Platform was highlighted as the ‘driving force’ behind the increase in lending at Co-operative Bank in 2018, with intermediaries responsible for 98% of the group’s overall mortgage lending, in annual results out today.
Neil Wyatt, head of distribution – intermediaries at Platform, emphasised that the relationships with brokers are key in terms of both product design and influencing the lender’s strategy.
Wyatt cited the example of Help to Buy, which the lender moved into last year, noting that Platform had worked with senior people across the main distributors in order to identify which individual brokers were active in the market and best placed to provide advice.
He explained: “We didn’t have a Help to Buy offering, but we wanted one, so we talked to those partners to get their thoughts on who we needed to go and talk to. With the buy in from the distributor, we could go and meet those brokers, find out what they liked about others’ propositions, and what would work for them if we launched into Help to Buy. Then we came back and looked to put that in place, engaging with brokers throughout.”
Wyatt said the lender accepts that “we can’t be everything to everybody”, but emphasised Platform was always keen to speak to brokers to get an idea of how they view the lender, as well as areas it can improve, and noted that its support of Mortgage Solutions’ Supper Clubs had helped open up more opportunities for those discussions.
“Brokers are black and white with their feedback, but that’s a really good thing,” he added.
Wyatt confirmed that the lender is due to launch a new broker website, with a provisional launch date in the first half of the year.
He noted that brokers have played a central role in the construction of that site.
“For the last 12 months we have been working with around eight brokers, have been and visited them, looked at the sites they use regularly and what they like and don’t like about them. Those brokers have come in and sat with our design and technology teams, running from power points over what the site could look like to actual testing. Brokers have helped us design that site, and that’s the approach we take to everything we do.”