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Santa baby, less paperwork please

Sue Read says she has been a good mortgage adviser in 2005 and deserves a reward. Reduced bureaucracy, a closer relationship with lenders, fewer call centres. It’s not too much to ask, is it…

Christmas is practically here, and as this is my last article until the new year, I thought I would enter into the spirit of the season and write my own letter to Santa.

I have tried hard this year to be a reasonably good mortgage adviser. I have worked hard to bring in business to my firm and do right by my clients. What follows is my wishlist for Christmas and 2006.

My first wish is for less documentation in 2006. My clients and I are struggling under the weight of all the paperwork that we have to deal with – fact-finds, Key Facts Illustrations, Initial Disclosure Documents, menus of fees, charges and business terms. I would really like it if a solution could be devised to combine some of these documents so that they don’t look so intimidating to clients.

More lenders paying me a fee for advising my clients to stay with them would also be welcome. I don’t think this is much to ask for the time I have to spend on this. Some lenders have already grasped the nettle and agreed that the role introducers play in helping them keep their clients should be recognised.

Appreciation by lenders that I’m trying to work with them rather than against them would be another boon. I recently rang Halifax to offer feedback on what I believed was a failing within its system – issuing a KFI for a product after it had been withdrawn. All I got for my trouble was an aggressive, defensive response. I won’t bother next time.

Fewer underwriting call centres manned by people who really don’t understand mortgage work would benefit everyone, not just me. I’m sure the people employed by such centres are bright enough to get their heads round most of the straightforward features of mortgage products and processes, but please could lenders ensure they are fully trained before setting them on us? I actually received a KFI yesterday marked ‘illustration’. I almost wept.

It would also help if you could speak to the same person you had on the phone just five minutes previously, so that you do not have to spend 15 minutes explaining what’s been happening on a case before you can ask the question again. Fewer call centres in general would be a good idea.

More experienced business development managers for our industry as a whole are next on my list – just like mine from Skipton, Cheltenham & Gloucester, Bankhall and Northern Rock Equity Release. You know who you are.

Someone launching a 3.99% two-year fixed rate with free legals and no overhanging charges would get 2006 off to a flying start. It would also be nice to have some time to get more organised. I keep promising myself I’ll revamp various documents but somehow never quite get there.

And just one more thing – a place for me at the Mortgage Summit next year, so that I can make sure all of us little people get our views through to the industry bigwigs. I promise I will try to be good again next year and will do my best to be positive – we’ve come a long way in 2005, and on the whole the future’s bright.

A final word of thanks goes to all of you for reading. Have a Happy Christmas and a prosperous new year.

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