology is to speed up and simplify the entire home buying process and make it available via NatWest’s mobile banking app. To do this, a consortium has been formed with the leading software providers from each stage of the home buying process – Dezrez Estate Agency Software, Redbrick Solutions Conveyancing Software, eTech Surveyor Software, Search Acumen Property Data, Conveyancing Data Services Property Data, and LMS Panel Management Software.

Coadjute will work with NatWest to create a new end to end home buying journey by connecting each leading software provider’s platform and building a decentralised home buying network, By using blockchain, or rather, distributed ledger technology, the information required in processes such as securing a mortgage and finalising an offer to buy will be seamlessly shared between each party. As a result, the whole home buying process should be significantly faster and efficient. The project will ultimately aim to provide NatWest customers with complete transparency over the entire home buying process via their app. Consequently, consumers should feel more in control and confident.

Coadjute’s technology was previously used in a ground-breaking trial involving the test sale of a home using blockchain. The trial, which involved 40 global organisations including RBS and Clifford Chance was one of the first of its kind, showcased how the entire conveyancing process could be reduced to three weeks.

Dan Salmons, Director for Mortgage Innovation at RBS, said: “We are committed to using the latest innovations to build new solutions for our customers that improve our customer’s lives. The home buying process is an area ripe for improvement, however, real change can only be brought to bear if we bring all the parties involved together. This is why this project and consortium is such a crucial step and if it is successful it will be a game-changer for our customers and the entire property market.”

John Reynolds, CEO and Founder of Coadjute, said: “Customer adoption will be driven by businesses coming together to provide a joined-up service. Even at this stage, we have connected up 12% of the mortgages market, 1000 estate agency brands, 4,000 conveyancers, and 80% of all property valuation instructions. With a pipeline of leading platform providers signed up and ready to onboard, we will have a significant percentage of the property industry on the platform when it goes live.

“We envisage a time when Coadjute-enabled businesses will be the go-to choice for all customers to get a mortgage and move home in one simple, fast and secure digital journey.”

Richard Price, Managing Director of Dezrez, said: “One of the biggest stresses in the home buying process is a lack of transparency for consumers – everyone hates not knowing what is going on. Whilst estate agents, solicitors, surveyors and banks are working hard in the background the consumer is unaware of progress. The Rezi platform was built to break down these barriers by utilizing modern technology to connect disparate software systems. We are excited to be part of this innovative group of companies with one aim; to create an end-to-end customer journey. As a result, estate agents will be able to continue to provide their customers with valuable information and benefit from a speedier sales process”.

Martin MacDuff, CEO Redbrick Solutions, said: “Our clients sit in the middle of the process and often have to deal with frustrated consumers who are trying to complete a complex process that they only complete a few times in their life. Our case management software assists users in speeding up the process and providing a better service to those consumers.  To have better transparency across all stages of the process would increase this exponentially. This trial opens up the possibility of radically improved communications between the estate agent, lender, surveyor and conveyancer and the creation of a shared view of processes meaning the customer knows exactly which step in the process they are at and what remains to be done; importantly they will get the same status regardless of which business they speak to”.

Jim Driver, Managing Director of eTech, said: “The valuation process has been radically transformed in the past five years, helping to speed up the end to end mortgage lending journey. Our software enables surveying firms to optimise the use of their Surveyor resource, improve the accuracy of report completion and engage the customer in booking their own survey appointments. We are excited to be contributing to what promises to be a transformation of the home moving experience for consumers”.

Nick Chadbourne, CEO of LMS, said: “The interaction between lenders and conveyancers has been transformed over the past decade, with digital services conveyancers can be requested, instructed and working within hours. We believe getting simpler levels of connectivity across the entire home buying journey will create benefits for both consumers, conveyancers and lenders”.

Christian Woodhouse, Head of Data and Strategic Products of Search Acumen, said: “We’re in a very exciting time for property/PropTech innovation where we’re able to back up the market hype around distributed ledger technology with meaningful action.

“Anyone who has bought or sold a property understands the frustration of the painfully slow and complex process that relies of inefficient, often paper-based correspondence between lawyers. We’re pleased to be part of a collaborative, forward-thinking project that could significantly improve the efficiency and transparency of the property transaction process for lawyers through digital innovations.”

Matthew Joy, Sales & Marketing Director of Conveyancing Data Services, said: “The time taken to complete the searches and gather property information has long been a source of friction. The ability to surface search data earlier means that due diligence processes no longer need to start from a blank sheet of paper”.

David E. Rutter, CEO of R3, said: “The promise of blockchain technology is gathering pace day by day, and it is use cases such as this one that are testament to its potential to transform industry status quos. The property sector is one which has benefitted – and will continue to benefit – immensely from digital transformation, overhauling processes that historically have been lengthy and cumbersome. We are proud that Corda is the platform to support this initiative from NatWest and look forward to helping more consumers to move home seamlessly and successfully”.

The project is working towards launching its Minimum Viable Product in 2020.

Coadjute’s proposition is further strengthened by the team’s work with HM Land Registry’s Digital Street project, where they beat a number of large corporations to win a major R&D project to use distributed ledger technology to explore connecting a central land registry with businesses.

Coadjute’s trial was built on Corda Network and hosted on Microsoft Azure in what is known as a R3 CorDapp Trial.

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