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Brokers need fair play from lenders in high LTV space – Hunt

by: Bob Hunt, chief executive of Paradigm Mortgage Services
  • 31/07/2020
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Brokers need fair play from lenders in high LTV space – Hunt
High loan to value (LTV) lending provision is likely to remain a key issue for all mortgage market stakeholders throughout the rest of the summer and beyond, not least because it’s so very difficult to see how the situation is going to change in the weeks ahead.

 

The easiest point for me to make would be to urge lenders to begin lending at high LTV levels immediately or to lend far more than they are now.

I could suggest it is somehow a dereliction of duty, particularly for the larger, mainstream players not to do this, and argue they will be the ones to blame if we aren’t able to take full advantage of the stamp duty holiday.

But, the truth of the matter, is that I don’t believe those points because – to me – they smack of a real simplification of the current issues for lenders at high LTV levels.

It would also be tantamount to me urging lenders to lend irresponsibly at a point of great uncertainty for the UK economy and for many, many borrowers.

However, the support the intermediary community is giving lenders regarding high LTVs and the difficult decisions they are having to make comes with some caveats, because there needs to be a fairness brought into play here.

 

Fair play needed

You cannot operate without a level-playing field in one connected part of the market and expect wholesale intermediary support in another.

Take NatWest, for instance, which withdrew its key account product range and more recently made its 85 per cent LTV products only available through its direct channel.

At a time when there is clearly a strong demand for such products, to recognise that and yet only serve that demand via direct business channels, not letting advisers have access to those products is clearly unfair.

It’s certainly not reasonable for lenders to be exercising the LTV equivalent of dual-pricing, especially given the strong demand for mortgages.

Indeed, one top five lender recently revealed to me that it was currently doing the same volumes of business at 75-85 per cent LTV as it had been for 75-90 per cent, and that lender is at the very maximum of its operational capacity.

This may be down to borrowers finding a way to get the extra deposits together, demand being that strong, and the lender not feeling it needed to go any further up the risk curve than it deemed currently necessary.

 

Cut some slack

It is a frustrating time but lenders may find that advisers are willing to cut them some significant slack, willing to advise clients to park their current high LTV need if they appear to be chasing the wrong loan at the wrong time, willing to work with them in terms of how they release high LTV product funds, if there is seen to be a fundamental fairness at play as well.

No-one believes this is the ideal situation – not by any chalk – and reasonable advisers are certainly not demanding that lenders take risks that they certainly shouldn’t be at this point.

But that focus on the reasonable should also extend the other way, in terms of lenders being fair to intermediary partners and not simply serving their own interests when there is an opportunity to serve both.

Let’s try to invoke that phrase ‘We’re all in this together’ and perhaps truly mean it this time round.

 

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