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Mandatory gender prefixes put off potential mortgage applicants, warns broker

  • 21/12/2021
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Mandatory gender prefixes put off potential mortgage applicants, warns broker
Tick box gender identifiers like Mr and Mrs on mortgage documents are already putting off potential young and transgender applicants and unsettling customers, says a broker.

Kimberley Beecher, a 30-year-old protection and mortgage adviser from Portsmouth-based Mortgage Source, said making prefixes mandatory on application documentation and rarely offering gender neutral alternatives like Mx is disconcerting for those who don’t identify as male or female.

Much of the paperwork required to get a mortgage from application form to lender registration pages or fact finds routinely require applicants to choose a gender, she said.

Southsea-based Beecher said the answer is to remove the requirement completely, and added that in one month at least five clients said they would rather be offered an alternative to a gender specific identifier.

She said a lot of people who are able to walk through the door and have the conversation swallow their pride on the understanding that they know they’re going to have to identify themselves, either with names they don’t use any more or information that doesn’t apply to their identity.

“It seems bizarre considering the GDPR regime and data protection being about accuracy of information, when as far as they’re concerned, it’s not accurate because it’s not actually portraying who they are,” she said.


Age matters

She added that her 60-year-old male business partner had been surprised by the issue as his clients had either never mentioned it or shown any level of discomfort with the status quo.

Beecher replied: “I’m a young banker, so I attract a younger crowd, but it just so happens that 90 per cent of my business constitutes young people.”

She added: “Companies are so obsessed with the gender pay gap and racism and making sure they have a mix of white people or black people, which is brilliant. But they’re so focused on those two almost archaic problems.

“They’ve been around us unresolved far too long already. They’re now completely unable to look at the new problem that’s coming up, which is actually that people aren’t identifying the way they always used to because we’ve evolved.”

HM Land Registry confirmed the legal requirement to register a mortgage deed is forename and surname with no prefix required.

Credit reference agency Experian said titles such as Mr or Mrs are of limited value to credit reporting. It said: “If not provided, it would not impact our data matching or people’s credit scores.”


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