It’s service that makes the tangible difference to your client’s mortgage experience and your business.
You control the service you give to your client directly, of course, but what about the service you both receive from the lender? It isn’t always easy to measure, and the sourcing systems don’t always give you the full picture.
You probably make smart decisions every day when advising your clients, based on your experience of dealing with different lenders. No doubt you know exactly which lenders you would and wouldn’t choose for a case that needs to complete quickly, for example.
It’s not just your own experience that can guide you – speaking to other brokers can give you valuable insight into service levels of different lenders too.
But what should you be looking for when trying to measure a lender’s service? A BDM bearing coffee and doughnuts may be a nice perk, but it won’t make a tangible difference to your business and your clients.
The three pillars of service below are a good start, as they not only make life easier for you; they also make for a smoother experience for your client:
Certainty of offer
Knowing that the lender is going to offer the mortgage makes all the difference to you and your client.
It gives your client reassurance to progress with other aspects of their purchase, such as engaging a conveyancer, plus they’ll feel confident in your efforts as their adviser, meaning you can move onto discussing related products such as insurance.
For you, certainty of offer from a lender is vital because it allows you move onto other work. When a lender declines an application after weeks of deliberation, it’s incredibly frustrating and damaging to your reputation as well as to your client’s purchase.
With Halifax, you can call on the day you submit a case and the lender will run through it, checking it has everything required. If more information is needed, you will be told about it immediately.
Speed of processing
It doesn’t matter how good the rates are, if a lender can’t process the case within an acceptable time frame your borrower could lose their property and you could lose the client.
Brokers tell lenders time and time again that they rely on them consistently hitting a good speed of processing. Delays mean you have to deal with unhappy clients, solicitors and estate agents, which can increase your workload and time spent on the case significantly – with no change to the fee you receive.
So how do you know which lenders are currently able to process your case and which are experiencing delays?
Some lenders publish their current application to offer times on their intermediary sites. Plus, you will already be aware of the turnaround times with those lenders you use regularly.
Another way to make sure you are aware of any delays is simply to stay up to date. Speak to your peers, and read the trade press which will usually cover any long delays that have been reported.
Keep up with industry news on social media (follow @mortgagesols on twitter) and broker forums, where there is no shortage of discussion about which lenders are providing a good service, and which are not. Of course, much of that is anecdotal but, combined with your own experience, you’ll begin to build a picture of which lenders you can trust to turnaround your case.
Fair fees for brokers
Your client comes first of course, but it’s important that you are fairly rewarded for your efforts, whether the client is a first-time buyer, looking to remortgage or wanting to do a product transfer. Being paid fairly and transparently gives you the time and space to give your client the best advice from across the market.
You will have conducted a factfind, searched the market for the right deal and given regulated advice, and your fixed costs of business don’t change based on which type of customer walks through your door.
That’s why Halifax pays the same fee to brokers who advise existing borrowers to stay with us on a product transfer as we do those remortgaging from another lender.
It’s right that you’re fairly, consistently and promptly recompensed for the time you spend advising your client.
More lenders are now paying procuration fees on product transfer business – but many at reduced rates. Hopefully, pressure from intermediaries will mean we start to see more parity on product transfer fees, as lenders recognise the intermediaries’ work on these cases.
For the use of mortgage intermediaries and other professionals only
If you do not have professional experience, you should not rely on the information contained in this communication. If you are a professional and you reproduce any part of the information contained in this communication, to be used with or to advise retail clients, you must ensure it conforms to the Financial Conduct Authority’s advising and selling rules. Halifax is a division of Bank of Scotland plc. Registered in Scotland No. SC327000. Registered Office: The Mound, Edinburgh EH1 1YZ. Bank of Scotland plc is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority under registration number 169628. This information is correct as of February 2019 and is relevant to Halifax products and services only.