Digitalisation trends open gap for more personalised mortgage advice – Marketwatch

Digitalisation trends open gap for more personalised mortgage advice – Marketwatch

 

However, not all broker firms have the backing of fintech or larger companies to build their technology potentially leaving them further behind in the evolving financial sector. 

So, this week, Mortgage Solutions is asking: Does the acquisition of broker firms widen the technology gap between those companies and smaller brokerages which aren’t tech-led? Do you feel pressure to bolster your technology? 

Adam Wells, co-founder of Lloyd Wells Mortgages 

I feel that while the larger brokerages may be moving towards robo-advice and full automation, it actually offers brokers with an opportunity to fill the gap that is left behind.  

We still have access to the whole of market, the software we use still allows us to complete research within an acceptable timeframe, and we offer a personal service that cannot be matched. We already use services such as Criteria Hub and our network provides with a CRM that has portal access.  

Our service level agreements are already more competitive that most large brokerages who may take a couple of days to respond to their clients.  

We don’t feel under much pressure at all to further advance our technological offerings. Most of our clients want secure, easy to use technology that is reliable and provides them with the service they require.  

If you speak to any client, they would much rather have someone available at the end of the phone to speak to, over dealing with a live chat facility that can lead you around in circles. 

We continue to attract customers who may not have the simplest scenarios who need an expert to point them in the right direction and hold their hand through the whole process from start to finish. 

 

Niamh Byrne, senior mortgage associate at Financial Advice Centre 

The arrival of Covid has certainly fast tracked our own digital advice process. Where it hasn’t been so easy to visit clients face-to-face we have had to re-assess how we conduct business in a slick, user friendly and of course compliant capacity.  

Our own introduction of a client portal has allowed us to do just that, with positive feedback from many new and onboarding clients.  

Operationally, we have been aware of the growing appetite for digital advice.  

But as a business that prides ourselves on relationships and the longevity of clients, our focus has been not to compromise on service even with the implementation of digital “help”.  

In terms of pressure, I feel personally that there is still strong and buoyant demand for personalised rather than robotic advice.  

But in a year where most of our interactions became digital, it seemed the opportune time to implement state of the art technology that has vastly streamlined our internal process and the external client journey. 

 

Toni Smith, chief operating officer at Primis Mortgage Network

Any broker firm that invests in tech to assist their offering will be able to offer clients an improved experience and improve the broker’s day to day tasks through automation.   

By improving customer experience and freeing up time in a broker’s day, tech helps users deliver an improved service while focusing on winning new business and expanding their client offering, ultimately widening the gap between those using tech and those who are not. 

During the pandemic, technology became a critical part of broker businesses and many feel that technology enables them to provide better advice.   

As more brokers improve their customer’s experience through investment in good tech, pressure is increasing on smaller broker firms to keep up by improving their digital offering.  

We are now seeing the pace of technology adoption among brokers increase dramatically as they enhance and evolve their propositions to meet an array of customer expectations and preferences in order to win and retain business. 

While we are seeing more brokers adopting digital technology to best position themselves for future growth, firms with simpler tech processes can still succeed by providing excellent customer experience using the tools available to them and ensuring they have access to the best mortgage products on offer.  

There are also customers still who prefer traditional business models, including face-to-face meetings and manual ID checks.

In the competition for new business, it’s important that brokers can deliver for both types of clients, and those who are experienced in traditional processes will succeed by offering a simple and efficient customer journey tailored to customer preferences.

RIP John Murray, journalist and author (24.06.1947 to 14.07.2021)

RIP John Murray, journalist and author (24.06.1947 to 14.07.2021)

 

He was a cheery man, always curious, often too totally absorbed in the pages of Mortgage Finance Gazette, which he edited for six years, to join in the daft editorial office mayhem. John was most often seen shuttling in and out, particularly around lunchtime, with commercial manager Mike Mortimore, sipping his Cappuccinos which left chocolate on his top lip, hunched over his desk or sharing the edition’s top news story with anyone in earshot.

He enjoyed a rage-fuelled rant after rudeness or an injustice and harboured magnificent grudges.

John was always generous in his praise of good journalism, found time for people and was consistently up for an inappropriate pint. He spoke often and lovingly about Pam his gorgeous wife who he always considered far ‘too good for him’ and his son Nick, daughter Natasha and grandson Thomas.

He had always fostered loftier ambitions, which he realised writing three novels, penning the one he appeared the most proud of, Elvis and the Virgin Mary in 2015.

More recently, John’s Facebook page was testament to the frequent walks he took in South London with his wife Pam and his love of wildlife photography. His passion for travel culminated in a Chimpanzee and Mountain gorilla tracking trip to Uganda just before his cancer diagnosis.

John was born in Kidderminster to an Austrian mother and an Irish father from County Mayo. He grew up in Shepherds Bush, was an ardent QPR fan and flitted between journalism and PR throughout his career which began in the 1960s with Sun Alliance and London Insurance Group. He moved into training at the Distributive Industry Training Board pioneering the use of video as a learning tool then on to the Building Societies Association (BSA) in 1982 to manage corporate communications and commercial activities.

He became editor of Mortgage Finance Gazette in 2000 at Charterhouse Communications, the place where so many of us started out and moved to Lending Strategy in 2006 where he reigned supreme until 2009 when the crash tumbled the standalone magazine but John stayed on as consulting editor.

John died at home in his own bed last week, after a brave battle with cancer.

In his own words, John said: “By accident rather than design I found myself as an expert in housing finance but at a strategic rather than an operational level.

“As a journalist I liked exploring new ideas and challenging old mantras, and this is exactly what I have continued to do in my books.”

The last time I saw John was two years ago, give or take, for another inappropriate pint in the Cittie of Yorke in Holborn. He lovingly re-told me the plot of Elvis and the Virgin Mary which I promised I’d read but never did. I looked the book up again on Amazon today which involves Elvis returning from the dead, a heroine committed by parents to a mental institution and a reality TV series which all climaxes in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.

Nice one John.

I’m going to have a pint, raise it to you and start reading tonight.

 

With thanks to Pamela Murray and family.

Buy the Kindle version of Elvis and the Virgin Mary here.

Attractive mortgage rates make it impossible to advise a lender switch – Marketwatch

Attractive mortgage rates make it impossible to advise a lender switch – Marketwatch

 

For some, avoiding intensive affordability checks while securing a favourable rate with a product transfer may seem like the better option. 

So this week, Mortgage Solutions is asking: Do you suspect you’ll conduct a higher number of product transfers this year? 

 

Lilla Dilliway, director at BlueWing Financials 

Whilst carefully checking the clients’ circumstances in all cases, we have indeed carried out more product transfers than last year due to the impact of Covid on a client’s income situation. 

This is especially true for self-employed people who have received Self Employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS) grants, which some lenders don’t accept or assess on a case-by-case basis making it rather difficult to switch lenders at the moment. 

Employed clients are mostly unaffected, as long as they are not on furlough anymore.  

Meanwhile, contractors are impacted by the IR35 changes which came in this April and saw some umbrella companies dodging tax by changing their employee structure. This has made it difficult for some contractors to find a new contract, particularly during the turmoil of the pandemic. 

All in all, yes, we can see an increase in product transfer applications compared to previous years. 

 

James McGregor, director Mesa Financial 

This is certainly an interesting situation and as advisers, our role has definitely changed due to the pandemic.  

Lenders have changed their processes significantly which is causing delays. On top of this, they are becoming a bit more savvy with their pricing for existing customers.  

They have worked out it is cheaper for them to keep their existing customers rather than spend money obtaining new ones, which means they can shave a few points off their mortgage margins. If you are then purely advising on interest rates it becomes impossible to advise your client to change to a new lender which will lead to the advice of a rate switch. 

Lenders are keen to fix people for longer too as it guarantees their own debt books, but the general public must be aware of any large early repayment charges that come with these attractive rates.  

Lenders need to make their profit somewhere and fixing customers to long-term rates, then charging huge exit fees when individual circumstances change, seems to be a go-to strategy right now.  

I believe they are hedging that a large portion of people will have to pay early repayment charges over the next five years. People need to remember, banks aim to make the maximum profit which they are not currently finding in their lending margins. 

People’s lives are constantly changing and evolving. This means that the pricing of a mortgage falls pretty low on priorities for many.  

It’s crucial for our advisers to stay close to our clients and make sure we are advising correctly, mitigating the risk of problems. 

 

John Phillips, national operations director at Just Mortgages and Spicerhaart 

With the vast amount of change this year, there will probably be a lot more product transfers in 2021 as it could well be harder for a lot of individuals to remortgage away to a different lender.  

In the past few months, there has been a lot of change in the job market; clients are now moving jobs, coming off furlough, some are going self-employed. All of these changes may make it harder for people to remortgage to a new lender and should result in more product transfers. 

The positive is that product ranges are now back to virtually pre-pandemic levels, so the choice is there. To get that choice right, regardless of whether a client is having a remortgage or a product transfer, it is essential to conduct a thorough review. 

One of the key differences in how Just Mortgages approaches product transfers is that our brokers take a holistic view of the client, much like we would with a new client. We will conduct a full fact-find, from top to bottom to understand what has changed. 

Whether that is salary, or the client’s family circumstances have changed, our brokers do a comprehensive review with the client to ensure they are switched onto the right product and they have the right protection in place. 

Once that review has been completed, it will become clear if a product transfer is the right move for the client, and our brokers can ensure they get the best advice possible. 

With competition between lenders fierce, rates are currently extremely low, and most clients whose salary have held up will be better off switching products, rather than moving onto the lender’s standard variable rate. 

Poll: Should lenders start removing pandemic-related criteria for borrowers?

Poll: Should lenders start removing pandemic-related criteria for borrowers?

 

The date to apply for the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme for the fourth and final time passed in June, the furlough support is due to come to a close in September and payment holidays will end at the end of this month. 

By now, people are either already depending on their own incomes to pay their way to or preparing to do so once the forbearance ends.  

So, with most borrowers on track to being self-sufficient again, is it time to strike criteria which relates to changes in income due to the pandemic? 

 

When should lenders start considering the removal of pandemic-based criteria?

View Results

Majority of brokers expect summer of freedom to bring service difficulties – poll result

Majority of brokers expect summer of freedom to bring service difficulties – poll result

 

When asked in a Mortgage Solutions poll: “Will sun and an excess of delayed fun with family and friends bring a summer of service difficulties?” around 73 per cent of brokers said that they were already seeing lumpy service levels.

This compares to just 18 per cent of those surveyed who thought it wouldn’t make a difference and just over 9 per cent who thought that everyone was too busy or well-managed for that to happen.

It comes after the news from Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Monday that many Covid-19 rules would be lifted on 19 July, meaning that people can socialise and travel normally after nearly 18 months of on and off restrictions.

Some brokers thought that the learning curve the sector has been on over the past year or so would help lenders and brokers navigate the summer months, whilst others took a more negative view.

 

Lessons learned

Chapelgate Private Finance associate director Colin Payne said he didn’t believe service levels from “freedom day” onwards would be impacted negatively.

He explained: “Lenders have learnt a great deal over the course of the last 16 months on how best to manage their processes and barring the odd exception the vast majority have had extremely good service levels.

“This is despite receiving a huge increase in volume due to pent up demand from Brexit, the sudden need for people to seek a home with outside space and the Stamp Duty holiday.”

He pointed to lenders using automated or desktop valuations, using mortgage verification schemes to verify income and reducing documents required.

He added: “So whilst the early days of the pandemic created problems for brokers and lenders alike, these have in the main been successfully overcome, which can only be good news for service levels going forward.”

Chess Mortgages adviser and director Bob Singh said that service levels over the summer would be a “game of two halves” for brokers; those with cases at £250,000 and below and those with cases priced higher than £250,000.

He said that brokers who deal with larger cases would experience a bit of a slowdown but not experience too much disruption as lender capacity is expected to increase.

Singh added that there could be service disruption due to further stamp duty deadlines but hoped that lessons had been learnt from the last month.

He said: “Freedom day will be a green light for many to go out and have a good time. Home buying may not be a big priority for some. The expected slowdown in the marketplace coupled with the spectre of rising inflation and possible mass unemployment following the end of the furlough scheme are factors which could slow down the relentless rise in house price inflation fuelled by the stamp duty benefits announced last year.”

 

‘Shabby’ service

Jane King, mortgage and equity release adviser, Ash Ridge Private Finance, said that the summer would not make much difference to service levels.

She said that there has been some “very shabby service standards” over the past year from some lenders as underwriters, administrators and tech support have been working remotely.

She also noted that some business development managers had been late in returning calls, which had delayed cases.

King said: “We have had to manage client expectations and make sure that this does not reflect badly on us as many of us have been working long hours and trying our best to get cases through. The stamp duty holiday stampede has not helped.”

She added: “As a result I think I am so used to it that it won’t make much difference. I have been advising clients for the past year that if they want fast turnaround times then we need to maybe select a lender on this priority rather than rate and this may well continue to be the case.”

Criteria changes for EU citizens have disadvantaged other foreign nationals – Marketwatch

Criteria changes for EU citizens have disadvantaged other foreign nationals – Marketwatch

 

Along with other recent amendments for all borrower types, it is uncertain what the options for EU citizens living in the UK could look like further down the line. 

So this week, Mortgage Solutions is asking: Have you come across any hurdles when trying to place mortgages for EU nationals living in the UK? 

 

Vanessa Nicholson, sales director at LDNfinance 

Having dealt with international clients for years, we’re well-versed in lenders’ views on non-UK nationals.  

Whilst no hurdles have arisen per se, changes in lender criteria for EU nationals have required a change in adviser mindset to ensure we’re checking clients’ settled status in the same way as we would for non-EU nationals. 

It’s less about ‘can you get a mortgage’ and more about whether you can secure the borrowing you want based on your residency status and the level of deposit you have available.  

We have the government and lenders supporting high loan to value (LTV) lending to help get people onto the market, yet very few lenders will consider applicants without settled status or indefinite leave to remain, unless they have 25 per cent deposit.  

This limits many EU nationals and other immigrants from getting onto the ladder. 

EU clients, like all international clients living in the UK, are always nervous of the impact their residency status has on lending options. Being well-placed and experienced within the diverse London market has helped us at LDN to combat their fears and navigate lending options successfully.  

No borrowers are rushing to complete in case of criteria changes, but in a year where lenders have rapidly amended policies and pulled products alongside tiered stamp duty relief, speed of transaction has been paramount – no matter whether you have settled or non-settled status.  

It’s crucial for clients to have an experienced property finance team on their side to give them an advantage, as they can demystify the market and regulations, help to chase lenders and solicitors, and speak to BDMs where needed to ensure clients are well-informed, in control and secure. 

 

Chris Hall, mortgage and protection adviser at Mortgage Guardian 

A large part of my business is helping people living in the UK, who are both EU citizens and citizens outside of the EU.  

The criteria changes have made it more difficult not just for me, but also brokers who dabble in the market. I’m getting more calls asking for my expertise. I am also turning more people away because it’s harder to get a mortgage for those who have been in the country a short time. 

Now I ask initial qualifying questions to avoid spending hours doing a fact find only to say, ‘I’m sorry I can’t get you a mortgage’.  

Some of the lenders we were certain would lend to EU nationals have changed their policy. 

I spoke to one a few weeks before they made a change and was told nothing would happen. Obviously, there were plans in place that even the BDM didn’t know about. 

Also, I think it’s beggar’s belief that some lenders won’t accept someone who’s living and working in the UK, is an EU citizen and has pre-settlement status. 

I had a client who was an EU citizen and had been in the UK for over five years. He had his pre-settlement status and was living and working in the UK. He wanted to buy a flat with a sizeable deposit for residential purposes.  

The lender said they just made a criteria change, so if he wanted to live in the property, they wouldn’t offer the mortgage. However, if he wanted to do it on a buy-to-let basis, they would.  

I just thought, ‘that is nuts’, because buy-to-let is riskier. Also, it might encourage people to get a mortgage in a dishonest way. 

I know mortgage brokers and lenders look at things from a different viewpoint, but I really would like it if lenders shared their viewpoint, so we understand why they make some decisions. 

 

Payam Azadi, partner at Niche Advice 

As long as we double check the criteria, we don’t have much trouble.  

However, one thing that has changed is some lenders are treating EU nationals the same as foreign nationals coming from outside the EU.  

Because of this, these lenders have made adjustments to their foreign national criteria which is both positive and negative because they have tried to standardise it.  

Where it becomes negative is when it ends up putting foreign nationals at a disadvantage. Although they’ve tried to bring it all in line, it has been to the detriment of some of the foreign nationals outside of the EU. 

This is mainly due to their visa standards, loan to value limits – so these changes are affecting all foreign nationals, not just EU citizens. 

There hasn’t been any panic among borrowers because these kinds of clients tend to be quite well informed about their position when they come to us.  

They seem to know their status, so we haven’t had to firefight as much around that. 

They’ll tell us their situation, then we double check it against the lender criteria. As long as checks are done beforehand then there shouldn’t be too many problems. 

‘Brokers who have not relied on stamp duty holiday will do best going forward’ – Marketwatch

‘Brokers who have not relied on stamp duty holiday will do best going forward’ – Marketwatch

 

Until 30 September, the relief will only apply to properties of £250,000 and under, before returning to the standard threshold of £125,000 on 1 October, alongside the previous duty exemptions for first-time buyers.

With average property prices at an all-time high and now surpassing the new threshold, activity in the market is expected to tail off as savings become less likely. 

So this week, Mortgage Solutions is asking: Will the housing market be noticeably affected by the tapering of the stamp duty holiday? 

Cloe Atkinson, managing director of mortgage technology solution Mortgage Engine 

The stamp duty holiday was introduced and then extended to boost demand following the almost total shutdown of the housing market and this policy seems to have been a clear success.  

There is some concern that a small number of purchases might fall through, and overall demand and transaction levels will drop.  

Certainly, some buyers who might have benefited from the tax holiday might re-think their options, but any idea that we will see a huge fall in activity ignores the fact that the market simply hasn’t been operating as normal for the past year and a half.  

The longer-term economic and societal impact of the pandemic, as well as how the industry continues to respond, will likely play a far bigger role in influencing the future of the housing market. 

As lockdown restrictions continue to ease, more pent-up demand will be released as buyers and sellers who have sat tight come to market. Additionally, the future of where and how many of us will work post-pandemic is becoming clearer and more definite.  

This could mean the ‘race for space’ accelerates. There are also serious challenges looming over the future of the market that go far beyond the end of the tax holiday.  

The end of furlough later this year and the withdrawal of government lending from businesses could have serious ramifications for the finances of potential buyers. As the economic impact of the pandemic becomes clearer, issues of affordability and vulnerability look set to come to the fore. 

The property industry needs to look beyond the end of the stamp duty holiday and ensure that it is prepared to meet these challenges, by investing in the right tech and people, refining capabilities and examining procedures. 

 

Kevin Roberts, director of Legal & General Mortgage Club  

The mortgage market will certainly be impacted by the tapering of the stamp duty holiday. However, the extent to which it changes the market is still to be seen.  

We know that demand for property is currently being driven by a real range of factors and that means people will still be keen to move, even after the tapering takes effect next month. Many still wish to upsize and relocate and there is also significant demand from international buyers.  

Last month, our SmartrCriteria data showed that advisers searched for mortgages suitable for buyers with visas more than almost any other criteria point. 

It’s also important to remember that we have not seen any significant changes to housing supply or how our housing stock is utilised since the stamp duty holiday began.  

That means competition for homes remains high and at a time where housing availability remains unchanged. We must remain positive that the UK’s levelling up agenda will help to change this, but for now, unless there is a big shift in housing supply or usage, stable price growth looks set to remain. 

Many have been quick to predict cliff edge disruption when the stamp duty holiday draws to an end, but we’re more likely to see a more gradual return to normal market conditions.  

For now, while mortgage rates remain extremely competitive, it continues to be a great time for people to borrow. 

  

Jonathan Stinton, head of intermediary relationships at Coventry Building Society  

It’s unlikely that the 1 July will bring as big a ‘cliff edge’ as many in the market previously feared, thanks to the taper. 

However, there will undoubtedly be many disappointed borrowers who are unable to complete ahead of the deadline and whose tax bill will be higher than planned – the cliff edge was simply moved and a different set of purchases are now affected.

It’s worth noting though that what we’re seeing is a gradual return to a normal level of stamp duty, so any discount is an added bonus. 

For intermediaries, it’s vital that they continue to plan ahead to help their customers both in the short-term and after the tax break ends – the Covid-19 pandemic has changed working patterns for many, and their housing requirements have changed to match, with many now able to look further afield than before.  

Brokers who have maximised alternative streams of business, stayed in touch with existing clients, and who haven’t relied on stamp duty holiday-fueled activity to survive will be best placed to carry on their success through the rest of the year and beyond. 

The remortgage and product transfer market in particular could offer a strong source of business for many this year, due to a high volume of product maturities on the horizon.  

Being there to advise clients and help them get the best deal will mean that a broker’s services remain in demand. And we shouldn’t forget that house purchases will continue, even if at a lower level. As ever, advice will be crucial, especially for first-time buyers and the self-employed, and it’s there that brokers can really make a difference to borrowers. 

Clients accept solicitor fees as ‘necessary cost’ but not brokers’ – Star Letter 25/06/2021

Clients accept solicitor fees as ‘necessary cost’ but not brokers’ – Star Letter 25/06/2021

 

This week in a Marketwatch piece, HD Consultants owner Howard Reuben, Rose Capital’s managing director Richard Campo and Darryl Dhoffer, mortgage and protection consultant at The Mortgage Expert debated whether broker fees should be on a par with solicitors fees.

They suggested that due to a higher volume of business and heightened property prices there should be a restructuring of procuration fees, commission, and broker fees to better reflect the increased workload.

Paul Smulovitch said: “The difference here is the perception. Most clients accept a solicitor is a necessary cost and will pay accordingly, however, regarding brokers some clients are aware they can do without or use effective robo-advice so it is being sensible and justifying the charge.”

He added: “However, as most conveyancers charge circa £1,000 for work, as a broker fee this is not unreasonable at all.”

Adam Hosker said: “[It is] your business. Charge what you think works best for your business. If you think broker fees should match solicitors and be based on case complexity, then do it.”

Broker fees should match solicitors’ and be based on case complexity – Marketwatch

Broker fees should match solicitors’ and be based on case complexity – Marketwatch

 

Meanwhile, some fees charged by brokers have remained the same as have commission and procuration fees. While the higher volume of business and raised property prices may have provided a boost to earnings, advisers are arguably working harder for their money. 

So this week, Mortgage Solutions is asking: Could there be a restructuring of procuration fees, commission and broker fees to better reflect the work that goes into each case? 

 

Darryl Dhoffer, mortgage and protection consultant at The Mortgage Expert 

Looking at fees, this can be quite subjective. There is probably more of an argument now for upfront broker fees to be charged at point of application, as criteria has seen fundamental changes due to pandemic and impact to the economy. This has required a lot more research in lender selection to obtain the best overall deal that meets criteria, than ever before.  

Our business model is different as we specialise in complex credit cases, and we charge standard fees on mortgage offer or on completion, so a lot of front-end work is undertaken at our cost. 

We don’t think it is fair to charge a client a fee if a case cannot be placed without a successful outcome. 

As an industry, we do believe our broker fees should be in line with what solicitors’ legal fees would cost. The more complex the case the higher the fee. 

As for procuration fees, it would be great if there could be an increase as standard procuration fees have remained fairly constant for many years now, particularly among the high street lenders. 

I appreciate lenders have seen margins slashed, largely down to the pandemic, however with this year’s potential emergence out of Covid and record business volumes being written for the majority of lenders, in some cases historic highs, then a review of procuration fees would be always welcome.   

 

Richard Campo, managing director of Rose Capital Partners 

For me there are two parts to this; firstly, we are in an exceptional period and that has to be taken into account. Roll the clock back 18 months, no one saw Covid coming, all the knock-on impacts that is having and will have for some time to come.  

Nor did anyone predict a roaring housing market, the likes of which we haven’t seen since 2007. Throw in a stamp duty deadline and limited capacity and yes, life is exceptionally hard work right now.  

However, nothing lasts forever, and it will settle down as the year progresses and Covid restrictions ease – as remember, many banks still rely on international back office support which isn’t there at present. 

Secondly, we are professional advisers and should charge for our time accordingly.  

The very reason we charge a fee as a firm is that gives us the income to employ case managers which takes a lot of the burden away from both the clients and advisers so they can focus on what is important to them.  

We have a flexible fee arrangement, so for complex, time consuming work, we charge more. For simpler work, we charge less or sometimes not even at all. It’s all about the work involved.  

So if you aren’t being paid what you think you are due, charge more.  

We justify any fee we charge five-fold and we have never had a client complain once they see the work involved on some cases. 

 

Howard Reuben, owner of HD Consultants 

Some lenders are very quick and efficient, other lenders are not so ‘user friendly’.   

And the same goes with the conveyancers, valuers and of course, the quality of the brokers too.   

We are not finding that the clients are the main problem, so really, why should we charge them more just because some of the cogs in the wheel are not as efficient as they used to be?  

There is certainly a mix of mortgage adviser in the market, from those ‘fee-free’ salespeople who really just want to sell mortgages, to others who spend a lot more time carrying out full fact finds and properly advise on debt protection, family insurance, wills, trusts and other ancillary financial planning solutions too.  

I see the argument that where some lenders are selected by the client, that maybe we should consider charging more because the processing from these slower lenders could mean twice as much work.    

It could equate to spending 10 hours on one mortgage with a £500 fee, but this is ‘turnover’ and not profit. So, what does the actual earnings really equate to for the individual broker after office, compliance, support and processing time costs are all factored in?   

We are a business after all. 

We find it really important to also focus on the lender service levels in order to ensure speedy application-to-offer processes, which helps all parties in time and money. 

‘The last thing my clients need are seven or 10-year fixed rates’ – Star Letter 18/06/2021

‘The last thing my clients need are seven or 10-year fixed rates’ – Star Letter 18/06/2021

 

This week, JLM Mortgage Services director Rory Jospeh and head of mortgage finance Sebastian Murphy proposed introducing seven or 10-year fixes into the market to cater for higher loan to value (LTV) borrowers.

They also criticised the market’s moved to launch sub-one percent rates, arguing that they could be the “equivalent of a chocolate teapot”.

John Azopardi said: “The last thing my clients need are seven or 10-year fixed rates. The last person who successfully planned seven years ahead was Joseph wearing a technicoloured dream coat in Egypt.”

He continued: “The reason that these products [seven and 10-year fixed rates] are rarely taken up is that they are over-priced and inflexible. Clients often pay more than on a five-year rate, coupled with the inflexibility of a long early repayment charge (ERC).

“If penalties dropped off or reduced drastically after five years then maybe – and if the rate was slightly over the five-year rate then possibly – but until then I would suspect that very little business is transacted at seven and 10 years.

He added: “More to the point, if the lenders are buying in more lending at sub 60 per cent to improve market share and to ensure that they can do more high loan to income lending above 85 per cent I am all in favour of their stance. That’s a win-win for all my clients and we get the added bonus of news space when we are competing with Euro 2020 and the Delta variant.”