Top 10 most read broker stories this week – 10/09/2021
This was followed by reports that Sean Tompkins, chief executive of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, was in talks to step down following various scandals at the association earlier this year.
The government’s proposed 1.25 per cent hike in National Insurance and its ramifications on small business owners and recruitment were also of interest to brokers.
Santander’s launch of more sub-one per cent deals, Halifax’s changes to its bonus commission and overtime income, as well as Cambridge Building Society’s self-employed mortgages proved popular amongst readers.
Lloyds Banking Group faces shared appreciation mortgage lawsuit
RICS scandal – chief executive Sean Tompkins in talks to stand down
NI and dividend tax hike may hit small business owners hard
Halifax increases bonus, commission and overtime income allowance
Cambridge BS launches self-employed mortgages for pandemic entrepreneurs
Holiday let mortgage options more than double as lenders eye the space
Brokers are still treading carefully with mortgage applications – Firth
Santander to cut sub-one per cent remortgage rate further in update
Half of Brits happy to take out a mortgage through a digital-only bank
NI increase sparks recruitment rethink among brokers ‒ analysis
Santander to cut sub-one per cent remortgage rate further in update
The options now comprise a two-year fixed rate remortgage at 0.84 per cent, and a five-year fixed option at 0.99 per cent. Both have a £749 fee.
This will replace the previous offering at 60 per cent LTV which was priced at 0.89 per cent and 0.99 per cent respectively.
The two-year fixed remortgage product at 75 per cent LTV with a rate of 0.99 per cent has also seen its fee reduced from £999 to £749.
Additionally, the bank has cut rates by up to 0.20 per cent across purchase and remortgage deals.
This includes the two-year fixed purchase product at 85 per cent LTV, which has gone down from 1.85 per cent to 1.70 per cent. There is also the fee-free alternative, which has declined from 2.19 per cent to 2.09 per cent.
The mortgage guarantee products at 95 per cent LTV have been cut from 3.4 per cent to 3.2 per cent for a two-year fixed rate, and reduced from 3.6 per cent to 3.45 per cent for a five-year fixed rate.
Santander has also cut rates on its residential product transfers up to 75 per cent LTV by as much as 0.20 per cent. Additionally, some product transfer fees have been reduced by £250.
Changes come into effect from 9 September.
Top 10 most read mortgage broker stories this week – 27/08/2021
AmTrust Mortgage & Credit’s business development director Patrick Bamford’s suggestion that a long-term government scheme of up to 20 years could give first-time buyers hope in the high-priced market was also one of the most read.
Keeping on top of product changes proved essential, as stories covering rate adjustments and launches were well received.
Nearly two thirds of first-time buyers use second source of income to raise deposit
A 20-year government plan could give FTBs much-needed hope in a high-priced market – Bamford
Newcastle BS promotes national account manager
Santander extends sub-one per cent offering in mortgage refresh
Skipton BS releases 95 per cent LTVs with below average rates
Just Mortgages builds on Wales coverage with director appointments
Atom Bank targets non-advised sales as report reveals upbeat return to lending
HSBC introduces differential rates by borrower type
High Court sanctions restructuring plan for Amicus Finance
Barclays slashes rates by up to 0.25 per cent and brings out sub-one per cent deals
Santander extends sub-one per cent offering in mortgage refresh
New products include purchase products such as the 60 per cent LTV two-year fixed rate product which has a rate of 0.89 per cent. Meanwhile, the five-year fixed rate alternative is priced at 0.99 per cent.
The 75 per cent LTV equivalents have rates of 1.04 per cent and 1.19 per cent respectively.
These deals have a fee of £999 and minimum borrowing amount of £250,000. They also offer £250 cashback.
For those remortgaging through a broker, there is an exclusive three-year fixed rate product at 60 per cent LTV with a rate of 0.93 per cent and an alternative at 75 per cent LTV with a rate of 1.11 per cent.
Both have product fees of £999.
Rates across its remortgage and purchase products have also been reduced by up to 0.60 per cent.
These include the two-year fixed purchase product at 90 per cent LTV, which has been reduced to 2.5 per cent from 3.1 per cent. This has no fee and offers £250 cashback.
There is also the two-year fixed rate mortgage at 85 per cent LTV, for purchase only, which has decreased by 0.45 per cent to 2.19 per cent.
This is now priced the same as the remortgage alternative at the same tier, which was cut by 0.27 per cent. Both have no fee and the purchase deal has £250 cashback.
Elsewhere, two-year residential tracker mortgages at 60 and 75 per cent have been reduced by 0.20 per cent, while Help to Buy deals have fallen by up to 0.45 per cent.
Mortgages for new-build properties at 85 per cent LTV have been reduced by up to 0.45 per cent and buy-to-let deals have been cut by as much as 0.43 per cent.
Santander has also withdrawn its first-time buyer exclusive products with £1,000 cashback.
Changes come in to effect from tomorrow.
NatWest changes self-employed SEISS grant criteria
The lender said that it would accept applications from self-employed borrowers who had received an SEISS grant as long as it was not in the last three months.
In an update to its criteria it added that brokers will no longer need to complete a mandatory self-employed application submission sheet and the self-employed triage team will not have to complete an affordability check.
The lender continued that it would use an average of the last two years or the most recent year’s income, whichever was lower, and look at the last three months’ business bank statements to assess its ability to sustain a declared level of income.
NatWest previously said that it would not accept applications from customers who have applied for an SEISS grant on or after 14 July 2020 but said that it would unveil a new criteria change in August.
Brokers speaking to Mortgage Solutions have also expressed dissatisfaction with the options available to self-employed borrowers over the past year.
However, lenders have started to soften their criteria, with HSBC announcing earlier this week that it would no longer ask self-employed applicants to provide bank statement from the first three months of 2020.
Santander and Bluestone Mortgages have also announced that they would not look at accounts for the 2020/21 financial year.
Santander reduces high LTV rates; TSB introduces tracker and shared equity deals
The largest reductions have been made to the 90 per cent LTV products, where the two-year fixed rate product has decreased from 2.57 per cent to 2.24 per cent and the five-year fixed rate product has fallen from 3.20 per cent to 2.90 per cent.
These products are available for purchase only and have a £999 fee.
At 85 per cent LTV, a two-year fixed rate remortgage product has been cut by 0.17 per cent while the purchase alternative has reduced by 0.21 per cent, and both are priced at 1.63 per cent. These deals have a fee of £999.
The fee-free alternatives have been reduced by up to 0.21 per cent and now have rates of 2.06 per cent.
Other significant cuts include the two-year fixed purchase and remortgage product at 85 per cent LTV which has decreased by 0.26 per cent to 1.85 per cent.
There is also the five-year fixed fee-free purchase product at 80 per cent LTV, which has been cut by 0.28 per cent to 2.19 per cent.
Changes will be effective from tomorrow.
TSB launches tracker and shared equity deals
TSB has added two-year tracker mortgages for first-time buyers, movers and remortgagors up to 90 per cent LTV.
It has also launched shared ownership and shared equity deals up to 85 per cent LTV.
Up to 60 per cent LTV, the rate is 1.09 per cent above the current base rate of 0.10 per cent. Between 60-75 per cent LTV, the tracker rate is 1.29 per cent above the base rate.
At 85-90 per cent LTV, the tracker rate is 2.64 per cent above the Bank of England base rate.
All products have a £995 fee.
The two-year fixed shared ownership products have rates varying from 1.69 per cent up to 60 per cent LTV to 2.54 per cent at 80-85 per cent LTV.
Santander mortgage lending soars 40 per cent in H1
A rise in net interest income, a gain of £71m from the sale of the bank’s head office in London and the clawback of £70m of bad loan provisions made last year helped to boost Santander UK’s profit before tax to £751m, a rise of more than 400 per cent.
The banking net interest margin increased by 34 basis points from 1.53 per cent to 1.87 per cent while operating income rose from £1.8bn to £2.2bn.
Santander said although the recovery in the mortgage market had continued strongly in 2021, there were signs that activity was easing which would affect pricing on new mortgage lending, driving rates down.
Over 90 per cent of the bank’s customer balance sheet is secured, the majority of which is prime residential mortgages with an average loan to value of 42 per cent.
Nathan Bostock, chief executive, said: “We have delivered good growth in net interest income and strong mortgage lending. At the same time, we have continued to focus on enhancing our customer experience and improving efficiency.
“Looking ahead, while we are encouraged by the UK’s strong economic recovery, uncertainty remains as we enter a new phase in the pandemic.
“The strength of our business, underpinned by our prudent approach to risk, means we are well positioned to grow and to continue to support our customers, fulfilling our purpose to help people and businesses prosper.”
As the bank reports soaring profits and mortgage lending, deputy chief executive Tony Prestedge has announced his resignation and will leave with immediate effect.
Bostock’s departure as CEO was announced in April, with reports that he will move to a newly-created role in the wider Santander operation.
Following the sale of the London headquarters, Santander plans to invest in a new campus in Milton Keynes.
Santander cuts high LTV rates and fees; NatWest revises new borrower range
At 85 to 95 per cent LTV, two-year fixes for purchase and remortgage with a £999 fee have been reduced by up to 0.26 per cent.
This includes the 85 per cent LTV deal which now has a rate of 2.10 per cent, down from 2.21 per cent. There is also the 90 per cent LTV product which has been cut by 26 basis points (bps) to 2.57 per cent.
The remortgage only product with no fee at 85 per cent LTV has gone down by 18 bps to 2.46 per cent, while the 90 per cent LTV equivalent has seen an 11 bps reduction to 2.99 per cent.
Five-year fixes for purchase and remortgage at 85 and 90 per cent LTV with a £999 fee have seen cuts of up to 0.20 per cent while fee-free remortgage products at the same tiers have been reduced by up to 0.11 per cent.
Santander has reduced the fees on its five-year fixed Help to Buy mortgages at 60 and 75 per cent LTV from £999 to £499.
The 75 per cent LTV offering has also had a rate cut of 0.04 per cent to 1.69 per cent.
NatWest revises range
NatWest has reduced rates on a pair of residential mortgages and withdrawn some green products.
The five-year fixed purchase product for new borrowers at 85 per cent LTV has been cut from 2.47 per cent to 2.34 per cent.
The two-year fixed product at the same tier has been reduced from 2.01 per cent to 1.97 per cent. A cashback incentive of £250 has also been added to the deal.
Both mortgages have fees of £995.
The bank has also pulled its two and five-year fixed green mortgages at 85 per cent LTV, with a £995 fee and £250 cashback.
Changes are effective from tomorrow.
Seven lenders agree to cover cost of submitting EWS1 forms to FIA portal after delays
The Building Safety Information Portal, which was launched last year allows, homeowners, buyers, sellers, valuers and lenders to search and submit EWS1 forms.
However, professionals have been slow to upload them with around 6,000 existing forms not yet submitted to the platform according to UK Finance.
According to the FIA user guide, in order to use the platform signatories need to register and pay £200 plus VAT for their application to be processed, thereafter there is a £25 plus VAT annual fee to maintain the registrations.
The EWS1 forms are then submitted and reviewed by the FIA and cost £150 plus VAT every time a form is submitted by PDF or £100 plus VAT for each form if it submitted online.
EWS1 forms were introduced in 2019 to address concerns of external cladding following the tragic Grenfell Tower fire in 2017.
However, there has been confusion about when a form is required by lenders and increased demand coupled with fewer fire professionals have led to some delays.
The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) issued new guidance in March which outlined when a form was needed, which housing minister Christopher Pincher said has freed 500,000 leaseholders from needing to obtain the form.
Brokers canvassed by this publication said that EWS1 lender requests were still a “grey area” and “mess” despite the new guidance.
UK Finance’s mortgages director Charles Roe said: “These forms are vitally important for anyone looking to buy, sell or remortgage homes in a multi-storey building. The financial backing and support of the seven lenders is a positive step to keep the housing market moving for flats and apartments.
“In addition, it will improve transparency and access to building safety information for everyone involved in the home-buying process.”
DIFF podcast: People do not realise how many successful mortgage brokers there are
Speaking on the Diversity and Inclusivity Finance Forum (DIFF) podcast, Brad Fordham, head of mortgages at Santander UK, said people did not consider mortgage broking as a career path because of this.
Fordham said: “I’m not sure people realise how many mortgage brokers there are in the UK, and the majority of them are very successful and doing a great job for customers.
“We know 80 per cent of the market is via intermediaries, but I’m not sure people out there really know it. So in a wider sense, there won’t be many people who come out of school, have done A levels, consider what they’ll do next and think ‘you know what, mortgage broking or financial services is that for me’.”
He added: “We could do a better job at selling that and trying to attract talent in.”
Path of progress
Speaking of his daughter Jemima, who he encouraged to get into the profession after she was unsure of what to do, Fordham said the sector did well at allowing such talent to progress from entry-level admin or paraplanner roles.
He also said this provided an opportunity for women and younger people to join the sector.
Dina Bhudia, CEO of P2M Asset Management, felt being a mother and not having a degree held her back when she first entered the mortgage sector.
She originally worked at Santander as a financial adviser when it was still branded as Abbey National, before leaving to become self-employed.
Bhudia said she moved as she felt there was no opportunity to progress within the branch.
Bradham, who was her regional manager at the time, admitted head office teams were typically made up of graduates and they did not necessarily look to retail branches for recruitment as staff did not always have the academic qualifications.
Bradham did not go to university either and said before he was given the opportunity to become a regional manager, he also got the impression that this limited him. He assumed his north London accent pigeonholed him and made people think he was not “bright enough” for senior roles.
Coming from an Indian background, Bhudia said it was not just the professional environment but also stigmas within her community that stifled her development.
When trying to network and build a client base, she said people from the same ethnic background often said they expected her to take on more traditional roles.
“One of the common things from the older ladies and even the businessmen were ‘shouldn’t you be at home with the children and making chapatis?’,” she added.
She eventually grew her business by getting to know people through community work, but found the insular nature limited further expansion.
Bhudia said: “The language barrier was an issue initially because a lot of my clients’ first language was not English. Me speaking Gujrati means you organically end up recruiting from your own community.
“As I’ve changed the culture within the office – we must speak English at all times because everyone on the other end generally can speak English – I’ve found that we’ve opened up to the wider society, which has helped me grow my business.”