Nationwide may return poor paper applications

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Ray Boulger: Blanket rule will be working

Nationwide is considering taking a tough stance on paper applications by sending back poorly completed forms to brokers.

Ian Andrew, managing director of group intermediary sales at Nationwide, says the quality of paper applications is poorer than those submitted online.

He says: “We have a disproportionate amount of problems on paper applications. Brokers fill in online applications better than on paper because there are certain things you have to complete before you progress.

“This has been exaggerated because of short withdrawal times of an hour or two now. There’s panic from brokers with paper applications to get it off their desk and send it in to secure the rate before it goes up.”

Andrew says paper applications’ quality is deteriorating causing processing staff to chase information.

He says: “It’s something we are looking at and we may start to take a hard line on it by saying the application won’t be processed.

“We will then send it back to the broker until we have all the information. It is fair to the many brokers who do take the time to fill in applications properly.”

Mike Fitzgerald, sales director at Emba Group, says it is a good idea as it can have a knock-on effect on service levels for other brokers.

He says: “It’s rare that brokers have to do paper applications now but they have to make sure it is fully completed. There is no excuse.”

But Ray Boulger, senior technical manager at John Charcol, says lenders and brokers need to thrash out any issues.

He says: “Chucking cases back at brokers is an extreme move unless there is so little information that it can’t be done. It depends on what information is missing as some applications might be missing details that are not crucial to Nationwide approving the application but may be important later.

“It needs to be careful where it draws the line and not have a blanket rule that sends back any application with an error.”

Boulger believes a compromise could involve a booking system giving brokers more time to submit accurate applications without losing the rate.

Nationwide is also planning to move its shared equity application from paper to online-only.