Last week, Mortgage Solutions polled brokers on whether they had a clear client remortgaging strategy.
Around two-thirds (67%) said they did, with a further 21% saying there was a strategy in place but it was not always stuck to. A little over one in ten brokers had no strategy in place at all.
Rachel Lummis, mortgage advisor at xpress mortgages, said that retaining clients was vital but could be easier said than done, emphasising that without systems in place and a set process it could be only too easy for clients to be lost along the way.
“Mortgage advisers are working harder than ever now, as sourcing a product for a client is time consuming and an art,” she said.
“The mountain of compliance needed is ever increasing and so we are time poor, which means that unless we are on the ball with client retention, opportunities can be missed. A good back office system is vital so that you are prompted when a client is coming to the end of their rate.
“We tend to get in touch with clients a good six months before they get to the end of their rate , it used to be three months but as soon as we found lenders reaching out directly to clients four months before the end date we soon changed that,” she added.
Mark Dyason, director of Edinburgh Mortgage Advice, said his firm was adapting its approach. Previously it had relied on getting in touch with clients three months before their initial fixed or tracker rate concluded, but he admitted this had been “pretty basic” and had not produced expected retention levels.
James Mole, head of mortgages at Gingko Independent, argued that remortgage business was the most important part of any broker’s business, though that may not become apparent until a few years into the job.
He continued: “Getting new clients is great and you can’t build a business without them, but repeat happy clients are the only way to make our line of work truly profitable over the long run.”
“Our approach is to initially get in contact with the client six months out from the end of their initial term. This allows us to put the idea of remortgaging back at the forefront of the client’s mind.
“This can be especially useful for the self-employed who might need to speak to their accountant to get things sorted before we start the remortgage process,” he added.
Regular contact makes a difference
One thing brokers agree on is that it’s not enough to simply leave resuming communication until it is almost time to remortgage. Instead, maintaining a more regular contact can pay dividends.
Xpress mortgages’ Lummis explained: “One way that we we reach out to clients so that we are kept in their mind is a monthly email newsletter. It’s just a few short articles on topical issues that are hopefully of interest to our clients, but mainly it serves as a reminder that we are there when they need us.”
Edinburgh Mortgage Advice’s Dyason agreed, noting that his firm was now moving to a rolling communication programme from initial drawdown.
He said: “We are looking to keep our line of contact to the client open, sending them relevant information and points of interest. We expect this to make the re-engagement much easier and reflect that in our retention conversion.”
Gingko Independent’s Mole added: “I would say it is best to be in regular contact with your clients regardless of when their mortgage is going to expire. The personal touch is key and that’s how we get referrals from existing happy clients to new ones.”