Constant product changes have wasted my time

I met a new client on May 29 at 4.30pm and we agreed to make a remortgage application to a high street lender for a fixed rate product with all the trimmings at 5.64%.

The proc fee payable for a loan of this size (45,000) is about 166.50. After network deductions it’s about 154, which is not worth getting out of bed for. After discussions we agreed a fee of 200 on completion, which is thoroughly justified due to the level of compliance required to apply.

But the client didn’t have the relevant information required to tick all the boxes and agreed to call me back the next day.

Conscious of daily if not hourly pro-duct changes, I thought it prudent to check the lender’s website for the product’s availability, which I did at 9.30am on May 30. All was well.

The client eventually called me at 5.15pm that day and the application was keyed into the lender’s system.

What do I find? Computer says no – the product had changed. A further visit to the lender’s website confirmed the inevitable.

The product change had kicked in on Wednesday 30, presumably after 9.30am, and was now more expensive. So it was back to the drawing board.

A quick calculation of the sorry tale’s timeline looks as follows:

• Client meeting, fact-find and product research – two hours.

• Suitability letter and compliance checks – one hour.

• Application submission – 30 minutes.

• Reassessing the product choice – 30 minutes.

• Rewriting fact-find and suitability letter – one hour.

You get the picture. On the same day I made a counter transaction at my local building society and it provided me with one of those ‘recommend a friend’ fliers. You know the drill – simply fill in the form and if the person you suggest applies for a mortgage at the building society you get 100 in return. Five minutes or five hours – I wonder which makes more sense.

James Todhunter
Westmorland Financial Advice Centre
By email