Brokers expect their jobs to become more challenging in 2021 – research
Nearly all mortgage brokers feel the pandemic is having an impact on their business, the research by Virgin Money found.
More than three quarters of brokers expect a change to their role over the coming year, of these, almost four fifths think it will become more demanding with customers needing guidance.
Almost eight in 10 believe it will become more complex with market and customer needs changing.
More than half of brokers surveyed would like to see improvements to their experience when working with a lender in the form of removal of data entry duplication throughout the journey, as well as better options that allow them to manage their clients’ existing mortgages.
A similar proportion would like to see product improvements from lenders such as bespoke underwriting options and more innovative products.
There is anticipation among brokers that there will be further change from the pandemic- and impact – in the year ahead.
The main drivers were identified as increased unemployment as a result of Covid-19, house price uncertainty, but also improved first-time buyer incentive schemes.
Other drivers of change predicted include expected restrictions to lenders’ criteria and the end of the current stamp duty holiday.
Sarah Green, head of mortgage distribution and general insurance at Virgin Money (pictured), said: “The research clearly shows that brokers have found it challenging to keep up to date with fast changing market conditions and customer needs. As well as navigating uncertainty amongst clients and changes to products, they are also contending with what the future of the mortgage market will look like when furlough and the stamp duty holiday ends.”
Virgin recently revealed a partnership with Twenty7Tec to help reduce rekeying and make applications faster for brokers.
Green added: “We aim to be the best partner we can be as the UK navigates through the economic recovery from Covid-19.”
Virgin Money reinstates 10-day mortgage offer
The commitment guarantees a mortgage offer within 10 days of receiving a completed mortgage application, otherwise £100 will be paid to the customer.
The promise had been withdrawn briefly during lockdown to focus resources on providing services to existing customers.
Sarah Green, head of intermediary mortgages at Virgin Money (pictured), said: “The outbreak of the Covid pandemic caused issues which the mortgage market, as well as the wider financial market, had never previously experienced, leading to a temporary pause in the service commitment we offer to intermediaries.
“I am delighted to announce that as from Monday 20 July we are reinstating the service commitment, which is an important signal to intermediaries and mortgage customers that we’re back to full service with our reliable, prompt and high-quality proposition.”
Virgin Money selects 10 brokers to run London Marathon
The intermediaries have each secured a free place in the 40th marathon event, which takes place on 26 April 2020. More than 450,000 people applied for a place through the public ballot which closed in May last year.
The winning brokers were chosen at random after marathon sponsors Virgin Money ran its annual competition among its intermediary partners to win one of the free places.
The brokers will be running for charities including Mencap, who are Virgin Money’s Charity of the Year.
The winning brokers are Sam Brown of MAB Gloucester, Ertash Ali of Vincent Burch, Rachael Bolam of 313 Financial and Nazajat Ali of Mortgage On. Other broker participants include Paul Slater of Positive Solutions, Kevin Brooks of Direct Link Funding, Steve Watkins of Henry Clifton and Anthony McGoldrick of Mortgage Wise Scotland.
Advisers Luke Voce-Russell of Richard Bamber and Nicola Stone of Clear View Mortgages are also among those who won a place in the marathon. It will be the first time Ali, Bolam and Brown have taken part in a marathon.
Bolam said: “I’m over the moon to get a place, but also terrified. I knew I wouldn’t push myself though if I didn’t put myself out there, so this will give me the focus I need.”
Nazajat added: “You cannot imagine the level of my excitement when I got the news of getting a place for the London Marathon. It feels like I am flying sky high.”
Former member of the Parachute Regiment Paul Slater will be raising money for ‘Support Our Paras’. Despite a knee injury, Slater plans to carry 100lbs of kit including a five-foot long mortar barrel attached to a flag during the marathon.
Sarah Green (pictured), Virgin Money’s head of intermediaries, said: “We are delighted to offer 10 places to our intermediary partners at what is a very special event. This is the fourth year we’ve done this and this is the most number of place we’ve ever offered.
“All of us at Virgin Money wish the runners all the very best with their training and we will be there to cheer them along on the day itself.”
Criteria refreshed at Virgin, rates cut at Barclays ‒ product round-up
Borrowers who earn more than £100,000 per year and those with properties worth more than £500,000 will now be able to borrow at up to five times their income.
They will also no longer need to provide a P60 in order to prove non-variable income, instead only needing to supply the last two monthly payslips.
Alongside these changes, Virgin has removed restrictions in place on properties over or adjacent to commercial premises, and on flats outside of London with more than 10 storeys.
It will also now accept new build cash incentives of up to one per cent of the property value (up to a maximum of £5,000) for loans above 85 per cent loan to value.
Sarah Green (pictured), head of Virgin Money Intermediaries, said: “We want to help more of our intermediary partners’ clients find their perfect home or a better mortgage deal and we hope the changes we’ve announced today demonstrate our commitment both to brokers and to their clients.”
Meanwhile Barclays has announced it is reducing rates on a host of fixed rate deals.
The cuts, of up to 0.04 per cent, are taking place across purchase, remortgage and buy to let loans, including on Help to Buy products. The new rates go live on Thursday 5 December.
Alongside the rate changes, Barclays has fully introduced the digital (E-Sign) mortgage deed for remortgage applications across its full range of solicitors.
As a result eligible customers will be able to log in and sign their deed at any time, wherever they may be.
The lender said that clients may be eligible if there are no name changes, they are repaying an existing mortgage, and separate mobile numbers are provided for each applicant in the application.
Clydesdale makes ‘mortgage offer in 10 days or £100 cash’ commitment
If an offer is not made within the committed timescale, customers will receive £100.
The improved service offering also introduces the aim to provide a decision in principle to the broker within 48 hours of a case being submitted.
As well as quicker decisions, the lender said it is aiming to contact brokers at each stage of the process.
Brokers will receive a decision in principle within 48 hours of a case being submitted and, if any more documents are needed to progress the case, they will let brokers know.
Terms and conditions apply to the 10-day commitment that can be found on the bank’s intermediary website, and applies to Clydesdale Bank and Yorkshire Bank products.
Sarah Green, head of intermediaries, said: “We’ve listened to what our brokers have been telling us and have been working hard to improve our service.
“We know that getting things done quickly can make all the difference when it comes to helping customers. That’s why we now aim to issue an offer in 10 days of receiving a fully packaged application, or we’ll give customers £100 if they go on to complete with us.”
She added: “Our partners are a key component of our mortgage business and we deliver the majority of our mortgage business through those partnerships.”
FCA grants mortgage servicing firm full permissions
The international firm now has the permissions needed to provide mortgage servicing to UK firms and will focus on supporting new lenders and challenger banks.
Mortgage Solutions revealed earlier this year that Capita’s former business development manager Sarah Green (pictured) was preparing the firm’s proposition for the UK market alongside head of compliance Colin Ford who has previously worked for Manchester Building Society and Deutsche Bank.
Green and Ford bring 50 years of combined UK mortgage experience to Sutherland.
Sutherland operates in more than 60 locations in 20 countries and has originated $45bn of mortgages in the United States with more than one million mortgages under management.
A spokeswoman for Sutherland said: “Obtaining these permissions is a big thing for Sutherland. Not every firm that applies gets approved and some that get approved don’t always get every permission they apply for. Without this FCA approval, we would not be able to conduct business in the UK. We are proud of the decision and that we are viewed as competent and capable of operating within the highly regulated UK financial services sector.”
Ex-Capita BDM to launch mortgage servicing arm – exclusive
Green (pictured) explained that once the division is in business it will target new lenders coming to market who may not have the infrastructure available to service their own loans, and challenger banks keen to launch into mortgage lending or explore niche areas of the market.
She added that when working with new lenders, Sutherland would partner with brokers to ensure any new infrastructure was fit for purpose in the intermediary market.
Sutherland’s UK mortgage operations will focus on first and second charge loans and buy-to-let business initially, with the potential to expand its proposition into the commercial finance sector.
The servicing division is part of business process and technology management firm, Sutherland Global Services, which operates in over 40 locations across the world and currently offers mortgage services in the US, where its head office is located. Its operations in the US currently aid in the origination of $45bn of mortgages.
The firm is awaiting authorisation from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) until it can commence with its mortgage proposition in the UK.
Before joining Capita in 2012, Green worked as business development manager at HML after working in various roles at the firm since joining in 1999.
She will work alongside Colin Ford, head of compliance, who has previously held positions at Manchester Building Society and Deutsche Bank.
Ex-Kensington Sarah Green to replace Truswell at Virgin Money
Truswell’s (pictured) departure from his role as head of national accounts follows shortly after Richard Tugwell announced his resignation as director of intermediary sales in February.
Virgin would not comment on Truswell’s plans for the future, but explained that he would be remaining with the lender while he facilitates a handover to Green, who will take on the post with immediate effect.
Green had a long stint of working for Barclays before joining Kensington, seeing her start as senior mortgage propositions manager in 2007 to then move onto head of national accounts from 2010 to 2014.
Before joining Virgin in 1996, Truswell worked as head of financial services at Jayman Financial Services and as branch manager in both Nationwide and Bradford and Bingley.
Virgin has also made a number of changes to the way it assesses affordability today, with loans over £500,000 seeing a maximum loan to income multiple introduced of four times.
Kensington launches 75% interest-only mortgage
This strategy could include sale of property, as long as the rationale behind downsizing makes sense, or the sale of unencumbered second or buy-to-let properties.
Kensington can also look at share portfolios, ISAs, investment bonds, endowments, unit trusts and pensions, it confirmed
Sarah Green, head of sales and marketing at Kensington, said: “A healthy mortgage market is one that is diverse, with a variety of options for different types of customer. While interest only is certainly not for everyone, it can be the right option for some customers with larger incomes and access to alternative repayment options.
“As Kensington underwrites each case on its own merits, we are able to give careful consideration to all of the circumstances around an application. This includes the plausibility of the repayment strategy and a true assessment of all aspects of a customer’s income, including variable income such as bonus, overtime, investment or vested shares.”
Earlier this month, NatWest Intermediary Solutions also relaunched back into residential interest-only mortgages at up to 75% LTV.
The lender began lending to new customers earning over £100,000 excluding discretionary bonuses on Monday 21 September.
Applicants must have a repayment strategy although further restrictions apply if that strategy is resale. The lender said customers will not be accepted if they plan to repay the loan within three years or use the mortgage to consolidate debt.
Sarah Green to leave Barclays; two intermediary bosses appointed
Jackie Uhi, managing director, regulated customer advice will continue to be responsible for both teams.
A spokesman said: “We recognise the importance of intermediaries to our business and we are pleased to confirm this will now be managed by two intermediary partnership directors – Stephen Banks and Alun Donovan. This will allow for greater shared collaboration between our national account managers and our intermediary relationship managers.
“Sarah Green, head of national accounts, has taken the decision to pursue other opportunities.”
He added: “We have been open and transparent with these changes and have proactively engaged with our key strategic partners – and their day to day contact remains unchanged.”
Key accounts firms have been informed of the changes over the last few days.
In mid-March, David Finlay, managing director of the intermediary channel for retail lending at Barclays, resigned his position and stepped down as chairman of the Intermediary Mortgage Lenders Association.