But the harsh reality that many intermediaries are now dealing with is that they are spending the same amount of time on fewer cases due to some increasingly opaque decision-making from the lenders they deal with.
Whereas regulatory red tape was once the biggest bugbear that brokers had, this has now been replaced by the inconsistencies encountered from some lenders which means they have to spend more time revisiting existing cases than pressing ahead with new business.
At the heart of many of these concerns is whether lenders are able to assess a case individually and deal with it on its own merits. I recently heard of a case where an individual wanted to borrow £300,000 on a £1m property with sufficient income but was declined due to a £28 catalogue payment that was missed while the client was on holiday.
Despite this oversight being rectified as soon as the client returned home it showed as a missed/late payment on her credit file and the lender automatically rejected the case and no flexibility or human intervention was permitted.
At the other end of the scale, first-time buyers are being rejected for similarly frivolous reasons. I was recently shown the factfind of a young, professional couple who wished to utilise the NewBuy scheme to get a foot on the property ladder, but were denied as one was living with parents and had insufficient credit to assess, while the other was renting but had moved between a number of different addresses in a three-year period.
While the latter in itself is not against any rules and should not invite any discrimination, it can give a lower points decision from a lender’s credit scoring system and lead to cases being rejected.
Amassing the sizeable deposits required to get a mortgage these days dictates that first-time buyers are likely to have to stay with family in order to save, yet some lenders are not willing to take this into account.
If lenders are serious about increasing volumes, then we are going to need more flexibility and understanding, particularly in cases where the clients represent such safe bets.
Bob Hunt is chief executive of Paradigm Mortgage Services