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Transparency and communication can bring industry together through this – Marketwatch

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  • 25/03/2020
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Transparency and communication can bring industry together through this – Marketwatch
The coronavirus outbreak has led to unexpected and fast-moving changes in the industry which is not only overwhelming to brokers but also their clients.

 

Brokers may find themselves making contact with clients they are not yet due to speak with as they help them work out how the outbreak might affect their mortgage payments and financial situation. 

So this week Mortgage Solutions asked: How can brokers display their worth and importance during the pandemic? 

 

Greg Cunnington, director of lender relationships and new homes at Alexander Hall 

During what is a challenging time, it is more important than ever that as an industry we are all working to ensure we support those around us. The wellbeing of our staff and clients right now is paramount.  

We are lucky in our industry that we can work remotely without compromising on our quality standards. 

A lot of clients will be going through some economic turbulence and uncertainty at the moment. For the majority of our clients their monthly mortgage commitment will be the largest single expense they have.

As such, we should expect to be busy with enquiries from clients looking for some assurance around their mortgage.

Our advice will be invaluable, and anything that anybody can do right now to help support our clients is something that we should all be aiming for.   

From a lender and intermediary perspective, it is vital that we work closely together, and in true partnership, throughout this period.

It is important to ensure clients have the support needed and that the major lenders ensure a pathway remains open for applications, offers and completions.  

We appreciate there will be inevitable issues around service and products having to be changed from lenders as the conditions around us evolve.

As long as we stay in regular communication so that we can manage our client’s expectations and there is transparency from all sides, we will work together as an industry and come through this stronger. 

 

Daniel Hegarty, CEO of Habito  

After worries about ours and our loved ones’ health, personal finance is definitely up there as a key concern for people right now.  

With things changing on an almost daily basis, it’s clear that homeowners need independent, qualified advice on their mortgage options now more than ever – and brokers have a huge role to play in providing that. 

After the rate cut and notice of banks offering Covid-19 related mortgage holidays we saw a sharp increase in people coming online to find out more about the announcements and how it might impact them.

We’ve also seen a noticeable increase in the proportion of chats that come through during working hours now that many people are working from home.  

What once might have been reserved for an evening of admin has become just as much of a daytime activity for people  which suggests to us the urgency that people are seeking answers and clarity during this difficult time.  

As yet, we’ve not had to really change our working practices or hours. One thing we are really prioritising now is simply being as helpful and empathetic as we can possibly be, as we all try and live our company values remotely.  

We don’t have a crystal ball to predict what will happen weeks from now, but where we can be a helpful human service and a source of up to date information to people, that’s what we want to be  regardless of whether they mortgage through us. 

 

Steve Jackson, owner of Jackson Potter

We are giving guidance on how to access the government-led threemonth payment holidays if clients ask.

Some lenders are being proactive and giving us information to pass on to clients as to how they can apply. 

We are reaching out to clients, but they are also making contact with us. We still have our phone lines open and encourage them to contact us via email if they prefer.

We are currently producing a group email to send to our clients explaining what we can do for them and that we are still here to help. 

It is hard to work out who may need our help the most, so we are offering blanket assistance initially and dealing with any forthcoming queries individually. 

Aside from my normal role as a mortgage broker, I am offering free advice on any issues relating to the Covid-19 crisis.

For example, some lenders already have a six-month payment holiday as a standard feature on most of their mortgage products and many clients are not aware of it, so they automatically receive twice the government payment holiday initiative.  

Lenders are helping by communicating the options for clients well. However, others have closed down their broker telephone support lines and webchat facilities completely, which is not helping. 

 

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