In an interview with Mortgage Solutions, Firth said Knowledge Bank’s official launch into the mortgage market will bring choice and offers an alternative to brokers looking for a radical difference in a more complex search solution.
She claimed the unique selling point was a criteria search system, instead of one based purely on product. It would “radically change the way brokers search for a lender when looking to place a mortgage, saving hours of time, especially on more complex cases”.
Firth said “Brokers aren’t placing cases based on product alone. Today it is more about which lender will accept the criteria of their clients.”
She added that for borrowers with particular circumstances, such as being self-employed and trading for just 18 months, or someone with one late payment on a credit card, or with part of his or her wage made up with tax credits “these people were up against it”.
But Knowledge Bank wasn’t designed just for “problem borrowers”. Firth said it could be used for people who were perhaps being paid via a special vehicle, such as an umbrella company, or even for someone looking for a mortgage on an unconventional building.
The product has been on trial for a year at discounted rates, and Firth said the tool is saving brokers hours in wasted time phoning help desks and spans residential, buy-to-let, second-charge, equity release, self-build and overseas mortgage product ranges.
Knowledge Bank has also been endorsed by compliance directors, with saveable searches either as a PDF or print out, which is date and time stamped also verified by lenders. The results can therefore be saved in a broker’s file as ‘evidence of research’ alongside product sourcing results, supporting a broker’s recommendation to their client, said Knowledge bank.
Broker Anita Smith, practice principal at Smith Mortgage Services, said: “Let’s face it, most of our time as brokers is spent researching criteria in order to place a case. Knowledge Bank is the tool that has saved us time, by pointing out the lenders that can help in a particular situation and telling you straight away which lenders could not.”
Philip Smith, compliance manager at broker First Mortgage, said: “Knowledge Bank has certainly helped me greatly when undertaking file checks as to why certain lenders have been recommended, particularly if they do not feature particularly well in the traditional sourcing systems. The fact that advisers are able to supplement their traditional research with documented evidence of criteria driven research has been of great benefit to me.
Louisa Sedgwick, director of sales for Vida Homeloans, said: “Knowledge Bank is just the innovation that the mortgage market needs. It should transform the way that brokers look for mortgages and the way that lenders display their criteria.”
The system comes to market with 43 of the main lenders on board and has a fully searchable database of more than 18,000 completed criteria.