BM Solutions launches new mortgage application system
Initially, the system will only be available for new mortgage business, including buy-to-let purchases, let-to-buy and remortgage applications.
Product transfers, further advances and transfer of equity will move to the new system during 2021.
Enhanced features include improved self-service options, built-in document upload, ability to amend applications post submission and alternative lending proposals at decision stage where available.
Intermediaries will be invited to register for the new system as part of a phased roll-out and once online they will be able to use improved case tracking functionality which includes key milestone and valuation notifications, email updates and administrator features to enable keying by admin teams.
Phil Rickards (pictured), head of BM Solutions, said: “We have already made a range of digital enhancements and invested in technology and these latest additions are designed to improve brokers’ experience through the application process with increased functionality based on their feedback.
“We’re as committed as ever to supporting the buy-to-let market and we are working towards expanding the new features early next year.”
Product transfer and further advance applications will continue to be submitted using the current One Minute Mortgage process and transfer of equity transactions will continue to follow the existing application process in the meantime.
Barclays’ coronavirus hit climbs to £4.3bn
However, in a results statement chief executive Jes Staley (pictured) said the bank expects the impairment charge in the second half of the year to be lower than the first half.
The group posted profit before tax for the first nine months of £2.4bn.
In the UK specifically, Barclays returned to profitability in the third quarter, with profit before tax of £196m.
There was £3.2bn of mortgage growth, but total income decreased 12 per cent to £4.7bn.
Within this, Barclaycard Consumer UK income decreased 20 per cent to £1.1bn, as reduced borrowing and spend levels by customers resulted in a lower level of interest earning lending balances, as well as planned lower debt sales.
The bank said “income headwinds” in the UK are expected to remain into 2021 and cited the low interest rate environment.
And the outlook “remains uncertain and subject to change depending on the evolution and persistence of the COVID-19 pandemic and the outcome of Brexit negotiations”.
Staley said: “In this historically challenging year for our customers and clients we have continued to provide huge support to help people through the social and economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. This remains a priority, alongside maintaining the financial integrity of the firm and keeping our colleagues safe.
“For customers, we have provided over 640,000 payment holidays globally, and this is in addition to some £100m of income foregone in the form of waived overdraft interest and banking charges for our UK customers and business banking clients.”
Barclays adds 85 per cent LTV mortgages to green range
The fee free deals are available on two and five-year fixed rates of 3.04 per cent and 3.14 per cent respectively.
The products are available on loans between £5,000 and £500,000.
Barclays green home mortgages are available for residential purchase applications on qualifying new build properties from one of the lender’s partner house builders, with intermediary applications accepted from a designated panel of brokers who serve each of these partner firms.
It comes after Barclays yesterday added more than 20 new mortgages to its residential and buy-to-let ranges at up to 75 per cent LTV.
Landbay refreshes entire buy-to-let range
The buy-to-let lender has introduced a free valuation on its most popular five-year fix, as well as reducing the rate down to 3.65 per cent, from 3.69 per cent.
The deal is available at up to 75 per cent loan to value (LTV) and also comes with free title indemnity insurance.
At the same time, Landbay has cut rates on its other five-year fixes, and its standard two-year rate has fallen to 3.19 per cent, from 3.39 per cent.
The lender has also expanded its range with the introduction of a handful of new 70 per cent LTV products, with rates at the same level as they were at 60 per cent LTV.
And rates have been reduced on houses in multiple occupation and multi-unit freehold block products.
Despite the high levels of demand, Landbay said it is conducting all business, within its service level agreement with most offers being issued within 72 hours.
Paul Brett, managing director of intermediaries, at Landbay (pictured), said: “Over the past month we’ve seen unprecedented demand from brokers and their clients.
“We are always listening to what the market is telling us and as a result we have relaunched our whole product range with lower rates.
“These enhancements, together with free Title Indemnity insurance and free valuations across qualifying cases means that more cases will complete, more quickly, with a significant cost reduction to the borrower.”
Brett added: “Our application process is completely paperless and online, therefore we don’t have any delays in the reviewing of post, because we don’t have any.”
Sesame expands protection panel
Seven new providers have been added to Sesame’s protection panel: British Friendly, Canada Life, Cirencester Friendly, Guardian, Shepherd’s Friendly, The Exeter and Unum.
They join nine existing providers, with advisers offered additional support including adviser toolkits and calculators, along with videos and webinars to help advisers increase their protection knowledge and skills.
Advisers can access a range of solutions including, term assurance, critical illness cover, income protection, family income benefit, private medical insurance, whole of life, relevant life, business protection and group risk.
Richard Howells, managing director of Sesame Network (pictured) said: “Financial advisers have an incredibly important role looking after the health and financial wellbeing of customers and their families.
“However, putting protection front and centre in these conversations requires the right level of knowledge and skills, backed by a comprehensive range of products to choose from.
“Our expanded panel gives advisers more solutions and greater choice. This is particularly important right now given the increased consumer interest in protection cover brought about by the coronavirus pandemic, along with the regular criteria changes being made by product providers.
“Expanding our protection offering is valuable for customers, and it can help advisory firms to build value in their businesses too.”
He added that following with member firms to broaden their range of services their business mix and growth “has been very impressive”.
Brokers need most support with availability of high LTV and self-employed deals – Primis
The network received 2,186 contacts from advisers, up from the monthly pre-pandemic average of 1,800.
The majority of questions were around high LTV deals and which lenders were operating in the market.
The team also received a high number of queries from brokers with self-employed clients who were keen to understand how their income would be treated by lenders.
Consideration of government support measures, such as mortgage payment holidays, in applications was also a key issue.
The product desk has supported brokers with 12,364 queries between March and September, marking a 14 per cent increase in the number of enquiries the team would usually receive in any given six-month period.
Vikki Jefferies, proposition director at Primis (pictured), said: “We recognise the importance of supporting and investing in our advisers so they can provide customers with the best possible outcomes – particularly at this time.
“This is demonstrated by today’s figures, reflecting the work of our highly skilled product desk team in assisting brokers as the Covid-19 crisis continues to impact advisers’ business.”
Aspen completes £2.3m multiple-use bridge loan
The first repayment was for an eight-bedroom newbuild mansion in Hornchurch.
The client was nearing the end of the development and was looking to capital raise on the site to fund the purchase of an investment property while extending the marketing period of the development.
As build control sign-off and warranty were still to be provided, Aspen liaised directly with the developer to gain all the needed information and ensure completion was not delayed.
The second element – the purchase of a three-bedroom newbuild flat in Canary Wharf – was funded in full including stamp duty and all associated fees.
The apartment had an outstanding issue to remedy for the purposes of the EWS1 form, and the lender liaised directly with developer Ballymore to get confirmation this was in hand.
Aspen provided 72 per cent LTV at a rate of 0.49 per cent for the initial six month period of the 12-month term.
The application was introduced by Foyaz Ahmed at Rainstone Money and John Smith of Fieldfisher LLP handled legals.
Harry Baker, credit manager at Aspen handled the case.
He said: “We will always back quality developments that require extended sales periods, but to do so while capital raising to 100 per cent to fund another purchase clearly demonstrates our flexibility and willingness to take-on complex cases where other lenders would walk away.”
SDL Surveying reports busiest month and mulls recruitment to increase capacity
The firm’s figures help to highlight the demand being placed on surveyors in the very busy housing market and it echoed comments from others in the sector who are also considering recruiting.
The national residential surveying and valuation firm saw its three best days of case volume in a five-year period and said this level of activity continued throughout the rest of the month.
During the month 88 per cent of days worked by surveyors were either at, or above, full capacity – which mirrored that of the previous month.
The surveyor said is now looking at a number of ways to increase capacity levels in order to maintain its service level agreements, including the recruitment of more surveyors and adding firms to its network.
Increasing the number and quality of the survey products offered is also on the agenda, as well as increased training for surveyors to elevate the standard of surveys.
Several clients delivered double the volume of business to SDL Surveying in September compared to a year ago, the firm said.
Simon Jackson, managing director of SDL Surveying (pictured), said: “Undoubtedly, and by all measures, September 2020 was our busiest month ever with volumes received, volumes completed and revenue generated all hitting their business highs.”
He added: “2020 has certainly not the year we anticipated it to be but, given all the hard work of everyone involved in the business, it has been a far better year than anyone could have imagined when Covid-19 arrived.
“We’ll continue to build on this and seek to maintain the very highest of standards in the work we complete.”
Start by November or risk missing stamp duty savings, homebuyers warned
Home buyers have until the end of March to complete a purchase and pay no stamp duty on purchases below £500,000.
However, bumper levels of activity and demand in the housing market since it reopened in the summer has left lenders, solicitors, and surveyors with a backlog of cases that is causing delays to the home buying process.
Legal & General Mortgage Club found those who need to sell their home and find a new property will need to allow nearly four months for the transaction to go through.
The mortgage club surveyed a range of stakeholders in the housing market, including estate agents, surveyors, conveyancers, and housebuilders to build an estimated timeline for a typical housing journey given the current delays.
Stamp duty rush and Covid create delays
Before the pandemic, a mortgage application for a consumer with straightforward circumstances typically took less than two weeks to move to mortgage offer.
But since the re-opening of the mortgage market, advisers have found this process is taking much longer – one third said it is taking three to four weeks with a further third saying it is taking four to eight weeks.
Those with more complex backgrounds, such as those with impaired credit histories or who have been on furlough, may need to allow up to six to eight weeks to get approved for a mortgage.
On top of mortgage delays, other elements of the housing sector are also trying to manage demand and the ongoing impact of Covid-19 on their businesses.
Conveyancers indicated that the time between offer and exchange is now taking three weeks, while the period between exchange and completion stands at one to two weeks.
Responses from estate agents also indicated that the average time between receiving an offer on a property and completion has increased by some eight weeks.
It means the average homebuying timeline could be up to 15 weeks – or 17 weeks for buyers with more complex requirements.
However, this figure does not take into account the holiday season nor the impact of a possible second lockdown, and prospective buyers should take this into account in their plans.
Legal & General has therefore suggested that buyers need to begin their search by 1 November to take advantage of the stamp duty holiday to give themselves enough breathing space should any issues arise before completion.
Taper the deadline
Kevin Roberts, director, Legal & General Mortgage Club, said: “The government’s stamp duty holiday has helped to encourage many hopeful buyers to press ahead with their homeownership plans, providing a much-needed boost to the economy.
“However, those wishing to take advantage of the holiday will need to plan carefully to avoid missing the March 2021 deadline, particularly if they have their own property to sell first.”
He added: “As homebuyers rush to take advantage of the stamp duty holiday, policy makers need to consider if a tapering of the stamp duty deadline is needed instead of a hard deadline.
“We need to avoid those moving or purchasing a home missing out through delays after 31 March when the holiday ends.”
Accord cuts LTI for higher incomes to manage service
The cap was previously five times income and the change puts higher earners on the same level as those earning below £60,000.
The new cap takes effect from Wednesday 21 October and will only impact new business and new applications for additional loans.
Accord highlighted that pipeline cases will not be affected, even if there is a material change to the application.
Jeremy Duncombe, director of intermediary distribution at Accord Mortgages (pictured) said: “Our priority is ensuring we can continue to offer a high level of support to brokers within the current environment.
“By making this adjustment to LTIs, we can manage volume and increase capacity to support brokers with a wider range of products.
“While a difficult decision to make, by honouring all our pipeline cases we hope the impact to brokers and customers will be limited. We will continue to review the situation and reinstate the higher cap as soon as possible.”
Yorkshire Building Society is also standardising its lending policy to an LTI cap of 4.49 times for all incomes.