Majority of brokers don’t shop around for affordability tech ‒ MBT

Majority of brokers don’t shop around for affordability tech ‒ MBT

According to a survey from Mortgage Broker Tools (MBT), which collated responses from 400 brokers, 70 per cent said they used an affordability platform for research purposes on at least two thirds of their cases, but very few shopped around.

Affordability and criteria platforms have become a crucial part of a broker’s arsenal, with MBT, Twenty7Tec, Knowledge Bank and Criteria Brain among some of the providers available.

The survey said that only one in five shopped around for the best platform, with most sticking to the first one they used.

Tanya Toumadj (pictured), chief executive at Mortgage Broker Tools, said it was “encouraging” to see more brokers using technology to assist their affordability research, but it was “surprising” that many settled for the first one they used.

“There are many different options available now and some are better than others,” she said.

The research found 64 per cent brokers said accuracy was the most important to them, so they could ensure that they were selecting the most suitable lender.

Toumadj noted that different platforms had different levels of accuracy, adding that 79 per cent of brokers said MBT was accurate on majority of cases and a further 11 per cent said it was always accurate.

This compares to 67 per cent who said other platforms were accurate on majority of cases.

“The conclusion is that perhaps the market requires a bit more awareness of the platforms on offer for brokers and brokers could shop around first before jumping on board,” she said.

Later life lending definition helps assess worth and growth prospects – Wilson

Later life lending definition helps assess worth and growth prospects – Wilson

For a start, AKG Financial Analytics’ research paper on the UK later life market, perhaps for the first time, gives us both a definition of later life lending and what it actually might be worth.

Firstly, the definition – ‘Standard, retirement interest-only (RIO) or equity release mortgages for borrowers over the age of 55 with terms that extend into, or start during, retirement’.

Now, on the face of it, many practitioners and stakeholders will say, ‘Of course that’s the definition’, but it’s not been widely agreed upon before, and there has been a tendency to look at this sector purely within the confines of equity release, even if we’re all acutely aware that the sector is much broader than this.

Introducing that definition also leads on to being able to assess its worth, and unsurprisingly, it goes way beyond the £6bn-ish of lending we might see purely in the equity release space in 2022.

AKG estimates that in 2021, £54.9bn worth of new later life lending and product switching took place, while it estimates the entire later life lending market is worth up to £153.9bn.

 

Later life lending is more than equity release

Why does this matter? Well, up until relatively recently we have tended to believe, as mentioned, that later life lending was simply equity release, but that due to the relatively small amounts of business being written, that it was a niche market, with a niche attraction for both advisers and providers.

Again, for us working within the space, we could see it was moving beyond that and the sector was growing strongly, but I suspect there were few of us who could put a figure on the entire market, let alone the business being achieved in any given year. And, if we could, I doubt it would be at the levels cited above.

This makes a huge difference, because it shows the significant amount of lending that has already taken place, but it also shows the potential that exists, and it generates a pathway for new entrants, both from an adviser and a provider point of view.

 

Ongoing education vital for later life growth

Now, of course, there are still obstacles to overcome here, and the report doesn’t shy away from highlighting those, particularly in terms of the ongoing education that is going to be required if later life lending is going to continue on this trajectory.

Those of us within the sector might think we have done a relatively good job in terms of both adviser and consumer education, but what strikes me from this report, and other research into this area, are the significant barriers that still exist when it comes to later life lending particularly around getting consumers comfortable with it.

The Equity Release Council continues to do sterling work in this area, but we know the sector comes with a large amount of historical baggage which can weigh heavily on consumers, even when it is the most suitable solution for their needs.

Standard Life Home Finance research into this area highlights the questions that are often raised around security of tenure, inheritance concerns, the expense and the complexity of the process, and of course the sector is still fighting a reputation gained over 30 years ago.

That said, we have the answers to alleviate all those concerns and the broader range of products we have now, the ways they can be used, the criteria elements that can ensure the client gets the money and the peace of mind they want, all add up to a position where these products should not be feared at all.

But, consumers are not going to know this unless we tell them. We recently held our national conference and the message that was heard time and time again around developing the sector, helping more customers, and advisers’ role within it, was about the ongoing need for education.

There can be no doubts that education will help us build on the very firm foundations we have in place and will open up the later life lending sector to far more practitioners and far more consumers who can benefit from it.

Chorley BS joins Primis Mortgage lender panel

Chorley BS joins Primis Mortgage lender panel

 

The mutual offers later life, remortgages, buy to let, standard variable rate (SVR), Help to Buy, First Homes, shared ownership, historic adverse credit rehabilitation loans known as renew mortgages, a discount market scheme on new build properties and holiday let products.

Primis is owned by LSL Property Services and offers a wide range of support including training, events, business development, regulatory guidance, technology, and a broad product panel.

Julie Goodwin, head of business development at Chorley Building Society, said it was thrilled to be part of the Primis Mortgage Network and looked forward to supporting members with its “flexible approach to lending”.

She added: “We specialise in buy to let, self-build and later life lending and we are happy to help advisers with their complex cases. We look forward to working with Primis advisers, and seeing the benefits our individual underwritten service brings their clients.”

Vikki Jefferies (pictured), proposition director at Primis, said: “We’re pleased to welcome Chorley Building Society to our network, in a move which ensures our brokers continue to have access to the broadest range of products available, in order to best serve their clients’ needs.

“Their specialist lending products as well as their prime residential products will add real value to our panel.”

Access Financial Services reaches 100 broker milestone in five years

Access Financial Services reaches 100 broker milestone in five years

The broker has doubled its revenues in the last financial year compared to the year before and it is aiming to double the number of brokers over the next 12 months. It also aims to double the earnings of its brokers.

It said that it would do this by expanding the number of products brokers can offer and would provide brokers with business growth support and training.

Access said that it wanted to help its advisers earn six-figure sums by helping them “implement bespoke strategies into their own core business”.

The firm added that a number of brokers join through the company’s academy, which helps them take CeMAP exams, and it takes people who used to work in banks but want to become mortgage brokers.

The company said that half the brokers specialise in protection and the other half advise on both mortgages and protection. Access also has general insurance permissions.

Karl Wilkinson (pictured), chief executive and founder of Access FS, said: “It’s a great achievement that we have managed to attract one hundred advisers to join us in just five years from a complete standing start.

“We try to do things a little differently from other broker firms, creating a collaborative environment for brokers to help each other rather than competing with each other. There really is plenty of business out there to go round.”

He said that protecting the customer and providing best advice was its number one priority, so its compliance standards were “high but with a common-sense approach”.

Wilkinson added: “Many of our brokers who have worked at networks and other broker firms report that the way Access FS works is like a breath of fresh air compared to what they have known previously. Our ambitions now are to continue to grow and to double in size in the next twelve months”

Know Your BDM: David Binney, Norton Home Loans

Know Your BDM: David Binney, Norton Home Loans

 

What locations and how many advisers and broker firms do you cover in your role? 

I cover the length and breadth of the country, averaging 1,000 miles per month visiting brokers up and down the country as part of my role with Norton Home Loans. Before Covid, this was probably closer to 2,000 miles a month. I love the diversity and flexibility that being a national business development manager (BDM) brings.  

  

How have you changed the way you establish and maintain a good relationship with brokers in the pandemic? 

Although I love being back to face-to-face meetings with brokers, I am making the most of technology and keeping in regular contact with brokers via Zoom meetings and WhatsApp messages. This was something that emerged from the pandemic and it’s definitely a good way to keep in touch and maintain relationships.  

  

What personal talent/skill is most valuable in doing your job? 

I think being down to earth and always being myself is one of my key strengths and it is definitely an advantage in a client-facing a role like this.  

  

What personal talent/skill would you most like to improve on? 

While I am really comfortable on a one-to-one basis, I would like to improve my networking skills and learn how to work the room a bit better.  

  

Where would you rather be stuck, in bumper-to-bumper traffic or back-to-back Zoom calls? 

It depends on how I am feeling and the sort of day I am having, but I do enjoy a good sing-a-long in the car.  

  

What’s the best bit of career-related advice you’ve ever been given? 

That’s a hard one. I cannot think of one key piece of advice, but I have learned through experience that a work life balance is what matters most. It is much more important than title, money or perception.  

  

What was the greatest lesson you learned during lockdown? 

To not take anything for granted. Lockdown was a real eye-opener for me in terms of restrictions on freedom. Make the most of everyday.  

  

What was the first social event you attended once restrictions were eased? 

Sadly, I am pretty sure it was a mortgage exhibition. 

  

What was your motivation for choosing business development as a career? 

Like many people, I wouldn’t say I chose business development, it kind of chose me. I fell into it, but it has worked out for the best. The freedom and variety of the role is a big drawcard for me.  

  

If you could do any other job in the property sector, what would it be and why? 

I wouldn’t mind being a broker for a day and giving some BDMs a bit of grief. 

  

What did you want to be growing up? 

All sorts of things. I wanted to be a goalkeeper, an oil rig worker – I even wanted to be a DJ. I’m actually not very good at any of these things. 

  

What’s your favourite face mask design/pattern to wear? 

All black. Very boring but very true. 

  

And finally, what’s the strangest question you’ve ever been asked? 

Probably what’s your favourite face mask design/pattern to wear. 

Rate rise and cost of living crisis set to impact affordability – Firth

Rate rise and cost of living crisis set to impact affordability – Firth

This has a knock-on effect on mortgage rates of course but when coupled with the highly publicised ‘energy crisis’ and ‘cost of living crisis’ this has far more significance to lending policy.

Affordability has become a watchword for responsible lending in the post-credit crunch era with responsibility falling on lenders to ensure not just that a borrower will repay a lone but that they can repay a loan.

As a result, the pressure on brokers has increased to ensure that their client actually qualifies for a loan well before decisions on term and rate. The housing market remains buoyant and anecdotal evidence reveals that estate agents are not even booking viewings unless the potential buyer is under offer and ready to proceed, never mind just ‘on the market’.

 

Criteria changes essential to keep on top of

Criteria changes are therefore essential to be aware of as changes happen every day and not all are headline making.

Over the past month the ‘maximum age of the borrower’ at the end of the mortgage terms remained the most searched-for criteria in the residential sector which supports the position that borrowers are looking to extend their mortgage term to lower monthly payments which will, in turn, help meet affordability criteria.

This is reinforced further as the search for ‘income multiple used for affordability assessment’ was the second most popular during the past month. Brokers are aware that affordability will be an early casualty of a rate war and so are looking for lenders that continue to offer affordability criteria that fits their clients.

In the buy-to-let sector, the most common search was for ‘first-time landlords’ which showed us that despite rising costs and a removal of tax incentives for landlords, there is still a strong belief that housing represents a good long-term investment.

 

Entering a ‘golden period of mortgage advice’

With interest rates rising and the inevitable, and depressing rise of mortgage rates hot on their heels we are entering a golden period of mortgage advice.

As we know, people buy houses not mortgages and, as rates rise and product choice diminishes, borrowers can expect to see their ability to purchase their dream house disappearing before their eyes.

In a rising interest rate environment, where products can suddenly become the ‘best buy’ as other products are withdrawn, lenders can manage their inflows and subsequent service standards by adapting and amending criteria rules.

It’s not as glitzy as a rate change but it’s often far more effective. If lenders get overwhelmed by inflows as borrowers fight to secure a product before rates rise, expect to see a raft of criteria changes on a daily basis over the next few months.

Equity Release Supermarket hires two advisers

Equity Release Supermarket hires two advisers

The digital-tech company is looking to strengthen its presence within the industry and support growing customer demands.

Bishop, who has more than 40 years’ experience in financial services, and Feather, who has been in the industry for 22 years, will cover areas including the North of England and Yorkshire.

Mark Gregory, founder and CEO of Equity Release Supermarket (pictured) said: “Over the past two years, we have implemented new online processes, helping us to connect seamlessly to our customers, all of which have been highly well-received, therefore we have continued to aid this digital ambition in order to meet the changing demands of our customers.

“To support this drive, we are thrilled to welcome David and Tim to our team. It is always our aim to provide the best possible quality service to our customers, which is why we invest so heavily in our people, expertise and technology.

“We are also very proud to be creating new career opportunities at a time that continues to place people under a lot of strain, pressure and difficulty.”

Bishop commented: “It’s genuinely a privilege to join Equity Release Supermarket. They have a very strong work ethic and reputation, so I’m delighted to be part of the team.

“The thing I love about this job is seeing how much I can help make a difference to people’s lives. Equity release can be a wonderful option to help people over the age of 55, but it’s not always suitable for everyone. I always offer expert, open and transparent advice tailored to the specific needs and objectives of my clients.”

Feather has worked in the financial services industry since 2000, and two years later became a successful equity release adviser. ERS says he finds it particularly rewarding to see clients benefit from whole of market advice. Prior to joining, he held managerial roles in Lloyds TSB and Barclays, and subsequently went on to work as an equity release adviser.

Gregory continued: “This year we’re seeing greater demand in the market, with many turning to equity release to fund home improvements or repayment of residential mortgages in particular. Our new offering launched last year, Smarter, continues to grow in popularity. Therefore, it’s an exciting time for our new recruits to join and be part of this sector digital transformation.”

Tenet Compliance Services partners with Legal and General Mortgage Club

Tenet Compliance Services partners with Legal and General Mortgage Club

 

Tenet’s clients will be able to use Legal & General Mortgage Club’s free mortgage tools to find data on providers, including criteria, affordability and suitable product examples.

TCS advisers will have support from the mortgage club’s relationship management and mortgage support services teams, as well as access to its lender panel and its referral partners and includes free access to end-to-end mortgage platform Smartr365. The mortgage broker CRM system aims to help advisers save time and reduce paperwork.

Clare Beardmore (pictured), head of broker and propositions at Legal and General Mortgage Club said: “We are committed to supporting the advice community, and equipping them with the tools needed to support a wide range of clients, including those with complex income scenarios.

“We are confident that today’s partnership will streamline day-to-day business for TCS client firms.”

Warren Vickers, managing director at Tenet Compliance Services added: “Tenet Compliance Services is constantly looking at new ways to help everyone get access to quality financial support and guidance.

“This partnership with Legal and General fits perfectly with our commitment to providing advisers and their clients with the very best tools, information, and support they need to move forward with confidence and make the most informed decisions.”

Standard Life Home Finance partners with Primis Mortgage Network

Standard Life Home Finance partners with Primis Mortgage Network

The addition will fortify Primis’ existing later life proposition and help advisers who are looking to expand businesses within the equity release market.

Members will have access to the entire suite of Standard Life Home Finance products, which covers a range of loan to values, and includes drawdown as well as lump sum options.

Standard Home Life Finance will provide guidance on its product range to support advisers as they speak to their clients.

Primis also has a relationship with Air Sourcing, part of Key Group, allowing members to service their clients’ entire later life needs.

Vikki Jefferies (pictured), proposition director at Primis, said: “As more people look towards later life lending to support their needs, this partnership means we can provide advisers with the products and services that suit their clients best. We recognise advisers as being the future success of the market and we are confident that Standard Home Life Finance’s expertise and support will be a valuable addition to our panel.”

Kay Westgarth, head of sales at Standard Life Home Finance said: “Our partnership is another step in growing our later life lending offering. We’re pleased to work with them to expand their panel offering and support their members.”

The British Specialist Lending Senate 2022 in pictures

The British Specialist Lending Senate 2022 in pictures