Call for FSA to probe lenders

A broker has called on the Financial Services Authority to examine lender service levels.

The source, who asked to remain nameless, contacted Mortgage Strategy after he was told on two occasions by Northern Rock that his client’s loan had been agreed, only to told in subsequent phone calls that it hadn’t.

Though the Key Facts Illustration was eventually produced, he complains lenders are continually letting brokers and their clients down with poor levels of service and this is both frustrating and time consuming.

He says: “This is yet another case of lenders providing poor service whilst expecting business from brokers. Surely it’s time for the Financial Services Authority to examine the lenders’ service levels.”

Terry Pritchard, managing director of Chase UK, says service standards slip when lenders launch products without ensuring staff can cope with increased demand.

He adds: “It’s an inherent problem for Northern Rock and other prime lenders, but investing in staff training and technology are the answers rather than regulation.”

Stephen Atkins, managing director of Freedom Finance, agrees that while many lenders have prioritised branch service since regulation, some have failed improve their service to brokers.

But he says: “Service isn’t within the remit of the FSA, though there could be a case for AMI to investigate.”

Ron Stout, assistant director at Northern Rock, says: “We were rated highly in a recent poll in terms of our strategy and the quality of service we provide to brokers.

“We don’t claim to be perfect and mistakes are occasionally made, but we are willing to learn from our mistakes to further improve our service.”