News is all around and most of it’s bad

Technology is a wonderful thing. Thanks to the wonders of high-tech development, global news is now available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. As stories unfold around the world, news agencies feed through their reports and in the blink of an eye we can get up-to-date with events as they happen.

When I first became an office dweller, things were different. Besides those workers who were privileged enough to have access to TV screens, the rest of us lived in a vacuum, unaware of the world elsewhere from the time we left our homes in the morning until we read the evening papers or listened to the car radio on the way home.

Of course, now we have the internet. Most of us have access to newswires throughout the day as well as constant news alerts that pop up on our computer screens. There’s no denying that keeping abreast of developments and remaining in touch with industry news is vital, but the need to be in the eternal news loop can become addictive.

In the prevailing climate this is more true than ever. It’s safe to say that the mortgage industry has received more national media coverage in the past seven months than at any other time in its history. With the unavoidable news of product cuts and lender withdrawals flashing up left, right and centre, the trade wires are also experiencing a busy period. On March 18 alone, Mortgage Strategy Online covered six lenders’ product and criteria adjustments.

We recently analysed the adjustments taking place across the market and predicted that gross lending volumes could be as low as £250bn this year.

Unfortunately, this not only means it will be harder for brokers to place cases but it will also lead to a considerable decline in the proc fees lenders pay out – by our calculations, a drop of around £625m in 2008.

Although this is a bitter pill to swallow I urge brokers not to throw in the towel yet as there is still business to be done – £250bn of it.

And some lenders are doing all they can to help brokers gain access to additional revenue streams, including looking at initiatives that could provide them with the boost they need.

Right now, the key for the mortgage industry is to keep an open mind and explore areas that may fall outside traditional business parameters.