Mistakes will haunt sloppy brokers

Brokers who have little credibility will struggle to survive in the new industry environment in which lenders can cherry-pick who they deal with, says Sue Read

Almost a year ago I was writing about moving from one job to another and now once again I’m standing at the threshold of a new business. I have left Jobson James and joined Solihull-based Moneywatch Finance.

I was in my job prior to Jobson James for almost 11 years and never imagined that I’d be moving on again so quickly, but sometimes you have to recognise when an opportunity comes along that you know you’d regret passing up.

Funnily enough, it was just beginning to seem like all the effort we’d put in over the past 12 months to get the business off the ground was starting to bear fruit, but my thanks to everyone at Jobson James. I wish them every success.

I’ve always said that a mortgage advisory practice takes at least two years to get going. Colleagues will re-call that I have often likened this to pushing a boulder up a hill – you have to push hard until you reach the brow at which point momentum takes over.

After this, you have to manage the firm’s direction and with the industry in its current state, this is a challenge. Almost daily we hear of lenders making redundancies, underwriters discouraging new business and existing borrowers being asked to kindly take their business elsewhere.

It’s worrying that clients who could easily have been placed a year ago now struggle to find lenders willing to take them on. While I’ve often berated lenders for lending to people who should probably never be offered mortgages, we have seen a knee-jerk opposite reaction and lenders don’t want to lend to anyone at the moment. What we need is a balanced approach.

Many will worry about where this leaves brokers. Some will crumble and those with little experience or understanding of underwriting will struggle. Those with little credibility with lenders will also face problems.

This is probably as it should be. After all, if you can’t present underwriting rationales to lenders why should they take cases on?

Also, why should they listen to you if you have submitted incompletely packaged rubbish to them in the past?

Credible, experienced and tenacious brokers will be the ones lenders and hopefully clients choose to deal with. And I stress the word choose because lenders are in control at the moment and can cherry-pick borrowers and brokers. This is a mindset we have to adjust to – it’s called the survival of the fittest.