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Lenders must learn it’s good to talk

Service is slipping and it’s not unusual for lenders to keep brokers on hold for 30 minutes on the phone – in fact, I’m thinking of billing them for our wasted time, says Sue Read

I was late submitting my column last week. I’m usually never late. In fact, more often than not I’m early. The reason for this uncharacteristic tardiness was because I had a rethink about naming and shaming yet another lender.

I’ve been in this situation before – my problems have been resolved before my piece has been published, leaving me feeling rather guilty. And the lender concerned on this occasion has promised to sort things out, so I will not name it for now.

But I will continue to highlight the fact that after a period of increasing efficiency, the service of some major lenders is slipping to unacceptably low levels.

Take my experience with the lender with which I’m having the aforementioned dealings.

On my arrival at my present em-ployer, the praises of the lender were sung loudly so I submitted a couple of cases to it, having not used it for some time. The underwriting process has gone reasonably smoothly but the problem is getting hold of someone to speak to.

It’s not uncommon to be on hold for 30 minutes. I’m sure that some colleagues have sometimes been held for longer than this but I’m trying to be fair and quote an average.

Last week, it was our BDM who finally answered the phone. I was told that only she and one other person were in that day, hence the delay. She sounded stressed. While I sympathise, this would be fine if it were occasional but it seems to be the norm.

Before now, I’ve threatened to make my staff keep a log of how long they are kept on hold by lenders and then bill them for our time. Sadly, we are always too busy to do this but one day I just might get around to it. That said, I imagine lenders wouldn’t give a hoot.

Meanwhile, another client urgently needed an amended offer. Not rocket science, I would have thought but the len-der’s underwriters told us the time for producing an offer was 12 days. It lost our fax with the original request so we were put back in the queue.

Even when it finally agreed that it would pull out all the stops for us, the offer was not forthcoming when it had promised it would be. And we’ve had to go through the same terrible phone nonsense to chase it several times.

All lenders go through peaks and troughs in their service levels but that’s no excuse for leaving us brokers hanging on the end of the line twiddling our thumbs while they get their act together.

Let’s hope the lender highlighted in this column comes through on its promises. I’ll let you know. In meantime, I’ll leave you to guess which lender I’m writing about.

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