It takes two to tango

Bad habits of lenders are driving intermediaries to distraction, wrote Mortgage Strategy’s Samuel Dale last week in a list of things that really tick off brokers.

But it takes two to make a good partnership, so in the spirit of constructive criticism, the mortgage team at Hinckley & Rugby has put together this list of dos and don’ts for brokers.

First off: a rapid rebuttal. Samuel’s poll of brokers produced a litany of crimes by lenders, but most mutuals operate to a higher standard than the picture painted by this rap sheet.

Hinckley & Rugby, for one, does not:

  • Dual price
  • Break cross-selling agreements – we don’t sell insurance to brokers’ customers.
  • Use call centres – neither domestic nor foreign, as our customers wouldn’t like it.
  • Pull mortgages without notice – unless we absolutely have to, such as with a fix that is phenomenally popular. Normally we give at least a week’s notice and often a bit longer.
  • Move the underwriting goal posts – we reserve the right to commercially underwrite, but transparency is key. Our policy is there for the broker to see on the introducer page of our website.

Okay, that’s enough rebuttal. On with the wish list of broker behaviour we think would oil the wheels and help ensure content customers, busy brokers and lovely lenders:

  • Register on our introducer website and do many things much more easily, such as get an automated decision in principle, print KFIs  and follow through to full online applications.
  • Supply your FSA number with the completed intermediary declaration. Believe it or not, some don’t.
  • Use the online application system. It speeds things up and it won’t let you proceed without answering the questions we need answers to.
  • On paper, fully complete applications. Don’t just ignore our questions because you know we won’t like the answer. The questions are there for a reason. We will come back to you and ask. If you can’t answer, or there is context to what looks like a ‘wrong’ answer, then call us.
  • When you apply, tell us which mortgage product it is for. Some brokers think they can tell us later which product the application is for. They think it speeds things up to get the application in first. It doesn’t.
  • Do be fully open about customer credit issues. We recognise that clients may sometimes not tell brokers about missed payments. But make sure you have asked all the right questions. Because we will find out about defaults, and then we’ve all wasted our time.
  • If we ask for three years of income details for a self-employed customer, then supply three years. Not just the one year’s worth that might be more readily to hand.
  • Do disclose applications by the same customer to other lenders.
  • On interest-only, do give us information on a credible repayment vehicle. Sometimes there is no information presented at all.
  • Get back to us quickly. We’ll always call you back as soon as possible. Return the favour and we’ll all get there quicker.
  • Please appreciate what it is like to be a lender. Some brokers talk about £300,000 as small change. It isn’t. If the broker was lending the money then the broker’s view of the necessary tasks before lending might be slightly different.
  • And the FSA oversees almost every aspect of our compliance with the FSA Handbook. So cut us a bit of slack if it seems like we are being over-interested in the detail.

We hope you take all of that in the spirit intended: one of co-operation and mutual benefit.