Enjoy the news countdown of the year.
20. Kicking this year’s roundup off at number 20, a conveyancing firm on the LMS panel QCAS was hit with servicing issues and warned brokers not to contact its service desk in July. That’s one way to deal it.
19. At the British New Homes Senate in May, the UK’s biggest housebuilder Barratt told delegates the 2021 end-date for Help to Buy is already slowing decisions to buy land. In a thinly-veiled warning to government, he said shared equity is now critical to solving the UK house building crisis.
18. As the summer hotted up, so clearly did the unruly behaviour as an estate agent wins a sex discrimination case against a female boss after being propositioned in exchange for hitting sales targets during a boozy team lunch. The judge ruled for the male complainant as the manager ‘would never have said it to a woman.’
17. In our first Marketwatch on the list, our experts take us through the raft of potential compliance issues that could come back to haunt them. With thanks to All Types of Mortgages, Capricorn Financial and Just Mortgages for some sound advice.
16. It’s money, money, money in at sixteen as brokers got some welcome news from one of the UK’s biggest mortgage lenders. After a successful pilot with London and Country, the lender began paying out in July.
15. In more welcome news for the mortgage advice industry, Habito became the first digital adviser to launch an extensive ad campaign in September. Following the likes of John Charcol and London and Country, the startup began harnessing its £18.5m investment war chest to promote mortgage advice. Always a boon for the industry.
14. This gang of foolish estate agents are as confused about anti-competitive practice as they are bad at covering their tracks.
Stories about the Inland Revenue getting it right are far and few between. This isn’t one of them. In July, we reported that since the 3% surcharge on second homes was introduced in April 2016, HMRC has paid back millions of upfront payments at an average of £11,869 to over 10,000 homebuyers. With a slew of buyers out of pocket for extended periods, this is a loophole that needs to be closed.
12. We’ve all been there. Trying too hard to make an impact that is, but this broker took things a step too far when he later fell into arrears. Even worse – he never told Maureen, his Mum. Let’s hope she’s not a Mortgage Solutions reader.
11. As we are about to hit the halfway mark, our intrepid journalist Hannah Uttley braved the wilds of Holloway Road to see first-hand how the first mortgage advice ‘digital disruptor’ sees the market. ‘Proactivity, not reactivity’ is key here it seems.
10. As we countdown to our biggest story, this is by far the muckiest broker-related story to grace Mortgage Solutions this year, so buckle up. It’s the tale of the fabulously named Honey-Joneses, a hapless broker from Swansea and £20,000 of cash in a carrier bag.
9. At number nine, here’s the biggest appointment story of the year as MAB CEO Peter Brodnicki scores a double with Intrinsic’s Emma Hollingworth and Andy Walton. They joined the listed firm in the summer, but Intrinsic swelled its quality in Q4 with Gemma Harle joining as mortgage and protection network managing director from Tenet Lime.
8. Senior reporter Tim Chen only joined two months ago but he’s in at number eight, reporting on a potential disparity in northern housing markets as prices are rising but lending is falling away. Is it a misfire from broker One 77? One to watch.
7. At number seven, this key mortgage lender’s technology update was big news to intermediaries at the end of June, with the new application system expected to convert to massive time savings for hard-pressed brokers. Santander promised advisers time savings of at least a day.
6. It’s our first celebrity in the year’s countdown, with Mr ‘Feed the World’ himself practically being dragged off stage at Intrinsic’s annual conference by none other than Gaby Logan. Bob. People don’t hate financial advisers, but a few of them may think you’re a bit of a n*b after this confused display.
5. In yet another exclusive for Mortgage Solutions, in February, the UK’s biggest mutual gave brokers the news they’d been waiting for. Thanks for working with us on this one Nationwide.
4. This is the first of Atom Bank’s double in our top five, as our exclusive with the UK’s first app-driven mortgage lender hits the high notes with readers. The bank was listed in KPMG’s Fintech 100 by the summer and watch out for the Will.i.am-friendly ‘one-year on’ update shortly.
3. Atom Bank sent the market into a frenzy by throwing out the best five-year fix rate it had ever seen – then pulled it seven days later. It did say it would be a ‘short window’..what’s wrong with a bit of showmanship now and again?
Watchdog’s Steph McGovern made Purplebrick’s CEO squirm uncomfortably over its occasional sub-standard service and Close Brothers loan arrangements. The video makes for toe-curling viewing.
1. The one you’ve all been waiting for. It’s the top story of the year and the accolade goes to ex-deputy editor Samantha Partington for a hard-hitting piece of investigative journalism on the shabby state of the Help to Buy remortgage market. The question is, has this sector seen the overhaul needed? Recent stories suggest not.