View more on these topics

Jobsworth brokers must think again

If you are one of the 108 brokers who told a survey by the Intermediary Mortgage Lenders Association that supporting borrowers who get into financial trouble isn’t part of your job description, shame on you.

I’d love to know what you tell clients struggling with repayments. Hopefully you refer them to someone who gives a damn rather than slamming the door in their faces.

I’m all for consumers taking more responsibility for their borrowing decisions, but the fact remains that brokers advised clients to take on loans that many of them can no longer afford. Surely this counts for something.

IMLA says those brokers who felt obliged to help struggling borrowers did so not only by providing a shoulder to cry on but also by helping them source cheaper deals. So besides the moral issue, brokers can financially benefit by helping struggling clients. This is a win-win situation.

Good customer service can never be rated highly enough. I recently popped into a trendy make-up shop to complain about the expensive eyeliner that I’d bought there and left clutching £50 worth of additional purchases. If only you could bottle that sort of sales technique.

Brokers and IFAs like to emphasis the advice element of their work but in order to pay the bills they need to sell clients something. Offering an all-round service has to be the way to go. A few years ago a friend of mine was told by her broker that her income wasn’t high enough for her to afford a mortgage.

But he did so in such a sensitive way that she went back to him two years later after her boss gave her a pay rise.

I recently talked to a debt collector about her experiences working with consumers struggling with debt.

Apparently, those who literally can’t afford to pay their creditors are in the minority. It’s far more likely they’re naive consumers seduced by our buy now, pay later culture who failed to prioritise their debt.

If clients come to brokers because they are struggling to pay their mortgages, one would assume they don’t want the situation to get any worse. Spending some time helping them prioritise their outgoings and investigating refinancing possibilities might be all it takes for them to turn things around.

So if you were one of the 108 brokers in the IMLA survey I suggest you think again. After all, as the latest data from the Council of Mortgage Lenders shows, residential mortgage volumes are down but remortgages are up.

If customer retention is important to brokers, then taking a short-term approach to their clients is the worst thing they could do.

Recommended

Arrears shoot up by 35% in first two months of 2008

Citizens Advice Bureaux says mortgage arrears have shot up by 35% in the first two months of 2008 compared to the same period in 2007.It says its latest research shows that more people are seeking help because they are having problems paying their essential household bills, such as gas and electricity, water, telephone and Council […]

CML unveils equity release research

The Council of Mortgage Lenders has released research examining the slowed growth of the equity release market in the UK.The report, Please release me! A review of the equity release market in the UK, its potential and consumer expectations, considers the current state and future direction of the equity release market in the UK. While […]

NR to axe up to 2,000 jobs

Up to 2,000 jobs will be axed at Northern Rock during the next three years as the bank undergoes a major downsizing process. The beleagured UK bank is also looking to have a much smaller presence within the intermediary mortgage market. Going forward it says it will concentrate on its most important partners, as well […]

Over 20% of sub-prime cases can’t be placed says RAMP

John Rice, managing director of the Regulatory Alliance of Mortgage Packagers says it is unable to place around 20-25% of sub-prime cases, as lenders struggle to stay in the market.He says: “We find that brokers in prime land are relatively untouched, however, in sub-prime land a massive amount of cases just can’t be placed when […]

Thumbnail

Health Shield joins the Association of Medical Insurance Intermediaries

Health cash plan provider Health Shield has joined the Association of Medical Insurance Intermediaries (AMII) as a corporate member. The non-profit-making Friendly Society is one of eight health cash plan providers to join the intermediary trade body, which is looking to establish working parties with intermediaries and providers on issues such as product innovation and regulation.

Newsletter

News and expert analysis straight to your inbox

Sign up