However, that doesn’t mean that these deals aren’t available if you look in the right places, and the best options don’t always necessarily reside with the biggest players.
The mutual sector’s overall share of gross mortgage lending has significantly increased over the last year.
Net lending for mutuals has been £4.9bn in the year to date against £6bn for the market as a whole, and recent figures confirmed that they accounted for 22% of gross lending in September, compared to 17% in the same month last year.
Our own performance reflects this trend. We’ve substantially increased our lending over the last 12 months, and very much hope this upward trend will continue.
So what’s behind this success? On the one hand, borrowers remain attracted to mutuals’ reputations for providing a good service alongside good value, member-focused products, while on the other, brokers also recognise that smaller lenders, including building societies, can have a more flexible approach to applications in terms of underwriting.
It’s interesting to consider this in the context of figures announced by the BSA in August in it’s ‘Mutuals: Better Customer Service’ study.
These showed, amongst other things, that adults scored mutuals 22% higher than banks when it came to feeling valued as a customer and 13% higher when asked if they would recommend a mutual to a family or friend.”
Steven Marks is corporate development executive at Newcastle Building Society