Mortgage searches fall 20 per cent in April after frantic March – Twenty7Tec
According to Twenty7Tec’s monthly report for April, purchase searches accounted for 62 per cent and remortgage searches accounted for 38 per cent of overall mortgage searches.
The report noted that purchase searches had fallen by around 15.6 per cent month-on-month while remortgage searches had fallen by around a quarter.
Buy-to-let searches in April also fell by 20 per cent month-on-month.
The biggest fall in searches happened for properties valued over £1m, which fell by 16 per cent month-on-month.
The company said that just over 20 per cent of searches came from first-time buyers, which is the first time this has occurred since June 2021.
The report also found that the number of products on the market contracted by 19 per cent month-on-month, which it said was the first fall in 18 months.
The company suggested that this could be due to lenders waiting on the Bank of England’s (BoE) decision around raising interest rates, which happened today as the base rate rose to one per cent.
It added that searches for fixed, stepped, tacker capped, discount, variable and libor products all fell slightly month-on-month, but said that this could be due to frantic activity in the month prior.
The firm said that search volumes were also down across all loan to value (LTV) ranges for March and February.
The report said that whilst April saw fewer searches, the volume of ESIS documents produced “continued to be strong” with 16,306 documents products in April compared to 18,763 in March.
Searches around credit history, visas and residency and first-time buyers were the three most popular searches.
James Tucker (pictured), founder and chief executive of Twenty7Tec, said “It’s hard to determine if the changes we’ve seen in the market are due to a change in confidence, economic outlook, the upcoming Bank of England potential rate change or simply down to April having fewer working days and everyone needing a well-earned break. The next few days for the market are going to be very instructive.”
Primis integrates Twenty7Tec into back-office system
Toolbox provides its users with an end-to-end customer service platform that can submit decision in principle (DiP) or full mortgage applications to multiple lenders through the Apply add-on, without having to re-enter information. Advisers can submit other documents, make notes, and get status updates throughout the process.
Apply also provides lender and product details, and allows the customer, lender and intermediary to communicate. It can integrate with third party platforms, like Toolbox, as well as consumer websites.
Primis members can access Twenty7Tec’s Apply system, as well as its Source platform, which is a search engine for mortgage equity release, secured and bridging loan products.
James Tucker (pictured), chief executive of Twenty7Tec, said: “I am delighted that Primis has integrated with Apply to support its advisers.
“Primis has been a long-standing partner of ours and this integration will be great news to advisers who are determined to offer the most effective and efficient service possible to their clients.”
Simon Breakspear, IT director at Primis, added: “We are excited to be able to integrate Twenty7Tec’s impressive Apply module to our existing Toolbox platform and we look forward to seeing the benefits it brings our brokers.
“We aim to provide our broker partners with cutting-edge technology to allow them to provide the best service to their clients, and Apply will certainly allow them to do this.”
Twenty7Tec upgrades functionality to Apply integration with Halifax
Twenty7tec will upgrade its Apply integration with Halifax to make the current decision in principle (DiP) application process easier for advisers.
Apply is an online platform that allows advisers to submit cases to multiple lenders at once for DiPs and full mortgages, as well as providing lender and product details. It also allows the customer, lender and intermediary to communicate and can integrate with third party platforms and consumer websites. The platform is used by all participants in the mortgage market, from lenders to mortgage advisers, comparison sites, and customers.
The new features will let advisers get DiP applications for self-employed customers and retrieve DiP certificates in Apply.
Twenty7tec has confirmed it is in talks about a merger with Bluecoat Software, which will mark the sourcing company’s entrance into the mortgage advice-focused software sector. This move followed Twenty7Tec’s recent partnership with Hometrack, which gives users of CloudTwenty7 access to Hometrack’s automatic valuation model for brokers.
Nathan Reilly, director of lender relationships at Twenty7Tec, said: “Since rolling out the Halifax integration early in 2021, we’ve seen strong engagement levels from advisers submitting DiPs to Halifax via Apply, with many praising the increased efficiency and time saving.
“We’re pleased to be in a position where advisers will now be able to place even more Halifax cases through CloudTwenty7 and download a DiP certificate that can be shared with their customers.”
Esther Dijkstra, managing director intermediaries, (pictured) added: “I am delighted that Twenty7tec has chosen to expand its Apply functionality with our update. This update is designed to provide the best service possible and is a step toward the capability to submit full mortgage applications via our API services, with more changes expected shortly.”
Twenty7Tec in merger talks with financial services software provider
If successful, the merger will mark the sourcing company’s entrance into the mortgage advice-focused software sector.
While the firms are keeping the details of the merger close to their chests at this stage, a spokesperson confirmed to Mortgage Solutions that “talks have been going on for a while”.
Bluecoat Software’s technology is used by financial firms and mortgage brokers. Its technology is a management tool that allows advisers to organise their tasks and administer new business.
James Tucker, CEO of Twenty7Tec (pictured), said: “I’m pleased to confirm that Twenty7Tec has been in talks with Bluecoat Software with regards to bringing the two businesses together.
“We believe that this combination will be a significant development for both the mortgage and wealth advice software markets. Talks are ongoing and we will make a further announcement shortly.”
This move follows Twenty7Tec’s recent partnership with Hometrack. The tie-in gives users of CloudTwenty7 access to Hometrack’s automatic valuation model for brokers.
March saw highest mortgage searches ever – Twenty7Tec
Last month saw the highest number of queries from brokers on the tool, surpassing the stamp duty rush in March 2021 by 60,000 searches.
Volumes are up by 15 per cent month-on-month in the £250,000 to £500,000 range.
On the other hand, the market has softened in the 95 per cent loan to value (LTV) sector with March being the weakest month of the year so far.
A larger percentage of people are searching for properties worth more than £1m on Twenty7 Tec, at 4.29 per cent.
Mortgage choice is still slightly below pre-pandemic levels, but 24 mortgage lenders are offering more products on the platform than ever before.
Nathan Reilly, director of lender relationships at Twenty7Tec (pictured), said: “There’s a lot of change happening in the mortgage market right now.
“Demand remains high for both purchase and remortgage mortgages, but inflation-driven interest rate changes are also influencing the volume of searches that we’re seeing.
“Comparing March 2022 with the two prior Marches is very hard. March 2020 was the beginning of the UK’s lockdown and we quickly went from the height of the market to the lows of the month afterwards. March 2021 saw the stamp-duty-driven boom of last year. Nonetheless, March 2022 has exceeded both prior years for total mortgage searches and ESIS documents created.”
Iress, Mortgage Brain and Twenty7Tec team up to standardise mortgage terminology
The technologies share data between broker software and lender portals with the aim to speed up mortgage decisions in principle and application processes.
The firms hope to remove barriers and any misconceptions brokers have around embracing technology by standardising the language and terminology used.
It is also supposed to make the platforms easier to use and improve the customer journey.
This will be enabled with Mortgage Connectivity, a program which is already used by 20 lenders to encourage consistent data transfer. The collaboration has been supported by Accord, Leeds Building Society and TSB, who will review the way their technology partners communicate with brokers too.
Davie Miller, Iress’ executive general manager, commercial, said: “To date, lenders and technology platforms have used a wide variety of terms to describe the same process. Clearly this is hugely confusing for brokers and can block the wholesale adoption of processes that can significantly improve the speed and efficiency of mortgage applications and decisions.
“It’s a problem faced by the whole industry and coming together as an industry was the only way to solve it.”
Nathan Reilly, director of lender relationships at Twenty7Tec, said education and collaboration were both essential to efficiency and time saving.
Neil Wyatt, Mortgage Brain’s sales and marketing director, added: “It is crucial that we work in collaboration when it comes to ensuring we are able to deliver the best possible outcomes for end users, regardless of the product, the technology being used, or the size of the firm using the technology.
“We are excited about how this will help and support individuals and firms across the marketplace adopt the available and developing technology and ultimately drive significant customer benefits.”
Robert Sinclair, chief executive of the Association of Mortgage Intermediaries, said: “AMI has advocated for some time the need for technology firms to work together to provide solutions that embrace more of the customer journey.
“This collaboration between our three main sourcing engines has to be seen as really positive and hopefully the start of a longer journey.”
Accord Mortgages adds BTL functionality to its application programming
And save time: Accord said brokers using Iress’ Trigold and Xplan Mortgage or Twenty7Tec Apply software could now process buy-to-let applications via the Iress Lender Connect system to pre-populate Accord’s platform to save as much as 20 minutes filling out forms on each case.
Jeremy Duncombe (pictured), managing director of Accord Mortgages, said: “Brokers have benefited from the digital efficiencies we’ve seen with our MSO platform and API connectivity working hand-in-hand for residential cases, and we’re pleased to be extending this to buy-to-let business too, meaning all our propositions can now be accessed in one place.”
He said the time-saving aspect would be felt even more strongly when advisers submitted “multiple applications for portfolio landlords.”
Kelly Bretherton, head of product (intermediary mortgages) at Iress, said: “The ability to apply for an ever-expanding range of products through Lender Connect means that brokers can work on a huge range of mortgage scenarios and apply without having to re-key critical information. This greatly increases efficiency, reduces the chance of errors, and makes the overall process much more streamlined.”
Nathan Reilly, director of lender relationships at Twenty7Tec, added: “January and February have been record months for Apply engagement from our users, which shows advisers are increasingly looking at the ways technology can drive additional time saving and efficiency when submitting applications to lenders. In order to continue this positive trend, it’s vital advisers can realise the benefits of integration across even more cases.”
February mortgage searches surpass pre-stamp duty rushes – Twenty7Tec
The month recorded the highest number of total searches on record, coming to 1.43 million enquiries and reaching 92.3 per cent of the activity seen during March 2021 when there was a stamp duty holiday.
Interest in products for million-pound plus homes and buy-to-let mortgages surged, with the former increasing by 18 per cent compared to January and the latter reporting its busiest month ever.
There were 60,602 searches for mortgages suitable for homes valued at £1m and over compared to 51,521 the month before.
ESIS documents produced for buy-to-let deals exceeded 20,000 consistently throughout February.
Searches for purchase accounted for 60 per cent of activity, totalling 863,119. This was a 1.5 per cent change on January. Remortgage searches totalled 568,941, up three per cent on the previous month.
Searches for first-time buyer products remained flat month-on-month at 19 per cent.
The number of mortgage products available on the Twenty7Tec platform dipped during the middle of the month but recovered and exceeded January levels by the end of the month. The firm said this happened as the market adjusted to new conditions.
Some 18 per cent of products available were in the 90 to 100 per cent loan to value range, the highest figure since the firm started tracking activity.
Overall, mortgage availability reached 87.6 per cent of the total products available before the pandemic, which was the previous peak.
Nathan Reilly, director of lender relationships at Twenty7Tec, said: “Despite being a shorter month, February outperformed January’s strong performance, particularly in the areas of total mortgage searches, the volumes of buy-to-let mortgage searches and the volume of searches in the £1m plus valuation range.
“Activity was stronger in the first half of the month so it will be interesting to see how momentum sustains into March and the pre-Easter push.”
Leeds BS, Danske Bank and The Openwork Partnership among best companies to work for
The UK’s Best Companies league table, which was formerly known as The Sunday Times 100 Best Companies, measures workplace engagement in a survey that looks at employee engagement, charitable activity and employee support.
The league tables are subdivided into an overall list of small, mid-size and large companies.
On the large list, Leeds Building Society ranked 17th, Danske Bank ranked 39th, The Openwork Partnership came 40th, OSB Group came 48th, UK Finance was 62nd and Simply Conveyancing came 73rd.
In the small companies’ category, which is between 25 and 74 full-time employees, Teachers Building Society came 22nd and Twenty7Tec emerged in 27th place.
Within the mid-size companies list, which is between 75 and 199 full-time employees, Darlington Building Society came 19th, Marsden Building Society took 31st position, Vida Homeloans came 44th and Phoebus Software took 46th position.
Leeds Building Society
According to Best Companies, Leeds BS promoted a “healthy work-life balance” pointing to its hybrid working, family friendly arrangements for staff and six core principles it communicated to staff.
The report said that 78 per cent of staff agreed that their job was good for person growth, 89 per cent agreed that their manager shared important information with them and 97 per cent that the organisation encouraged charitable activities.
Chief executive Richard Fearon said: “I am tremendously proud of everything our colleagues have achieved – it’s their commitment that drives our success. This is very much their award and I look forward to celebrating it with them.”
Best Companies said that Dankse Bank created a collaborative culture where employees had a “true sense of belonging” and their investment in learning and development, wellbeing and digital tools.
Around 79 per cent of staff agreed that they were happy with their work-life balance, 97 per cent of staff agreed that the company encouraged charitable activities and 86 per cent of staff agreed that the firm was run on strong values and principles.
Caroline van der Feltz, HR director at Danske Bank UK, said: “It’s our people who make the difference, who help shape the culture and make this organisation a great place to work. I’d like to say thank you to all of our colleagues, both for their engagement in this survey and for their dedication and support through what have been a challenging few years supporting customers through a global pandemic.
“The real value of this survey is the feedback it gives us from our colleagues in terms of how they think and feel about their work and on areas like leadership, personal growth, wellbeing, and giving something back. The detailed feedback shines a light on the areas we’re doing well in, but also the areas in which we can do better.
She added: “We’re committed to helping our colleagues thrive and will be working closely with colleagues right across the business to develop action plans and help make Danske Bank an even better place to work.”
The Openwork Partnership
The financial advice company was praised for supporting is employees and multiple charities during the pandemic.
Its charitable arm, Foundation, had its grant budget raised by a quarter to £400,000 and raised over £18m for disadvantaged children and young adults in the UK and abroad since it was launched.
Carrie Morris, chief people officer at The Openwork Partnership, said: “Our colleagues are extremely important to The Openwork Partnership, and we are proud of everyone for pulling together and adapting so we continue to deliver results for our clients. We believe that everyone should be able to balance a successful career with their commitments and interests outside work and have created a flexible working culture for all employees to help deliver that.
“To see improvements across the board in all categories is a fantastic testament to the resilience and dedication of our people. We will continue to introduce a range of wellbeing and training programmes to ensure we deliver an open, collaborative, diverse and engaging environment for all our colleagues.”
The OSB Group, which owns Kent Reliance for Intermediaries, Precise Mortgages and InterBay, has created a “culture that encourages personal growth and offers people opportunities to learn and improve”.
Best Companies pointed to monthly mandatory training sessions along with workshops, training and employee support. As well as a diversity and inclusion group.
Around 89 per cent of staff agreed the organisation encouraged charitable activities, whilst 74 per cent of staff agreed they were happy with their work-life balance and 84 per cent of staff agreed that their manager shared important information with them.
The OSB Group was contacted for comment.
Best Companies said UK Finance was “committed to providing a supportive working environment” and staff had access to a wide range of health, wellbeing benefits and services.
It also has hybrid working, a colleague forum and active social committee that organizes charitable and social events.
Nearly all, 93 per cent, of staff believed they could make a valuable contribution to the success of their organisation and 89 per cent said their team was fun to work with.
David Postings, chief executive of UK Finance said: “I am delighted that UK Finance has been named one of the best large companies to work for in the latest Best Companies results. This is a wonderful testament to the hard work of all colleagues here at UK Finance and we look forward to building on these positive results throughout 2022.”
Best Companies pointed to Simply FM, which is a live weekly broadcast that chief executive Rob Grimshaw gives the firm, where music, business updates and employee shout outs are given. Staff can also interact with the live stream.
The conveyancing firm also permits remote working, with 90 per cent of the firm now working this way and there is a focus on training and development.
Around 64 per cent of staff said they were happy with the work-life balance, 87 per cent said that their team went out of their way to help and 82 per cent staid their manger was open and honest with them.
Simply Conveyancing was contacted for comment.
Teachers Building Society
The society was praised for its clear mission on supporting teachers, commitment to local communities and charities as well as employee wellbeing and professional progression.
All of staff agreed that the organisation encourages charitable activities, 98 per cent said that they believed it would make a valuable contribution to the success of the contribution and 84 per cent the experience gained from their role was valuable for their future.
Teachers BS was contacted for comment.
Twenty7Tec was lauded as a “forward-thinking workplace” that places the same importance on culture as business strategy.
It has launched Together@Twenty7Tec, which invites colleagues to become diversity champions, and runs activities like its The Apprentice and Easter egg hunts during the year.
James Tucker, founder and chief executive of Twenty7Tec, said: “I’m really proud of every single person at Twenty7Tec. Since our launch in 2015, we’ve been evolving and adapting quickly, putting our employees at the forefront of what we do and that’s exactly how we plan to continue.
James added: “We understand that it’s our people that make our company and we’re completely committed to building an inclusive and thriving environment for everyone. We aim to transform diversity and inclusion into more than just a box-ticking exercise, which is why this year we created Together@Twenty7Tec where we invite our staff to become diversity champions.”
Darlington Building Society
Darlington BS pledge to share five per cent of its net profits, its community and employment support and strong family culture were all cited as factors in its listing.
Additionally, its working remotely and quarterly Breakfast with the Exec and Lunch with Board gives employees direct contact with senior leadership.
Andrew Craddock, chief executive of Darlington BS said that to be name nineteenth best mid-sized company to work for in the UK was a “fantastic achievement”.
He added: “We truly value our staff and strive to provide the most productive work environment for colleagues to thrive in personally and professionally.
“Often, we do all of this under the premise of business as usual. However, with such a fantastic accolade to share, now is the time to highlight everything that comes together to make Darlington Building Society such a special place to be a part of.”
Marsden Building Society
The mutual’s equality and diversity development programme and its bespoke development programme were praised by Best Companies, as it encouraged diversity and inclusion, personal growth and training.
There is also further external training available on a wide range of topics such as self-awareness, leadership and management.
Around 73 per cent of staff agreed that the company had a strong social conscience, 87 per cent were proud to work for the organisation and 85 per cent were happy with their work-life balance.
Marsden BS was contacted for comment.
Vida’s aim to help those who fall outside the criteria of mainstream lenders and dedicated staff were cited as reasons for the company’s listing.
Around 86 per cent of staff agreed that their manager shared important knowledge and information with them, 79 per cent of staff agreed people in my team went out of their way to help them and 67 per cent of staff agreed their organisation has a strong social conscience.
Anth Mooney, chief executive at Belmont Green & Vida Homeloans, said: “Our people are our most valuable asset and we are blessed with an incredible team of talented individuals. As a business we make it our mission to ensure we create the best possible environment for them to be challenged, develop their careers, have fun and thrive.
“As we are constantly evolving our business, we want our staff to feel empowered and be part of the change, so we provide an environment where they feel they can make suggestions and share their ideas and concerns.”
He added that following its involvement with Best Companies last year it had introduced culture champions, focus groups and improvements to its workplace.
The software firm has undertaken multiple measures to support its employees mental and physical wellbeing and charitable activities.
Its Bewell@PSL site offers employee assistance programmes, fitness programmes, health-related flexible benefits, and access to lifestyle and skills development e-learning.
Phoebus Software’s (PSL) sales and marketing director Richard Pike said: “This recognition reconfirms that fundamentally we are an ethical business that understands our staff are a major asset and accordingly we look after them as well as possible.
“We believe that a great, motivated workforce will deliver exceptional customer service and this is reflected in our major success and growth over the years. Client feedback reflects this also. We are very proud of our people and our clients, and will continue to do everything we can to make PSL an organisation that people want to work for, and backed up with fantastic technology, that clients want to work with.”
Kate Langton, chief people officer at PSL, said: “When we got the news last week, we all came together to celebrate our position on the league tables. After a uniquely challenging couple of years, for everyone, it was lovely to get together in person and celebrate.
“PSL is growing and our standing as a great place to work in technology and also within the UK is testament to our fantastic people and we look forward to more talented people joining our team in 2022.”
Twenty7Tec and Skipton BS test ‘time saving’ program
The collaboration with Skipton is intended to streamline the research and application process for intermediaries by removing the need to navigate multiple systems or re-key data, Twenty7Tec said.
With the technology in place, a CloudTwenty7 user can submit both a decision in principle (DIP) and a full mortgage application to Skipton via Apply, and can see any case updates or decisions.
The integration is initially being piloted through Connells Estate Agency Services, which is owned by Skipton.
A second pilot is also planned, involving both Connells Group and Mortgage Advice Bureau (MAB).
The entire pilot group is expected to involve 400 to 500 advisers.
If the pilots are successful, the system would be available to all advisers who use its Apply module and CloudTwenty7, meaning potentially as many as 15,000 advisers could be eligible.
Nathan Reilly (pictured), director of lender relationships at Twenty7Tec, said: “Our data proves that a fully integrated journey across decision in principle and full mortgage application offers advisers the efficiency and time saving they’ve been looking for.”
The collaboration, he added, would make a real difference to the way advisers submit mortgage business.
Paul Fenn, head of business development at Skipton BS, said: “Making things easier for brokers is important to us at Skipton and this integration will be a real time saving and will remove the need for the duplication of data during the DIP and full mortgage application.”
Chris Wainwright, product owner of mortgages at Skipton, added that the company believed the integration will help brokers “by creating efficiencies; making it easier to submit business and provide great journeys for our customers”.
The goal, he said, was to remove “duplication of effort, speeding up the customer journey and sharing data efficiently through the mortgage value chain”.