Martijn Van der Heijden told the annual CML lunch that the industry needed to move away from a sales culture in order to provide better service to customers.
“I think we have to get more honest, more transparent, more intelligible, to our customers. We need to be clear about what we provide and how we provide it.
“Somehow, after deregulation but before the credit crunch, mortgage lending sleepwalked into becoming a commoditised sales business rather than a true customer relationship business.
“It took the credit crunch to wake everyone up, and now we need to make sure we stay awake.”
Van der Heijden also stressed the need for the industry to continue innovating and bringing new products to market.
“We should continue to innovate for our customers and ensure that we don’t fall into the trap of hiding ourselves in the middle of the pack as a response to regulatory risk.
“Too often in the past, innovation was a euphemism for higher risk. That kind of innovation is not what I mean at all. What I mean by innovation is making it simpler for the customer, providing solutions where there aren’t any.
“Creativity and innovation can be a challenge for lending businesses operating in a cost-controlled environment.
“But necessity is the mother of invention, and we are the people who have to do this. Innovation won’t invent itself.”