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Let’s be honest about service levels

There’s a growing perception among brokers that in this difficult period when they are struggling to secure rates for their clients, lenders are delivering poor service.

The truth is that in the current market, any lender that offers a market-leading product is swamped with applications and this inevitably leads to a fall in service levels. This effect is being exacerbated by the continual changing of rates as lenders pull ranges and reprice deals.

All this has left brokers frustrated at being unable to complete clients’ applications before products are pulled.

We understand how exhausting this must be for brokers, as well as embarrassing when they have to explain to clients why they can no longer get the mortgages recommended.

It all comes down to managing expectations. You have to do this with your clients so I’d like to help manage your expectations about how Abbey will deliver its service in the foreseeable future.

Because of unprecedented demand for our products, our case processing times have increased and in the short term the service time we aim for is likely to increase by a couple of days. We feel this is reasonable and want to be upfront with brokers. Hopefully, this will help you manage your cli-ents’ expectations.

In the meantime, we are examining every possible way of maintaining a high standard of service. We already have several initiatives underway in this regard, including head office staff visiting regional offices to help with application paperwork. This should allow permanent staff to deal with brokers directly.

More initiatives are in the pipeline to ensure we maintain our ability to deliver mortgages to you and your clients, but brokers must also help us to be efficient.

For example, we were recently criticised by one broker for not giving sufficient notice concerning rate changes. It turned out that the broker in question had not signed up to receive our rate alerts.

So ensure your email address is up-to-date on our system so you receive email alerts on the progress of your cases.

Also, sign up for our Skinker desktop alert system. This can be downloaded from our website and delivers constantly updated information on service levels and rates direct to your desktop.

Above all, ensure you supply the required documentation with applications to reduce the chance of us having to re-quest more data.

Us being open with you and you working closely with us should mean everyone’s expectations remain reasonable and applications are processed in a timely way.


The Bank of England special liquidity scheme in detail

Under the Bank of England scheme, announced on 21 April, to ease the credit crisis, banks can, for a period, swap illiquid assets of sufficiently high quality for Treasury Bills. Responsibility for losses on their loans, however, stays with the banks. By tackling the overhang of assets in this way, the scheme aims to improve the liquidity position of the banking system and increase confidence in financial markets.

Rumours over RBS rights issue

The Royal Bank of Scotland is rumoured to be preparing a rights issue for up to £12bn to bring its capital holdings up to the European average. Last week the lender’s broker arm RBS Intermediary Partners launched a two-year fixed rate product at 6.195% with a £999 arrangement fee.

Networking site for brokers

Brokers looking to network with their peers or packagers and master brokers trying to source customers can now use a Facebook-style website to get in is free for brokers and is designed to allow them to meet contacts with similar business interests.As with typical social networking websites, companies are invited to create online profiles […]

Sub-Saharan Africa Near-Term Outlook

By Paul Caruana-Galizia, Neptune Economist

Sub-Saharan Africa’s economic renaissance continues. After growing at an average rate of five per cent over the past decade, the IMF projects an acceleration to 5.5 per cent growth among Sub-Saharan economies in the next two years, as developed economies emerge from the crisis. We expect this growth to be sustainable for three broad reasons.


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