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Abbey chops 140 fast-track users

Abbey for Intermediaries has notified around 140 advisers that they will no longer be able to use its fast-track facility following a review of their business performance.

Mortgage Strategy understands that those affected are equally split between appointed representatives and directly authorised brokers.

There were rumours last week that the measure was the result of the lender taking action against advisers who had failed to provide evidence of clients’ income.

But Abbey says that while the advisers have been removed from its fast-track service they are still able to submit normal cases that have been fully packaged and they have not been removed from its panel altogether.

A spokeswoman for Abbey for Intermediaries says: “We have contacted a small number of intermediary firms to advise that following a review of their business performance, they will no longer be eligible to use our fast track service. These intermediaries can continue to place fully packaged cases with us and we will be working with them to discuss other areas where business performance can be improved.”

John Malone, executive chairman at PMS, says that the market is already starting to see lenders get stricter with their systems and processes, such as with Nationwide’s recent decision to return applications that are not filled in correctly.

He says: “Under the Mortgage Market Review all brokers must have a better understanding of all lenders product criteria and systems otherwise will be far more strict and brokers will be eventually refused access to their products.

“We’ve obviously already started to see that put into place with the Nationwide.”

However, industry sources say that some brokers have been actively removing themselves from Abbey’s fast-track process because they’ve found it difficult to gauge what Abbey required.

One source told Mortgage Strategy: “It’s an emotional area for a lot of brokers. I know of firms that have already taken themselves out of Abbey’s fast-track process because they’ve found it so difficult. The difficulty is in filling in the fields on the fast-track application in comparison with the normal application. So what it says on the form is not what people actually have to input – so some are choosing to submit business on a fully packaged basis.”

Robert Sinclair, director of the Association of Mortgage Intermediaries, says that where people are not able to comply with the rules of a lender then the lender can take action. 

But he adds: “Potentially there are people’s livelihoods are at stake so it is important there is an appropriate appeals process. Some brokers find Abbey’s systems complicated and difficult to follow, therefore we hope the lender is taking this into consideration when making its decision.”

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  • Luke Atkinson 22nd May 2012 at 10:03 am

    @ Anon – 11:36am

    Absolutely spot on, the funds in the Uk are ringfenced from Banco Santander however….public perception may be different.

    What we may see, if there is a run on a Banco Santander branch in Spain, is a run on a Santander branch in the Uk. The public love a bit of scaremongering.

    Also, a run on a bank anywhere within the Eurozone will effectively bring the ELA to its knees. Without the ELA, the majority of Spanish, Greek and Italian retail banks are bankrupt.

  • James 21st May 2012 at 11:36 am

    @ Anonymous 2:51pm
    Clearly you havn’t read the full story. Banco Santander and Santander UK are two separate companies. Santander UK is also regulated by the FSA. There is no possibility of any funds being pulled from Santander UK to prop up Banco Santander. Even if there was the FSA wouldn’t allow it. If you have a look at the share of profits Banco Santander provides to the whole Santander group, you will find this is minimalistic, with the majority of profits coming from South America. Don’t believe everything you read.

  • Jeff 21st May 2012 at 9:19 am

    RE: Stuart Duncan | 18 May 2012 11:51 am

    Santander has owned Abbey for 5+ years, I’m sure the re-branding of branches didn’t indicate a change in strategy this would have been in place long before

    RE: Anonymous | 18 May 2012 2:51 pm
    The only way of doing this would be through a dividend to the parent company that would have to be regulator approved (even they couldn’t miss that right…)

    I find the level of naivety somewhat disturbing if you are offering financial advice to others…..

  • Tom Cleary 18th May 2012 at 2:51 pm

    Point 2 of the last post is particularly relevant after the down grading of Santander’s credit rating. With the possibilty of funds from Santander UK being pulled across to support the Spanish banking operation. Maybe they should revert back to Abbey in the UK?

  • Stuart Duncan 18th May 2012 at 11:51 am

    1) I have not had issues myself, but have removed myself from fast-track to make sure I don’t. I do, however, know several competent brokers who have.

    2) I have a very long memory, but what did Santander have to do with Abbey before the start of 2010? It is the destruction of Abbey as a trusted brand that is perhaps the most upsetting aspect of this debacle.

    3) Of course we will be back when AFI become a best-buy again, as we have to make recommendations in the client’s interests. We have no choice in what is allegedly a regulated market

  • Tom Cleary 17th May 2012 at 8:49 am

    To DUFFY @ 6.20pm – Yes you are correct, the only reason any mortgage broker is still in business today is because of Abbey. Because 100% of brokers placed 100% of their business exclusively with Abbey between 2009-2011. Please impart on us any more pearls of wisdom you have…

  • Fran brogan 16th May 2012 at 5:20 pm

    Re the 10 comments from Stuart Duncan – abbey works on net income as declared on the payslip – this is perhaps where you have got confused and not checked the payslip deductions ? Check their website as I think it would help you with avoiding the issues you appear to have.

  • Fran brogan 16th May 2012 at 5:19 pm

    Re the 10 comments from Stuart Duncan – abbey works on net income as declared on the payslip – this is perhaps where you have got confused and not checked the payslip deductions ? Check their website as I think it would help you with avoiding the issues you appear to have.

  • DUFFY 15th May 2012 at 6:20 pm

    RISIBLE . i wonder how many of abbey’s detractors here manmaged to stay in business from 2009 thru 2011 when AFI did more than any other lender to support the sector. a great big waterbowl full of no-memory goldfish. no doubt they’ll be back when AFI are however…

  • Stuart Duncan 15th May 2012 at 11:27 am

    I do not want to labour the point, but the fact that these cases failed audit on outgoings, not income, is the reason that brokers are up in arms. It is in the affordability section that Abbey’s guidance is problematic and it is this that is being used as an excuse to avoid proc fee payments or to claw them back in the cases concerned.

    It is the non-registered payments such as pensions, childcare costs and even Christmas and Birthday gifts that are the issue, which has nothing at all to do with Fast-track, except that Santander have decided that they do!

    Please address this with Abbey yourself, or you may well find that you will stand accused of abusing fast-track when you have not done so.

    Sally Laker has asked for the whole of her network (Mortgage Next/Mortgage Intelligence) to be removed from the fast-track process in order to protect her members. Are you saying that she thinks that some of her members are dodgy or incompetent?

    Hundreds of other brokers have done so as well, not because they are worried about their own competence, but because they cannot rely on Abbey’s interpretation of their own criteria.

    If you want to fall for their spin, that is up to you. I am only trying to inform.

  • James 15th May 2012 at 9:54 am

    Stuart Duncan @ 1:46 pm

    It has completely nothing to do with outgoings/commitments, as these will show up on the clients credit file or have already been declared in the FMA, and will have already been looked at by the underwriter.

    Maybe these 3 cases you’ve “heard” of might be from brokers who as you say are “stupid enough to misrepresent income on an application” and they are just too ashamed to admit fault.

    Just to double check with criteria, and it specifically says intermediaries must agree to satisfy themselves that the income declared is accurate, retain acceptable evidence for 2 years and provide income evidence on request. Nowhere does it ask about outgoings or commitments for fast-track.

  • Chris Whittaker 14th May 2012 at 6:23 pm

    I too have removed my brokers from Abbeys fast track system after suffering a case in which one Abbey underwriter asked for 1 set of documents to support the case and then we were subsequently asked for a different set of documents. No problem in supplying what they needed but they didnt seem to have a clue what they needed. After 4 weeks of delays and requests for more info one client withdrew his case, costing me over £1000 in proc fee and the loss of a good client. If Abbeys underwriters dont know what they need how can we as brokers second guess? Most lenders are clear in what is required. Come on Abbey get your act together.

  • Tom 14th May 2012 at 2:25 pm

    They retrospectively underwrite the case 6 months down the line saying that the income on payslip isn’t acceptable, which if they bothered to look at the time of submission might have helped everyone. This is in connection to a client who works nights, so her basic income is shown as time + 1.

    This has cause me a huge issue with my network, and I am personally happy I don’t have this any longer.

    The cynic inside me thinks they go out of their way to look for reasons not to pay proc fees.

  • We're all Doomed!! 14th May 2012 at 1:47 pm

    The problem here, as with many areas over the years, is that there is no doubt that most brokers can hold their heads up high with regards to their dealings with product providers. However, there can be no doubt that there have also been some brokers who have abused the system, Abbey’s response is to be expected. Again, a small number of brokers spoil it for a bigger number, who have done nothing to be ashamed of.

  • Stuart Duncan 14th May 2012 at 1:46 pm

    @still anonymous 12.17.

    That is incorrect.

    At least three cases I have heard of were entirely to do with Abbey’s interpretation of outgoings, not income. I repeat that all the cases where the proc fee was witheld were, by definition, successfully completed.

    I know of no brokers stupid enough to misrepresent income on an application, although I am sure that these still exist of course.

    Keep yourself on fast-track, get a few cases audited and then come back and let Mortgage Strategy know what is really happening.

    Unless, of course, Santander become sane lenders again, which I hope they do.

  • James 14th May 2012 at 12:17 pm

    @ Stuart Duncan 10:21 am

    It seems you don’t have much knowledge on the subject either. Abbey’s fasttrack process is if you are picked for a random sample (1 in 5 cases), then they request for you to send in the relevant income evidence. If you fail to send in the relevant income evidence, or if what has been stated on the application is out by more than 10% of what the evidence shows, then you become restricted from fasttrack and rightly lose your proc fee, as many others have stated, people are abusing fast track as a substitute for self-cert.
    There is nothing complicated about this process, all you need to do is make sure what income shows on payslips etc, matches up with what you have put on the application. And if you abuse this or don’t have the evidence then you deserve to be restricted and lose you fee, as it is trust from all the lenders that you are following the correct procedure

  • HW 14th May 2012 at 11:34 am

    The problem is NOT the Fast Track itself(we all know proof of income is still required for files), but the potential consequences caused by trying to interpret the ludicrous breakdown of income and expenditure now required by Abbey. Aware of the recent controversy with Abbey and FT, I have just spoken to three different processing staff (a feat in itself!) whilst processing an application to ensure the correct figures are in the right boxes and (unsurprisingly)received three different answers. Finally, I gave up and submitted elsewhere

  • Stuart Duncan 14th May 2012 at 11:25 am

    @ Anonymous
    I too have had INCOME audit checks, which are fine. This is about Abbey trying to catch people out by moving their goalposts on affordability and what does and does not need to be input.

    People should read comments properly before making smug and anonymous remarks.

  • Phil Alvey 14th May 2012 at 11:15 am

    I belive this to be a further example of the arrogance, high handedness and hypocritical nature of some lenders. They do not appear to recognise that we too are their customers. Last Friday I had reason to chase a perfectly simple instruction to transfer an ISA made to ‘Santander’ in April – they, for some reason only known to themselves, had chosen to ignore the instruction despite the fact that it registered on their system on the 3rd April. I will ensure that it will result in a full complaint from the client. They need to look very carefully at the standards of their own business before trying to pick holes in others. If I felt they could deliver a first rate service instead of the slapshod unprofessional levels that we currently experience I may have some sympathy for their plight.

  • Fran brogan 14th May 2012 at 11:08 am

    Abbey allows you to take yourself out of its fast track – I did this months ago and have had no issues regarding payments or cases being subject to checks – really you should do the same if you cannot understand that you should these details on file at the point of application.

    Think they just require a email and it can be done in minutes.

  • damon palmer 14th May 2012 at 10:42 am

    I echo the first comment. I can’t see what the problem is. Brokers should have proof of income on file – Fast Track is not a self cert product. We’ve been subject to a random check in the past by Abbey (using a third party company) on a Fast track case where they asked us to provide proof of income. As we had it on file it was sent in same day.

  • James Lindon-Travers 14th May 2012 at 10:25 am

    I have taken the decision that me and my brokers will opt out of Abbey’s fast track system. Like all bona fide brokers we have evidence of income on file at the point of application. The problem itself lies with Abbey – their underwriting is incredibly hit and miss right now and I fear that something that an inexperienced underwiter misinterprets could land a perfectly innocent broker in hot water. Furthermore with a broken banking system at the moment with little or no wholesale funding the appetite for lending is at an all time low, so we must expect that the new breed of underwriters fresh from their training courses will have an underwriting guide on one side of the desk, a fraud awareness manual on the other and a briefing note entitled 10 handy tips on how to decline a case. Challenging times indeed!

  • anonymous 14th May 2012 at 10:25 am

    I agree with Robert Sinclair
    I was remoed back in jan for being £5.00 out on the budget checklist due to me not including the applicants pension,you cannot talk to these people they are faceless and would not listen to any reasons, I have since removed myself from the list as they look for reasons to cull you not to assist the honest broker

  • Roger Travis 14th May 2012 at 10:23 am

    You mean to say, the hoops i have to jump through with my Network for Income/Expenditure, there are some AR’s still around that ignore lenders request for income verification?

  • gary 14th May 2012 at 10:22 am

    FAST TRACK should be banned years ago.
    It irritates our office that it still exists. We still come up against other brokers or branch staff that are using it to submit fraudulent cases.
    GET RID OF FAST TRACK

  • Stuart Duncan 14th May 2012 at 10:21 am

    @ anonymous 10.09.
    You clearly have no knowledge of this subject.

    Abbey are refusing to pay proc fees to brokers who cannot get their heads round Abbey’s affordability and expenditure input requirements which, I understand, is partly due to faults in their own application process.

    It has nothing to do with incorrect income disclosure and these are often cases where Abbey lend the amount requested because the case fits. Remember, you cannot withold a fee if a case has not completed because none would be apyable.

    Santander should own up to their shortcomings, not withold pay for work done.

  • Bob Riach Riach Independent Financial Advisers 14th May 2012 at 10:15 am

    I haven’t used the Abbey for over a year as I always found the service to be SLOW Track

  • Dave 14th May 2012 at 10:12 am

    I hope that fast track applications will be withdrawn. Why on earth in these days of tighter regulation should this facility ramain ? It is being used by many as a subsitute for self certification. I was recently approached by a client who admitted that his income was only 7k per annum yet he was accepted by Accord for a loan of 75k. That was of course until they requested his most recent SA302 and his broker duly withdrew the application. Lets just go back to the old fashioned way of having to prove income on every case.

  • E 14th May 2012 at 10:10 am

    I personally find Abbey complicated and difficult to deal with full stop…

  • Tom Cleary 14th May 2012 at 10:09 am

    I simply do not understand Robert Sinclair’s comments about brokers livelihoods at stake? All brokers should have proof of income on file, so even if a case fast tracks, they can still provide proof of income to the lender and the regulator. If they don’t have prooof of income, they are opening themselves up to fraud and should rightly be censured. For we all know that fast track is still being abused as a self-cert option by some brokers…