Editor’s Note: Move with the times


Sometimes it’s important to go back to basics and remember the purpose for which the mortgage industry was founded: to help people to own their own home.

The sector is filled with endless jargon and regulation that can be difficult for even those working in it to get their heads around, let alone the average aspiring homebuyer.

At the end of the day, the majority of consumers looking for a mortgage really just want to know how much they can borrow, what they will be paying each month and how they can get a lender to say ‘Yes’ to the loan.

Of course, it’s up to advisers to talk them through the complexities of affordability, surveys and all other stages in the process before they actually arrive at owning that home. That’s a broker’s job.

Equally, a lender’s job is to provide a range of mortgage options to fit the various requirements of applicants in a changing world.

On that note, with many building societies having been founded in the late 19th century, it makes sense that they would look to move forward to accommodate the needs of their customers and to ensure they remain viable.

Mutuals are often viewed as a safe pair of hands, staunchly reliable but not looking to change the world. It’s comforting to know that they follow the same traditions on which they were founded and are owned by their members, with profits reinvested.

But with numerous building societies having shut their doors in recent years, it’s essential that those remaining rethink their approach or suffer a similar fate.

The market is ever-evolving and vanilla is becoming a less popular flavour in residential mortgages as the ‘average’ applicant is harder to pin down.

Those sticklers for tradition might not be comfortable with building societies innovating and offering interest-only or large-loan products that may not be deemed to reflect the heartland on which the lenders were established.

But times they are a-changing and failing to move with them will literally leave any lender in the past.