The goalposts are shifting for mortgage brokers

Since Christmas we have seen the departure of at least five of the BDMs who used to visit us. Some of them have already been replaced with BDMs who have been asked to cover wider areas and take on more accounts.

I know I’ve said this before but it is heartbreaking to witness the impact of the credit crunch.

I considered those who have left to be excellent BDMs and am surprised they have not successfully come through their The BDMs who are left have been presented with Hobson’s choice – of course they will readily agree to take on more brokers and larger, more unrealistic patches geographically.

They have no choice but to acquiesce to any proposition put to them if they want to remain in employment, however untenable that proposition may be.

Individuals are being stretched so far that they are in danger of snapping.

Lenders will argue that cutting back their broker sales forces is necessary and I can see some logic in this argument.

But lenders – if you purport to value brokers, what you are doing indicates something different.

I have to wonder where the future lies for the mortgage broking sector.

The signs point towards some lenders contracting their business until they rely solely on their branch networks.

And many clients seem to be moving in this direction too. How many times a week do you have conversations with consumers that include the line “I’ve been looking on the internet and…”?

While many customers and lenders recognise the desirability of advice in the area of mortgages they also believe they are able to source deals themselves online.

This is different from the situation in the pension and investment sectors, in which consumers readily acknowledge that specialist assistance is both desirable and necessary.

My colleague Matt found himself in a typical intermediary quandary last week.

Having sourced a mortgage for a client with an unusual case, he telephoned them to make an appointment.

After the meeting was pencilled into the diary the client asked who the lender involved was.

After just a moment’s hesitation Matt gave her the name – it would have been hard for him to do otherwise.

A couple of days later the appointment was cancelled.

The reason the customer gave was that she could get a better deal elsewhere. Yes, replied Matt, but only by changing the term. He had worked to his brief.

The way clients and lenders move the goalposts never ceases to amaze me.