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Get back to a mortgage system based on human values rather than the tick box

STAR LETTER

Two words, complex prime, seem to have kick-started a debate which is rapidly gathering pace and which in some sectors seems to be missing the point (Mortgage Strategy Cover Feature, April 26). Complex prime is not the new sub-prime.

We first offered complex prime as long ago as 1996 when we experienced our first dramatic growth spurt, offering mortgage brokers and their clients a way through the lending maze by placing cases that did not, on the face of it, fit any lenders’ profiles.

The cases had to be clean and affordable, and make economic sense for lender and borrower.

Surprisingly, nothing has changed with these historic requirements.

And here we are, more than a decade later in a mortgage world that appears to have turned full circle.

Once again, lenders are looking to cover every conceivable angle to protect their distribution and ensure that they are lending in a demonstrably favourable manner.

Back in 1996 we offered brokers and clients a way through the mortgage maze by placing cases that did not, on the face of it, fit lenders’ profiles

But as a result, many are using a tick box mentality to decide which customers they want and turning away those who would appear to be unworthy. The computer-based decision in principle is a valuable tool but it is also turning away quality clients on an alarmingly regular basis.

What we are striving to deliver through complex prime is a way for potential borrowers to obtain a mortgage that is underwritten manually.

Credit scoring is not the be-all and end-all of deciding tools. In other words, we want a return to common sense lending.

There are three central factors that determine the viability of this type of mortgage application.

These are a maximum LTV of 75%, a clean credit history and the ability of applicants to prove beyond doubt that they can afford the mortgage to the satisfaction of the lender’s underwriter.

If these three points can be satisfactorily managed there is a better than average chance that an underwriter will agree the case.

We have entered into arrangements with six lenders that are happy to work on this basis.

It is enlightening that we can arrange mortgages for human beings, underwritten by human beings who are willing to discuss any nuances in a can-do manner rather than relying on the ’computer says no’ mentality we seem to have had thrust upon us in recent times.

Long may this revitalised and sensible attitude prevail for the benefit of our paying customers.

VIC JANNELS
ALL TYPES OF MORTGAGES

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