Woolwich has complained about the release of a survey by Mortgageforce that singled out the lender ‘for serious service shortcomings’. Mortgageforce has reported that some of the industry’s best-known lenders are the worst performers in terms of service to the intermediary, with the Woolwich coming out as the worst offender.
The franchise polled all its 79 branches as well as a further 250 brokers, and found dozens of cases where the Woolwich had offered an unacceptable standard of service.
Rob Clifford, chief executive of Mortgageforce, said: ‘We have been astounded by the high levels of response from advisers who have shared the same experience of poor service from just one or two culprit lenders. Virgin and Northern rock are heralded as a delight to deal with, whereas Woolwich gets consistently criticised.’
The Woolwich’s official response was: ‘A survey of this nature, which is largely based on anecdotal evidence, and contains no statistics, does not provide the full picture to enable Woolwich to further improve the service we provide to financial advisers.
‘Lending levels in the Woolwich since the start of the year have been exceptionally high and our net lending in the first quarter has increased significantly. The increase has come from both the direct and broker sector.’
The lender also pointed out that in the last year it had won eight separate awards for product innnovation and provision, three of which were voted for by mortgage intermediaries.
Gavin Earnshaw, operations manager at Mortgageforce, said: ‘We are confident the survey reflects the service quality issues we have with Woolwich. They are coming to see us and we will present them with account numbers for the various cases of poor performance.
‘Our survey came back to us with specific case examples, which we didn’t ask for, and obviously Woolwich are concerned. We stand by the comments we have made.’
James Rodea, business development director at Hampton International Mortgages, has noted poor service from several lenders. He said: ‘There are certain lenders we have stopped placing business with because the service levels are awful. I can’t recall ever having to stop placing business with a lender before, but holding on the phone for an hour is not acceptable.’