Research published by the intermediary arm of Yorkshire Building Society showed that the time it takes brokers to receive an agreement in principle (AIP) through Accord now averages under an hour, three hours quicker than in May.
Accord said 94% of its AIPs are processed on the same day they are submitted, rising from 53% in March. Acceptance rates straight through from AIPs have doubled since April to represent 50% of applications in July, while the number of AIPs being referred for further assessment dropping by 23% to 32% of applications.
In April, Accord retrained the majority of its case managers as underwriters in a bid to streamline the application process for brokers, allowing decisions to made on applications from day one and giving brokers direct access to underwriters.
Charles Canning, managing director at Accord (pictured), said the boost to turnaround times was a result of improvements made to the way it processed mortgage applications, coupled with affordability changes.
“The changes to our affordability criteria also make us more competitive against other lenders. For instance, a family with one child and a household income of £52,000 with monthly commitments, such as childcare, is looking to borrow £225,000 over 25 years. We would offer them a loan of £232,869, which is more than some of our biggest competitors,” he said.
Accord added that application-to-offer times have dropped by five days year-on-year since July last year, to reach an average of 12 days.
Iain Easton, mortgage protection broker at Independent Mortgage Store, said the changes have “strengthened” his relationships with clients, enabling him to deliver according to expectations.
He added: “Accord’s service has come on leaps and bounds – having direct access to the underwriting team means you can keep track of a case every step of the way, and you have the reassurance that any issues will be dealt with quickly.”
Canning added: “We believe that it is important to take a common sense approach to lending and we will continue to assess each application thoroughly. The changes have been carefully considered, and while Accord aims to take a more pragmatic view of borrower spending, as a responsible lender it will continue to ensure customers will comfortably afford their monthly repayments.”