At the start of this month, the bank confirmed that around 1,000 broker firms had access to its mortgages via its intermediary channel, and this covered around 23,000 individual brokers.
HSBC launched its broker channel in 2014, with Countrywide Mortgage Services, and rolled out to the whole of broker market in 2021. It expanded its buy-to-let availability to brokers later that same year.
Speaking to this publication, Chris Pearson (pictured), HSBC’s UK head of intermediary mortgages, said that the decision to pivot to a broker-focused approach in 2014 was due to it being “extremely underweight” when it came to mortgages.
“We had aspirations to grow our market share and help more people onto or up the property ladder, and by providing mortgages only to those who came to us direct, we were severely limiting that potential reach and customer base.
“The majority of customers seek the advice of a broker for their mortgage and protection needs. For any lender to meaningfully grow mortgage assets they need to work side-by-side with brokers who serve those customers. So, it became a fairly obvious conclusion that we needed to partner with brokers in order to expand our distribution reach and we highly value those relationships we built,” he added.
‘Simplicity, speed and resilience’ priorities for the year
Pearson said that HSBC did not have a specific upper limit of broker firms it wanted to work with, and what was important was that “we can get to know and understand each and every firm we partner with, and that value can be added in both directions”.
“Providing our brokers with the best possible service remains paramount and so we’ve always approached our onboarding journey with an eye on our ability to service the volumes we receive.
“Brokers place their trust in lenders to provide a top class service to their customers, we need to deliver on that,” he noted.
Pearson continued that “simplicity, speed and resilience” were the “most important aspects of the platform” and it would continue to make “technical improvements” to underpin those this year.
He added that it would launch automated document verification technology to speed up turnaround times and would be bringing out a range of cashback options for remortgage cases to its product range imminently.
Pearson added that it was “no secret” that the bank was “keen” on the buy-to-let market and it would be “pushing to further enhance our visibility and participation” in this sector.
He continued that HSBC was a “people-focussed business” and he noted that the bank had have some of the very best talent in the industry both in the UK and globally, serving our brokers.
He said: “We never take our position for granted, however, and we must always continue to enhance what we do by listening to brokers and making sure our close partnerships work effectively both ways.”
“We’re 100 per cent committed to the broker market and hopefully our continued investment in people, technology, products and service is clear to see. We’re here to stay.”
PT market ‘strong opportunity’ and developing new lead sources crucial
Pearson said that the overall market was “certainly challenging at the moment” and the indications were that the mortgage market would see a reduction in gross lending versus last year.
He noted that “setting up to thrive in 2023 is going to be key”, especially in a high-rate environment that many have not been accustomed to for a while.
“The product transfer market will present a strong opportunity of course, as will ensuring customers are property protected or indeed remain protected where every penny counts in the household budget.
“Exercising the ‘muscle’ around developing new lead sources, being vocal on your social media and marketing feeds etc or simply getting your ‘elbows out’ to win every drop of new business is going to be required,” Pearson added.
Pearson said that he didn’t have any concerns around Consumer Duty, adding that the brokers he had spoken to about it were “making great steps to get prepared” along with HSBC.
He continued that the regulation was a “big piece of work”, but it was an “opportunity to revisit how we work together in the best interests of the customer”.