Lenders waste our time with promises they can’t keep

From Mark Sutton

On reading Jeff Knight’s letter about online binding decisions (Mortgage Strategy October 17), you could be forgiven for thinking he was taking the opportunity to have a poke at a major rival. But on closer inspection the letter is to be applauded as it focusses attention on one of the biggest problems facing brokers.

With the advent of online decision in principle facilities from most lenders you’d think any uncertainty about the fit of a case would be removed and you could rely on the decision given.

Obviously the quality of the information provided by the broker and client is critical and I have no sympathy with brokers or clients who suffer because the lender finds things are not as they were when the case was originally keyed in.

If the information keyed in by the broker is correct and the lender conducts a credit search, what apart from the valuation of the property is there to go wrong? Quite a lot it would seem. I’m sure every broker out there has their favourite gripes but here are a couple of mine.

First, lenders such as Platform offer self-certification for employed people but are clearly not comfortable with this because their DIP facility will accept a case but then underwriters spend a huge amount of time looking for reasons not to do it. Surely the solution would either not to do employed self-cert or build a ‘reasonability check’ into the DIP.

Second, it would appear the HBOS online proposition will only do a credit search for the first two addresses provided and the third and subsequent addresses are only searched when a full application is keyed.

What use is that if the client has adverse credit at one of the latter addresses? Please don’t tell me it cannot afford the small sum payable to the likes of Experian for these searches. Why offer a decision based on only half the relevant information?

In both these cases – and probably most cases brokers have experienced – there must be a simple lender fix so why not get it sorted and stop wasting my and my clients’ time making promises they can’t keep.

It is obvious the people responsible for these facilities have never had to spend the huge amount of time it now takes to rewrite an application with all the supporting documentation required.