Brokers abandon Abbey fast-track

Over 1,000 mortgage brokers have opted out of using Abbey for Intermediaries’ fast-track facility since the start of the month.

Last week Mortgage Strategy Online reported that Legal & General Network, Mortgage Intelligence and Mortgage Next are no longer making the facility available to their advisers.

And Countrywide has now also confirmed that it has stopped offering the facility.

Countrywide has around 680 mortgage consultants, while L&G has 210 appointed representatives and Mortgage Intelligence and Mortgage Next have 219 combined.

A spokeswoman for Countrywide says: “As the UK’s largest broker, we are always looking at ways ofworking with lenders to improve the industry’s flight to quality.

“Following extensive discussions withour mortgage consultants around the country, we took the opportunity to review our position in relationto Abbey’s fast-track process and chose towithdraw from it.”

Personal Touch Financial Services and LSL Property Services are still using the facility, but say they are reviewing their stance.
Dev Malle, sales and marketing director at PTFS, says: “We haven’t reacted quickly because we have a good track record on fast-track cases and have robust systems in place at the business.

“However, we are considering our options because it appears brokers stopping using fast-track is the desired effect Abbey wants.”
He adds that if it is the lender’s intention for brokers to stop using the system it should just withdraw it from the market rather than by a death by a thousand cuts.

In an email last week, L&G told brokers that lenders are placing increased emphasis on the overall quality of packaging in addition to their focus on fraud risk and overall business performance.

It says: “Poor quality packaging significantly increases the risk of advisers being removed from lenders’ panels, or sometimes entire firms if issues are systemic or cannot be contained.

“Clearly this is something we need to avoid both commercially, from a risk perspective and also for our customers to ensure we recommend the right product and the application process runs smoothly for them.”

Mortgage Strategy understands that Abbey has recently increased the percentage of cases that it checks from 5% to 20%.

A spokeswoman for Abbey says: “We constantly review our offering to ensure it meets the needs of our intermediary partners.

“We continue to offer fast-track and our requirements for the completion of fast-track applications are clearly set out on our website to support intermediaries.”

Last week Mortgage Strategy reported that Abbey has notified around 140 advisers that they will no longer be able to use its fast-track facility, with rumours that the lender was removing brokers because they had failed to provide evidence of clients’ income.