Is it surprising that bank branches are shutting? Why would a borrower go to a bank where they can only get advice on one lender’s mortgage range when they could go to a qualified mortgage broker and get information on up to 50 lenders?
The only way someone could get something even close to comparable would be to go through the same lengthy three-hour advice process several times over with different lenders, but even then they would not have access to the exclusive products made available to brokers.
In some bank branches, potential borrowers need to wait up to three weeks for an appointment, while in others the borrower does not even get to see someone – rather they need to interact with a version of Skype. This is just wrong where a face-to-face meeting was sought. It is the biggest financial purchase of their life and they are left talking to a computer rather than having any real engagement.
If they are also given protection advice, it is likely this will also be a single tie with one provider and in some cases the premiums will be loaded, leaving the consumer to pay much more than they would have to for the same product elsewhere.
But how many potential borrowers would know this? A better use of the money given to the Money Advice Service would be to run a campaign to drive people to qualified mortgage advisers. Otherwise how do we stand a chance of making people know they exist? If more branch closures mean people getting proper advice from qualified advisers from a full range of products, branch closures can only be a positive.