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Broker Focus: Kate Burns, KB Mortgage Services

We aim to amplify the voices of all intermediaries, up and down the country. This month we profile Kate Burns, founder of KB Mortgage Services.

Sum up your firm in a few sentences

KB Mortgage Services is a fresh mortgage brokerage and protection insurance firm, with customer service at the heart of what I do. As a small, new company, I place a huge emphasis on being honest, friendly and professional, and this approach is paying off.

I build great relationships with my clients, meaning that many people find my firm via word of mouth, which is really important to me. I try to educate my clients about housebuying/remortgaging through one-to-one conversations, as well as publishing blogs on my website. This ultimately makes me a big part of any client’s buying process, because they often come to me for advice.

What led you to become a broker?

I came from the estate agency background, where my first job was an administrator. I quickly progressed to a negotiator, which meant that I learned all the areas of estate agency work.

I wanted to progress within my career and had the opportunity to qualify as a broker. I knew the mortgage was the biggest part of the house-buying process, and I wanted to make clients’ dreams happen by getting them on to the property ladder.

What are the biggest issues facing you as a broker?

Clients often come to me expecting to go for the mortgage with the lowest interest rate, but this isn’t always the best option for them. Often, products have large arrangement fees that could mean they end up paying huge amounts more in the long run, especially if these are added to the loan.

Comparison websites also give people attractive headline rates, but these can be misleading because not everyone is eligible for them.

Comparison websites also give people attractive headline rates, but these
can be misleading

There’s also a great deal of misinformation out there, so it’s important for me to educate people to seek the right advice with a broker who has knowledge of the lenders and their criteria.

So, although I wouldn’t say it’s an issue, it’s definitely a case of managing clients’ expectations.

Which one thing could lenders do to improve brokers’ lives the most?

I find that many of the broker support lines don’t have enough experience and knowledge about the lender. The business development managers aren’t always available, so it can be frustrating when you can’t get a decision straight away.

I think there should be better access to speak with the underwriters over the phone. There needs to be a more sensible approach to lending on the more unusual situations, as unfortunately not every case is straightforward.

I find that many of the broker support lines don’t have enough experience and knowledge about the lender

They should also make provisions to ensure there are enough staff to deal with the workload of applications. There are times when paperwork is submitted and it’s sitting with the lender for five or more days before it gets put in front of an underwriter. And if further information is required, then this timescale starts from scratch, which can cause extra stress and worry for the clients.

What plans do you have for the future of your firm?

My first step is to find an administrator who I can work well with and who I can put my trust in. I will then carry on building the relationships I have and hope to build a  bigger team in the future.

Total headcount: 1.

Year you founded the company: 2016.

Types of mortgages you handle: Purchasers/first-time buyers, remortgaging and buy-to-let

If you would like your firm to be featured in Broker Focus, please email Mortgage Strategy editor Rebekah Commane at rebekah.commane@centaurmedia.com.

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