At times I expect that many intermediaries can begin to identify with Ebenezer Scrooge and his feelings about the festive season. How come there is so much humbug around? Take for example the one thing that intermediaries tell me they need first, second and third – good, efficient service. Yet to read the letters pages, one would think some lenders have completely ignored this fundamental.It would be easy for me to indulge in cheap shots regarding the competition and some of their severe service problems. I will avoid the temptation. This issue remains far too central to the industry for such a self-indulgent approach. The fallout of service problems are immense and have long-term effects. The accepted business model of using intermediaries to distribute products is a straightforward connected chain, each part delivering on their part of the accepted bargain. The real victims in severe service situations are of course the borrowing customers. A frustrating experience with a lender will land itself on one individual’s doormat, that of course being the intermediary. This can range from losing customers through no fault of your own, not getting any recommendation business and in some cases receiving a sullied reputation locally. How exactly did you end up here? By recommending a lender that failed in the most basic part of the business relationship – delivering an acceptable level of service. It’s great to have a competitive product range, but it all comes to nought if the systems and staff are not in place to service the resultant business. In a way you could reverse the argument and say intermediaries would rather have outstanding service than a hot product of the moment. There can be few excuses for taking weeks to read a letter, process an application and in a few cases to return a phone call. Lenders that find themselves in this position will ultimately pay a high price in reputation terms. That’s just the service angle, but with everything that regulation entails, what of 2006? One thing you can bet on – we will be out there delivering what our customers need, or rather cynically, some of us will. One thing that has always impressed me about those that work in the industry is that they are resilient and positive people. I am looking forward to 2006 and will be preparing for the new year with a few large gin and tonics. On that seasonal note, I wish everyone in this industry a happy Christmas and a prosperous 2006.
- Top trends
Lloyds TSB has boosted the number of branches offering its range of Islamic financial services for the Muslim community.The Islamic current account and Islamic home finance will be available from a total of 32 branches across the country. These products are designed to meet the banking needs of Britain’s 2 million Muslims, for whom interest […]
Research commissioned by GMAC-RFC, the UKs 10th largest lender, into why people choose to use an intermediary for their sub-prime mortgages reveals that the needs of a sub-prime customer are broadly the same as those of borrowers in the mainstream category. This also applied to their motivations for seeking impartial advice. Over half, 54% of […]
Barclays has admitted that it needs to invest more into its mortgage products through The Woolwich brand next year. The bank recently decided to bring its entire mortgage processing inhouse and will also count service as a key priority for 2006. It hopes the decision to take control of its mortgage operations from product development […]
Following in Take That’s footsteps, the Professional Mortgage Packagers Alliance has revealed that after being on the verge of a split last week, it’s getting the band back together.
New research has revealed that the highest percentage of opt-out rates in auto-enrolment is made up of 22- to 30-year-olds (28.49 per cent of 2,102 people surveyed, who chose to opt out of schemes, were in this age bracket).
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