A Mortgage Solutions poll asked brokers whether advisers closed the laptops over Christmas or carried on slogging away on behalf of clients over the holiday period.
Just over 6% said they worked ‘as normal’ and downed tools for the weekend or key celebration days and just over a third at 35% took a complete break from 22 December to the 2 or 3 January.
The industry, including surveyors and master brokers offered a variety of views but many suggested remote working and/or a mix of paraplanning and adviser cover made helping clients easier over the seasonal period.
On Christmas day, 156 searches were carried out by intermediaries on the Twenty7tec MortgageSource platform, of which 99 were carried out by Directly Authorised firms.
Technology and protection sourcing provider Ipipeline said on Christmas day, 23 brokers quoted for protection, and drew 118 comparisons between them writing 11 cases, against 659 brokers quoting on 28 December and writing 262 cases and 236 brokers quoting on the Saturday 30 December and writing 99 cases.
Business levels rose back to 75% of standard volume levels yesterday on 3 January, with 2706 brokers applying for a protection quote, doing 21,304 comparisons between them and writing 832 cases, said Ipipeline.
Alexander Smith, senior mortgage and insurance adviser at London-based Capricorn Financial said December sees a natural drop in enquiries from around the second week, but it is always a busy period for getting the last exchange and completions in before Christmas.
He added there are always numerous Christmas parties to attend so in many respects it can be one of the most exhausting months of the year.
But can brokers justify closing completely and doesn’t everyone deserve a rest sometime?
Smith said: “I think it comes down to the culture of the individual firm. Even when quiet, the last few days in December are a great opportunity to catch up on admin and prepare for the year ahead.
“Also, with the right systems brokers are able to cover email, calls and access client data remotely so I don’t think there are many firms that choose to shut down entirely even if not physically in the office.”
Here are some of your Tweets on the issue below – and Happy New Year again from all at Mortgage Solutions.
Really frustrating that many STL lenders and solicitors closed from 3pm on the 22/12 until 9am on the 02/01. We had clients who couldn’t complete as a result. To be fair plenty of notice given but still frustrating when client ready and wanting to complete before month end.
— Rob Jupp (@robjupp) January 3, 2018
Shut my office 12pm on 22/12 and re-opened today at 9am with all staff. Out of office emails on but with note to say limited access.
We work around the clock for our clients but my team also deserve a break with their families at Christmas.
Plus, nothing really happens…..
— Dan White (@wfsmortgages) January 3, 2018
I didn’t see clients but I did take calls and process 3 mortgages that I did on the Saturday before Xmas. Any calls I had I’ve made appointments for this week , hence a busy week coming up.
— Rachel Dixon (@rhdixon1) January 3, 2018
We aren't a broker but play an integral part of industry and also in a service capacity. We stayed open until 5pm on 22 and reopened on 27 and although quiet we were there when and if we were needed! Turns out we were!
— chris bramham (@bramham50) January 3, 2018
December and January are the two busiest months in my opinion
— Sebastian Riemann (@surbiton2012) January 3, 2018
We stayed open in 2015 and 2016. We viewed it as a total waste of time. We closed in 2017 and just dealt with enquiries and client responses remotely. If my inbox is anything to go by it was the right call.
— 👀 Matt Lowndes (@mattlowndes) January 3, 2018