Abbey chops 140 fast-track users

john malone
John Malone: Lenders are getting tough

Abbey for Intermediaries has notified around 140 advisers that they will no longer be able to use its fast-track facility following a review of their business performance.

Mortgage Strategy understands that those affected are equally split between appointed representatives and directly authorised brokers.

There were rumours last week that the measure was the result of the lender taking action against advisers who had failed to provide evidence of clients’ income.

But Abbey says that while the advisers have been removed from its fast-track service, they are still able to submit normal cases that have been fully packaged and they have not been removed from its panel altogether.

A spokeswoman for Abbey says: “We have contacted a small number of intermediary firms to advise that following a review of their business performance, they will no longer be eligible to use our fast-track service.

“These intermediaries can continue to place fully packaged cases with us and we will be working with them to discuss other areas where performance can be improved.”

John Malone, executive chairman of PMS, says the market is starting to see lenders get stricter with their systems and processes, such as with Nationwide’s recent decision to return applications that are not filled in correctly.

He says: “Under the Mortgage Market Review brokers must have a better understanding of lenders’ product criteria and systems or they will eventually be refused access to their products.

“We’ve already started to see that put into place with Nationwide.”

However, industry sources say some brokers have been actively removing themselves from Abbey’s fast-track process because they’ve found it difficult to gauge what the lender required.

One source tells Mortgage Strategy: “It’s an emotive subject for a lot of brokers. I know of firms that have taken themselves out of Abbey’s fast-track process because they have found it so hard.

“The difficulty is in filling in the fields on the fast-track application compared with the normal application. What it says on the form is not what brokers actually have to input, so some are choosing to submit business on a fully packaged basis.”

Robert Sinclair, director of the Association of Mortgage Intermediaries, says that where advisers do not comply with the rules of a lender it can take action.

But he adds: “Potentially there are people’s livelihoods at stake so it is important there is an appropriate appeals process. Some brokers find Abbey’s systems complicated so I hope it is taking this into consideration.”