STAR LETTER: Should building societies diversify? ‘It all depends on their size’
In response to a Head 2 Head last year on whether building societies should diversify into new areas, having spent a quarter of a century working in societies, and having experienced small, medium and large, the point that is largely absent in both of the opinions provided is that you cannot treat the sector as one homogeneous lump.
While larger societies can diversify pretty easily, smaller ones don’t have the resources to hire the extra people (who would inevitably be on the upper end of payscales) or the additional systems, and instead too readily think they can do it based on what their existing staff know.
Smaller societies have such a small lending appetite that they should be able to meet this from traditional means, and the ones that are caught in a difficult place are those ranked, say, from 10 to 20 by asset size — too big for traditional lending alone but not big enough to be able to expand into new areas as easily as the biggest ones.
Planned FSCS levy increase draws protest that brokers ‘end up paying for mistakes of others’
Regarding a story in Mortgage Strategy on FSCS plans to increase broker levies in 2018, I wonder how consumers would feel if they found out how much of the money they paid for their advice went to pay compensation to those who took out these hare-brained schemes that their own adviser would never have dreamed of recommending.
No sympathy for London’s FTBs as capital gets blame for UK-wide problem
In response to the story, ‘Capital’s FTBs see little benefit of stamp duty cut’, a reverse of this exodus to London should be encouraged to assist all UK citizens to achieve a better quality of life.
Why should the rest of the UK suffer with empty properties and falling prices, zero confidence in future uplifts from government investment, empty high-street shops killing off town centres…? The list goes on.
If you rebalance investment and opportunity, and kill off ‘London allowance’-type biases, this will, in time, level out.
Londoners over-valuing London has created problems for UK residents as a whole, so don’t create a problem through bias and then expect other people to want to help you sort your problem.
This is free markets working at their best — so stop interfering and trying to get even more advantages!
I am convinced Londoners will benefit from the stamp duty changes more than their peers in the rest of the UK.
Calls for Clydesdale to address its ‘poor’ online portal, which spoils an otherwise solid reputation
With regard to a story on poor service standards from Clydesdale Bank, I agree that there have been issues, particularly with its online portal.
It either crashes or you cannot upload documents, which is very poor.
This is a shame as this lender offers flexible underwriting criteria and a good common-sense approach.
My understanding is that it operates two different systems for processing: a front end for the new business and then, when it goes to offer, it gets generated from a back-office system.
Hopefully the lender can get on top of these issues so we can feel confident in doing business with it. We could do with a few more lenders like Clydesdale.
We started using Clydesdale only about a year ago. It was never the quickest, but was competitive and had great criteria.
Currently, however, it is a shambles. We get conflicting information every time we call and it takes days/weeks to assess anything.
With regard to the spokeswoman denying there were issues in uploading, who was that? Clydesdale is well aware of the problem, with some PDFs coming through blank.
It seems its systems will allow only scanned, not downloaded, PDFs. If we have a downloaded PDF bank statement, for example, we have to print it and rescan it so the system can read it.
A ludicrous situation — and it annoys me that Clydesdale is denying the issue.
Some clients are switching to longer fixes ‘to avoid poor service from legals’
Regarding the story on borrowers switching to longer-term fixed rates, we are finding this is due to all the uncertainty. But also clients are getting fed up with the legal companies that the lenders provide, which mess them around and provide a poor service.
Therefore they are more inclined to fix for longer to avoid this, or to do a product transfer.
Praise for Pat Bunton on news of his departure from London & Country
In response to the news that Pat Bunton is to leave London & Country, I may not completely agree with the L&C model but I think Pat has done a terrific job and wish him well for the future.
He can’t be accused of being flighty, and he worked very hard in respect of the MMR response on behalf of brokers.