And it’s the brokers sector that has thus far carried the brunt of this calamity. Lenders may be suffering in their direct business channels with overall lending introduced intermediary business has plunged dramatically since 2006.
Research by Mortgage Strategy during those heady days put the percentage of introduced business around the 80% mark.
Now, according to AMI, that figure stands at a little over 50% in a market reduced to some £145bn gross lending for 2009.
Worryingly, ongoing research by the Marketing Innovation Forum paints an even bleaker picture in terms of where that percentage will end up by the end of the year.
Some 30% of respondents believe that the figure will plunge to 40% or less with just a quarter feeling that it would creep up to 60%, with a perhaps overly optimistic 12% believing it will increase to 70%.
Confidence among brokers is understandably at an all-time low but it’s not all doom and gloom. If anything, the results also show that the broker sector still exists. It might not be thriving but it is at least alive.
It might not feel like it at times, but even accounting for 50% of all lending it will remain a sector that lenders cannot afford to ignore.
Some lenders are trying to do their best to bolster business for you. Alliance & Leicester is a case in point. The broker exclusives it launched on Friday, with a couple of two-year fixed deals at 3.79% and 3.99% up to 75% LTV, certainly stand out as a step in the right direction. It might just be a case of tinkering with existing products and bringing the range in line with Abbey but they are competitive and importantly, just for you.
Fixed rates look increasingly like they are becoming the order of the day with the smart money in the City pointing to rising interest rates by the end of the year.
With clients likely to be on edge during these difficult times, for those who qualify, these deals will offer them the best peace of mind that money can currently buy.
Other lenders are trying to help too. While it’s frustrating that LTVs remain low, this will continue to be the case for the best products for a long time.
The market will turn at some point. Those lenders supporting the broker market today will reap the rewards tomorrow.