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Choose your partners with great care

Choosing the right partner can be fraught with difficulties. You only have to look at divorce statistics to see how it can go wrong. Fortunately, choosing a packaging partner in secured loans doesn’t have to be so fraught and time spent researching packagers can save time and heartache down the road.

Most mortgage intermediaries have neither the time nor the specialist knowledge to advise in this niche area. They want to be able to offer a service to clients but not be distracted from their core mortgage business.

Some are looking for a service which hands over responsibility for a client’s enquiry to a specialist who can handle the process from enquiry to completion. Other brokers want to control the client interview and advice, relying purely on the product knowledge and administration skills of a packaging partner.

The primary consideration for intermediaries must be to decide whether they want to pass over their clients or to manage cases themselves. The points to consider when choosing a packaging partner are:

• Lending panel – Is it comprehensive enough to ensure your client is getting the widest possible choice? Many packagers have restricted panels and although secured loans are not regulated, intermediaries must be sure that the deal their client is recommended comes from a representative panel.

• Fees – There should be no upfront fees for the service whether a broker is going for a full introducer service or just packaging services.

• Is there cross-selling? – Amazingly, there are still companies which try to sell other services to intermediary clients without permission. Make sure your packager of choice can furnish a robust no cross-sell agreement which covers not only any future loans and mortgages but also insurances and other services.

• Is it exclusively business to business? – This a question that all packagers should be asked. Those selling direct to the public as well as offering services to brokers might be professional but if a client is introduced, what guarantee does the intermediary have that in time the no cross- selling agreement will still stand? Stick with packagers exclusively dedicated to brokers.

• Technology – The packager should be advanced enough to receive agreements in principle and applications via an interactive website.

• Service – Service standards vary wildly among packagers. Introducers should look for immediate responses from professional and knowledgeable staff.

• Marketing assistance – Good packagers should help brokers market secured loans effectively. Material such as compliant advertising copy and assistance with website content should be a minimum requirement.

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