Abbey cuts offer time from 19 days to nine

Abbey for Intermediaries has more than halved the time it takes to get a mortgage offer since last August, but acknowledges there is still more work to be done in improving its service levels.

Statistics from the lender show that as of March 28 the turnaround time from when an application is submitted to offer now stands at nine days compared with last August, when the turnaround time was around 19 days.

A spokesman for Abbey says: “These figures show that we are moving in the right direction but we understand this is only part of the journey that needs to be made to deliver the best possible service to brokers.

“We will not be complacent and will continue to liaise with intermediaries to find out what more can be done to improve their experience of working with us.”

The lender is also looking to in-troduce a reward system for brokers who package cases correctly, with benefits including exclusive deals and more access to underwriters.

As part of the Reward Efficient Brokers initiative advisers will be measured against certain criteria such as the quality of applications and conversion rates from application to completion.

Brokers considered to be efficient will be rewarded with preferential terms including the ability to fast-track cases. They will also be given access to higher LTV deals.

But advisers who fall short of Abbey’s standards will come under more scrutiny.

Abbey plans to hold discussions with its key accounts on the scheme in the next three months and is looking to set up a formal system later his year.

Some brokers were made aware of the idea at an Abbey key accounts conference held in the Spanish city of Santander last month.

Iain Laing, chief credit officer at Santander UK, says: “It is traditional for firms to distinguish bet-ween different kinds of accounts. We are trying to raise standards across the board, be transparent and create benefits for brokers who package cases well.”

Christian Barth, director of Bespoke Mortgages, welcomes the idea.

He says: “This has been a long time coming. If Abbey is spending a huge amount of time on poorly packaged cases how can brokers expect good service? It can’t underwrite cases effectively.

“Why shouldn’t those brokers be penalised as they may be causing delays for everybody else?”

But Mike Fitzgerald, sales director at The Emba Group, says that although poor packaging is inexcusable Abbey should improve its own processes before implementing the reward scheme.

He says: “Let Abbey get its own house in order first, and when the dust has settled it can bring out a scheme like this for brokers.

“It retains the right to ask for income information so I’m sure that although it is offering a fast-track service it could still ask for more information.”

GRAPH.gif