Comment: Best comparison tool? Brokers

Tracie Pearce

As the landscape gets more complex, clients need help to understand it – and brokers are crucial to that process

Not so long ago, the only way to get a mortgage from HSBC was to deal with us directly.

But the industry has evolved. The intermediary market is growing significantly with around three-quarters of first-time buyers seeking advice from a broker. Intermediaries are integral to the future of the sector and lenders that want to grow will need to forge stronger relationships with them in order to stay ahead.

Today’s consumers want choice. In this era of comparison tools and shopping around, finding a good deal is more important than long-term brand loyalty. Buying a property is a big decision and brokers are trusted experts throughout the whole journey.

By not having access to brokers previously, our services were out of reach for many potential customers. It was crucial that we evolved too.

This year we have written more than £1bn-worth of lending via intermediaries, having extended from one to a dozen brokers. More firms will be signed up by the end of the year, at which point our mortgages will be available to at least half of the market through our intermediary network.

We also need to ensure we are supporting brokers with the right tools and information. As such, we are developing an intermediary platform that will enable brokers to access the information they need quickly and efficiently.

The lender-broker relationship is increasingly important. But where will the market go from here?

The landscape is getting more complex. The buy-to-let market, for example, faces significant change over the coming years with the possibility of increased regulation. Meanwhile, low interest rates mean customers are switching providers more regularly to find the best value.

Clients need help to understand these changes and brokers are crucial to that process. As lenders, we face a challenge to support them as efficiently as possible.

Tracie Pearce is head of mortgages at HSBC