Lenders discover that it’s still good to talk

Most borrowers would probably say their top priority when it comes to mortgage products is the cheapest rate.

Of course, there’s nothing wrong in that and price is a crucial part of the product sel-ection. After all, clients don’t seek out brokers in an attempt to get more expensive deals than they could have found themselves.

But other factors must be brought into the equation. For example, lenders’ fees are becoming an increasingly important consideration.

It is also important for brokers to factor in borrowers’ expectations and requirements in terms of time. This is where lender service is key.

Some clients will be in desperate need of the swiftest offers and this is becoming a case of simply hitting the submit button, with lenders such as GMAC-RFC and edeus already offering instant offers.

Edeus can even offer guaranteed completion times for the right remortgage clients prepared to pay higher fees.

Most clients won’t have such demanding timescales but service is still important and discussing likely processing times at the outset should cut down the potential for disappointed clients further down the line.

It’s good to see lenders taking a more enlightened view on how they communicate with brokers these days. In recent weeks there have been a refreshing number of examples of lender emails looking to keep brokers in the loop.

They are letting us know what the position is and how they intend to overcome blips in their normal standards. Cheshire has used this method to keep brokers up-to-date with its backlog and when a likely return to normal can be expected.

Cheltenham & Gloucester had a particularly aggressive start to the year and as a consequence has found that its service, usually of a high standard, has suffered. But it has had the good sense to acknowledge this with a service update as well as working closely with us to manage backlogs.

Halifax has also kept us up-to-speed with the fact that its processing centre has been hit by high call traffic.

Calls from brokers checking on case progress are often a problem as they slow the process further. This becomes a vicious circle.

Working with brokers to handle clients’ expectations and sensibly prioritising cases is how lenders will ride out the tough times and maintain good relationships. As British Telecom was so fond of telling us back in the 1990s, it’s good to talk.