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Broker-lender relations have undergone a fundamental shift – Hunt

by: Bob Hunt is chief executive of Paradigm Mortgage Services
  • 28/03/2018
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Broker-lender relations have undergone a fundamental shift – Hunt
As recent announcements appear to show, some lenders are becoming more enamoured with the adviser market and are looking to build deeper and more meaningful relationships.

This ardour may be surprising to some because the mutual appreciation between advisers and lenders has not always been this apparent.

Indeed, at certain points it has felt a lot more like mutually assured destruction – anyone for dual pricing?

However, the market, personnel, and especially the regulatory environment has changed.

While some lenders have been slow to grasp aspects of this, intermediaries have not, and I’m confident their dominance of mortgage distribution won’t be changing anytime soon.

In essence, the intermediary channel and advisers operating within it are exceptionally well-placed.

This can of course lead to some interesting decisions being made – especially when the market is uncertain, unpredictable and unknowable.

As Dave Grohl is prone to sing: “It’s times like these you give and give again”.

And in fairness to lenders it’s great to see more intermediary-friendly policies that are aimed at enticing more business – and dare I say it, more loyalty – from the broker community.


Right direction moves

In that vein, we’ve had the Co-op going all-in acknowledging the power of the mortgage adviser, as it is now only taking new business via intermediaries.

However, the lender is still happy to provide product transfers to existing customers, so perhaps their love of adviser distribution has its limits.

And we’ve had Nationwide Building Society changing its procuration fee payment process to weekly, which should cut down on the number of days advisers have to wait to get paid.

Again, this is a move in the right direction, and perhaps one that could have been introduced a while ago.

Added to this we’ve had more lenders now paying proc fees for product transfer business, which illustrates the importance of this sector to lenders and how they cannot afford to have advisers off-side.


Systems priorities

But, as always, it’s not all sweetness and light between the two camps.

I’ve read recently about certain lenders continuing with dual-pricing policies, while a number of brokers continue to complain about the disparity in technology which is utilised to bring in direct to consumer business compared to the systems advisers have to use.

As an example, I can’t recall how often the term ‘systems resources’ was used to explain the delay in introducing retention process fees.

To be clear it wasn’t systems resources that was the problem, it was systems priorities.

It’s this type of disparity which can often lead to tension and gives advisers the nagging doubt that for some lenders this is just a ruse, when behind the scenes they’re doing all they can to take the client away.


Rifts healed

Perhaps I’m being naive to think that everything can be sweetness and light between advisers and lenders.

The very nature of our work means there will always be disagreements and, for some advisers, a sense of disquiet that lenders would actually much rather be talking to someone else at this particular party.

That said, the deep rifts that existed in the past do appear to have (for the most part) been healed.

But the dynamic of the overall relationship has undergone a fundamental, dare I say it, paradigm shift and a real move to inter-dependent relationships.

We appear to have more mutual respect for the challenges that all parties face.

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