However, they also argued that the varying standards meant that brokers need to be discerning in picking the right clubs to work with.
Stuart Powell, managing director of Ocean Mortgages, said the quality of the experience offered by mortgage clubs can “differ massively”, suggesting some are simply too big and “do not provide enough help or support”.
He continued: “The newer players are leading the way and showing the older clubs how it should be done.”
No brainer to use clubs
Carmen Green, mortgage and protection adviser at Xpress Mortgages, noted that the procuration fees with a “majority of lenders” is higher when placing business via a club rather than going direct, so the main focus when choosing whether to use a mortgage club comes down to the procuration fee on offer.
“If one lender will pay us more for doing the same job then it’s a no brainer.”
Andy Wilson, founder of Andy Wilson Financial Services, agreed that the enhanced procuration fees was the “obvious benefit” to making use of a club, though he admitted that he hasn’t placed cases through a mortgage club since setting up on his own.
More than just a payment route
Green added that the best mortgage clubs can offer far more than simply working as a “payment route facility”, noting that most will keep members updated on changes in the industry, organise workshops and events to help with training and CPD, and offer a helpdesk to assist with criteria queries.
She added: “Some mortgage clubs also have relationships with lenders where they can offer exclusive rates which of course appeals to brokers as that means they can offer something to their clients that another broker may not be able to; in a competitive market this could be key to securing the business.”
Wilson agreed that mortgage clubs have a “role to play” in assisting with the education of brokers.
“The clubs can also represent brokers in wider debates with other stakeholders, such as the government, industry regulator and the press,” he continued.
Which clubs stand out?
Powell pointed to the Air Mortgage Club team for equity release, praising them for being particularly helpful.
He said: “Stuart Wilson runs an innovative and progressive club that offer equity release brokers special lender incentives, training, great sourcing and fact finding and report writing systems. If Carlsberg did mortgage clubs…”
Powell also enthused about Brilliant Solutions, and Michael Craig in particular. “I know of no other national sales director who will come and visit you at your office and discuss how his team can help support and grow your business. Free packaging and research from his team are also really useful.”