Given the fragmented nature of the broker community, which is made up of around 25,000 individual advisers working for thousands of firms, the task has been easy for lenders.
Despite the obvious conflict of interest in operating broker and direct channels simultaneously, a storm has blown up in the press over an advertising campaign recently launched by edeus. By daring to publicly state what many have complained about for years, edeus has set out its stall for the broker channel and challenged other lenders to do the same.
As far as edeus is concerned, it is impossible for a lender operating both strategies to give the same commitment to brokers as a lender dealing only through third party distributors.
Indeed, rather than focussing on service excellence for a particular market, many big high street names have sought to spread their reach as wide as possible and sweep all before them into their net. This leads to confusion and diluted service.
Too often, brokers have seen clients stolen from under their noses by supposed lender partners and even the retention strategies which lenders point to as an indication of their commitment to brokers are full of holes.
Some of the highest profile retention products offer poor value for clients and inflated margins for lenders. But as responsibility for advice lies with brokers, lenders are happy to entice them down this path to win more business. This is not the kind of commitment brokers are looking for.
It’s time for brokers to think about the kind of lenders they wish to do business with. The choice is huge and by looking to lenders that tailor their services to brokers, they can be sure they are getting the best deals for their clients.
We don’t have the luxury of a branch network to fall back on and are committed to getting it right first time. In launching our advertising campaign we have staked our reputation on the products and services we offer brokers. Now it’s up to them to decide if high street lenders are offering the same level of commitment.