While it is good to make note of where things have not been up to standard so it can be learned from and avoided, it is also beneficial to praise those who do good to those in their respective industries so they know what they have done right and possibly inspire others to follow.
This week, Mortgage Solutions asked our Marketwatch panel which lenders have gone above and beyond in their service with brokers this year?
One case stands out in my memory this year.
Newcastle Building Society pulled out all the stops for the placement of a case at £835,000, outside current affordability criteria. It was reviewed by underwriters and they liked the case so agreed outside of policy and lent on net profits of £127,600 plus salary of £11,500 equating to approximately six times income, enabling our clients to repay their parents.
Another great case for us: Bluestone Mortgages reviewed our client credit file and agreed to lend despite five payday loans that were not settled in the background.
They offered a mortgage on the basis that those payday loans will be repaid prior to completion at which point funds will be released, enabling our clients to achieve their objectives by clearing expensive secondary debt and releasing disposable income meaning the clients can now remain in their home after receiving poor advice previously.
Our Accord business development manager (BDM) James Trevis is another great example as he will always respond to our advisers quickly and does take up every query. Wherever possible, he gets decline decisions overturned and I would say he is one of our most proactive BDM’s.
What stands out across the board is rates have been excellent and that’s one way of attracting volume. We’ve seen a growing realisation from lots of different lenders both large and small that service is a key part of that. One who gets a mention is Accord.
They worked really hard on making improvements, not just this year but over time they’re really starting to show genuine consistency in service which – going back a few years – has always been a sore point for brokers.
We knew their products would be priced really well but that’s now backed by consistent service levels.
For bigger lenders, Halifax are the standard, but their peers are also making improvements. It’s a fiercely competitive market both on rates and service from a lot of the major banks.
From a product point of view, I liked the Hero Mortgage from Kensington Mortgages – it was something a bit different and showed it was possible to think of different ways around circumstances.
For building societies, the smaller ones have worked really hard at making sure brokers understand they can take a more individual approach. While they’re still very much offering mortgages to the mainstream market, they’ve looked to make sure they’re covering different niches that they’re perhaps well placed to deal with on a case by case basis.
Virgin Money have led with long-term fixed rates as it becomes more government-led to offer that type of lending. Coventry BS should also get a mention as they’ve long had 10-year deals but also with five-year tie-ins which is a well-placed product in that market.
We would like to give a big shout out to Glenhawk, Octane and Alpha Property Lending who have all given exceptional service on a few key cases we dealt with this year.
All three lenders have provided a flexible, common sense approach in doing deals and supported our cases through to completion.
It is a very strange market at the moment, where deals are taking more time to get through than normal due to multiple reasons and it takes hard graft from all parties involved in a transaction from start to finish.
These lenders have a strong commitment to pushing complex deals through to completion, demonstrating their in-depth understanding of the current market and risk.
They stand out by having certain niches either within their product range or lending criteria that is supported with a quality team that allows them to outperform others.