It's a funny old world. Researching the material I need to write these columns brings me into contact with various departments at lenders – press relations, marketing, intermediary sales, sometimes even their external public relations agencies. Most have agreed straight away to send me the relevant material but there seems to be an increasing proportion who say they're in the throes of revising their intermediary support communications. Pardon me for being an old cynic but could this sudden interest in reviewing and refreshing intermediary material be partly down to Mortgage Strategy and this column? Well, maybe. Whatever the reason, if it means you, the intermediary, get clearer and better focussed material that both informs you and assists in your business development, then I'm all for it.
Tell me what you think by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Since being bought by Paragon and changing its name back to an earlier incarnation, Mortgage Trust has quit the current account mortgage arena to concentrate on buy-to-let. And its understanding of this sector of the market shows through in its marketing material. The rates summary is set out in easy-to-follow tables with notes to clarify the terminology. The criteria guide is by its nature more complex but the lender makes a good stab at displaying the information. Experienced intermediaries should be able to find their way through these rules and regulations – they are set in enough space to be able to pick out the relevant details although having some of the data in black print on a darkish background doesn't help. As a summary the key features flyer works quite well too. Then there's a couple of pieces of consumer-facing material which make a useful addition to the intermediary's armoury. The buy-to-let brochure manages to avoid the patronising language you sometimes find in consumer literature and should add credibility to a broker's Mortgage Trust recommendation while the leaflet explaining credit scoring provides just enough detail. Points also for an online AIP.
Nationwide is the latest lender to respond, albeit a little belatedly, to my request for copies of intermediary communications by saying it has just started a review. It's difficult to see what this might entail, given that the design, colourways and style are consistent across everything including the website. There's no doubting the consistency with the strong colours – red for headings and blue for text and backgrounds – leaping off the paper. Even the large loans service leaflet, with its fancy gold colouring, works because the red and blue are there as well. The product guide, one of the pieces under review, is clear and focussed – nice to see the intermediary empathy implicit in the heading 'What your client can expect from Nationwide'. The criteria guide shows the same approach – advice on whether or not any additional borrowing is CCA-regulated is unusual if not unique. All the material including the consumer-facing Takeaway Remortgage booklet can be downloaded from the website in colour so have plenty of ink cartridges about. There are various quotation, affordability and cost calculators on the website with electronic trading available via the Mortgage Trading Exchange.