I am not surprised at Woolwich’s high-handed and pig-headed response to the Mortgageforce findings, anecdotal although they may be (story in Mortgage Solutions 3 June).
As an IFA, I have had direct experience of the Woolwich’s horrendous lack of service, ineptitude, off-hand manner and, I might also say, crass stupidity. So much so that I categorically refuse to do business with them anymore ‘ after all there is always a choice.
Their failings are endemic and ingrained in their culture as witnessed by the response.
With regard to your page one headline of 3 June issue (Packagers are optimistic about their future, says Mortgages plc), as a small independent IFA who processes about 20 mortgages a year at most, I have to say that my experience of packagers has been far from a happy one. I find it less time-consuming and infinitely more efficient all round to resource mortgages myself and deal with the lenders directly. I am delighted to see many IFAs prefer to turn their backs on this business, as I have every intention of continuing.
I have just read with interest and a wry smile, the article in 3 June issue of Mortgage Solutions regarding service levels at Woolwich.
I received a mailing in March giving details of Woolwich’s innovative ‘Rapid Remortgage Service.’ I had a client who had just finished his preferential rate with his existing lender and was concerned about the potential shortfall on his endowment policies.
The Tracker Offset Mortgage offered by Woolwich was ideal.
The mailing from Woolwich offered a credit score and agreement in principle within four working hours. The application was submitted on 18 March with an acknowledgement letter sent to my client on 8 April.
During this time, I wrote a letter of complaint to the manager of the Mortgage Centre and my business development contact ‘ at this time I await a reply from both.
In my letter I suggested they studied Halifax and its approach to remortgages as in my experience they do indeed offer a ‘rapid service.’
I also confirmed I would be placing no further business with Woolwich. This was a straightforward change of lender with employed applicants and all the necessary documentation was supplied with the application.
Woolwich has lost the plot when its official response is to point out that in the last year it has won awards for it’s product innovation and provision.
No-one disputes Woolwich offers one of the best flexible/ offset products on the market and while I always offer an illustration to my client, I explain to them the problems in getting their mortgage through the system and nine times out of 10 another lender is used.
Confidence in Woolwich will take an age to rebuild, come on Woolwich listen to your introducers.
MDS Financial Services
I noticed your article from Mr Clifford of Mortgageforce about service standards from some lenders, notably Woolwich, and I have to agree with him.
I travel around the country and speak to many IFAs and the name that always comes up with providing awful service is Woolwich.
We have had many cases over the last two years where not only has the service been awful, but its ability to deal with mistakes seems non-existent. Their own business development managers even agree!