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Real communication will refine the remortgage process – Rudolf

by: Beth Rudolf, director of delivery at the Conveyancing Association (CA)
  • 02/06/2023
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Real communication will refine the remortgage process – Rudolf
At the start of the year, we asked member firms what areas and issues they felt we should prioritise, and one of them was our relationships with lenders, achieving greater lender engagement but also specifically how we can work together to improve the remortgage process.

This is why we have set up a Remortgages Working Group, to look at the way conveyancers can interact with lenders. This is not just to improve communication methods and overall engagement, but to improve the speed and efficiency of the remortgage work we conduct on behalf of your clients and the lenders themselves. 

We held a Remortgages Working Group meeting earlier this year, plus at our most recent series of Conveyancing Association (CA) Legal Members Meetings, we held a specific Lender Engagement Workshop which included both conveyancing firm representatives and those from the lender panels. 

As you can imagine, there was a frank exchange of views and with so many lenders active in the market it’s often difficult to get a uniform solution to what is perceived as a uniform problem.  


Communication inconsistencies  

Many issues were raised around communication and the methods of communication still being used, for example, firms are still in some cases faxing Certificates of Title to lenders, which clearly feels like a throwback when you have other, more efficient methods of communication at your disposal. 

We also looked at the inconsistences of communication between conveyancing firms and the lenders themselves and panels – and the ways and means by which all parties distinguish a case, some using account numbers for example, rather than other methods used by other lenders/panels. 

When it comes to instructions as well, there was a request from conveyancing firms to receive it from the lender via the same way, same format and at the same time that the client gets it, rather than other methods. The delay to conveyancers receiving the mortgage instructions is a throwback to the days when additional forms and documents needed to be included in the pack, but as these are mainly standard and automated these days, there are no reasons to delay the conveyancer getting their instructions. 

A far greater degree of standardisation across all lenders can certainly help conveyancing firms in terms of their lender interactions. Not least because if you had this, then you don’t have to instinctively know how each lender interacts differently and the methods by which they are willing (or not) to take communications. 


Things have got better 

All of that said, firms were clear they’ve seen a distinct improvement over the past few years in terms of interactions between themselves, lenders and panels, but clearly there is still work to be done in order to get the specific updates and improvements required. 

By doing this, we are likely to have a much more efficient process because there will be fewer queries generated. The time it takes to answer these sufficiently will come down, meaning we can hopefully cut a large degree of the working time out of the process. 

Some areas might feel beyond our control, but there is still much we can do to help support those who can remedy them. Through these workshops we are reaching out to both lenders and the panels to identify the problems and the potential solutions that might already be at work with certain lenders, but not with others. 

Plus, we are reaching out to Land Registry for example, to work on how we can help it reduce the backlog of title registrations, which by its own admission, are now taking a lot longer to be applied and the backlog of which creates its own issue for those new registrations.  

Land Registry has added a significant number of staff in recent months, but through the pandemic – and as a result of it – did lose a large number of highly-experienced staff, and it therefore needs time to train up new employees, which again can have its issues because you are losing experienced staff in order to train others. It does, however, have a target to bring the backlog down and its funding is being used to secure service improvements and strategic planning in order to avoid future backlogs. 

Overall, it’s possible to see a short-term path to a better experience for all stakeholders, and the important point here is to keep communicating in order to reflect what is truly going on and to provide real solutions to fix those problems as and when they arise. 

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