Most advisers have already begun working from home, but those still in the office have put in place social distancing measures to keep themselves and their clients safe.
Brokers say their diaries have remained busy, as applicants push ahead with remortgages and house purchases. While some brokers are receiving a growing number of enquiries about mortgage protection insurance.
Rob Gill, managing director of Altura Mortgage Finance, said his team are set up to work from home.
“Being able to work remotely has been part of our business model since we started. We have an online fact find which includes a secure document upload, electronic proof of identification and address platform.
“We have access to Open Banking, apps like WhatsApp and Skype and of course phone and email, which means Altura is well placed to carry on looking after our clients.”
More protection enquiries
Rachel Lummis, owner of Xpressmortgages, and her team of five mortgage and protection advisers are still working in their office in Surrey but are not attending events, taking BDM visits or having meetings in the office.
They are listening closely to government guidelines, and anyone with a cough or temperature is going straight home to self isolate.
Lummis said they have not seen too much change at this point in business levels.
“A few clients who have been provided quotes who were taking their time have suddenly decided they want to get cracking and get their applications in, I think prompted by the uncertainty,” said Lummis.
“I have also had a remortgage client who was going to raise capital to build an extension. It had all been agreed but now they have decided just to remortgage the existing loan to secure a fixed rate and not look at raising extra money.
“We have had increased inquires in mortgage protection products.”
Lummis said she is ready to close the office and her and her five advisers are set up to work from home. She needs to make plans for her administrators to work from home because this not typically needed.
Weather the storm
Home working for brokers is a normal part of their working lives, with many working weekends and evenings to meet client demand.
Colin Payne, director of Chapelgate Private Finance, said this puts intermediaries in a good position to the “weather the storm”.
“Digitalisation in the industry has changed the way brokers work and this will enable the vast majority, if not all, to work from home,” said Payne.
“We have set up a WhatsApp group to keep everyone informed and to chat in real time to keep spirits up and we have plans to look at video conferencing such as zoom, should the situation continue for a significant period of time, which I suspect it will.”
Importance of CRM systems
Payne said he thinks this where robust CRM systems will come into their own.
He said: “Purchases will clearly slow down, potentially significantly, so it is vital to keep in contact with previous clients regularly to assist with remortgages, product transfers and reviewing protection.”
Brokers should look at maximising income in other areas such as solicitor referrals and reviewing buildings and contents insurance plans, said Payne.
He added: “Those that went through the downturn around ten years ago won’t be surprised by any of this and should be well placed to come out the other side.”