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Brokers abandon Abbey fast-track

Over 1,000 mortgage brokers have opted out of using Abbey for Intermediaries’ fast-track facility since the start of the month.

Last week Mortgage Strategy Online reported that Legal & General Network, Mortgage Intelligence and Mortgage Next are no longer making the facility available to their advisers.

And Countrywide has now also confirmed that it has stopped offering the facility.

Countrywide has around 680 mortgage consultants, while L&G has 210 appointed representatives and Mortgage Intelligence and Mortgage Next have 219 combined.

A spokeswoman for Countrywide says: “As the UK’s largest broker, we are always looking at ways of working with lenders to improve the industry’s flight to quality.

“Following extensive discussions with our mortgage consultants around the country, we took the opportunity to review our position in relation to Abbey’s fast-track process and chose to withdraw from it.”

Personal Touch Financial Services and LSL Property Services are still using the facility, but say they are reviewing their stance.

Dev Malle, sales and marketing director at PTFS, says: “We haven’t reacted quickly because we have a good track record on fast-track cases and have robust systems in place at the business.

“However, we are considering our options because it appears brokers stopping using fast-track is the desired effect Abbey wants.”

He adds that if it is the lender’s intention for brokers to stop using the system it should just withdraw it from the market rather than by a death by a thousand cuts.

In an email last week, L&G told brokers that lenders are placing increased emphasis on the overall quality of packaging in addition to their focus on fraud risk and overall business performance.

It says: “Poor quality packaging significantly increases the risk of advisers being removed from lenders’ panels, or sometimes entire firms if issues are systemic or cannot be contained.

“Clearly this is something we need to avoid both commercially, from a risk perspective and also for our customers to ensure we recommend the right product and the application process runs smoothly for them.”

Mortgage Strategy understands that Abbey has recently increased the percentage of cases that it checks from 5% to 20%.

A spokeswoman for Abbey says: “We constantly review our offering to ensure it meets the needs of our intermediary partners.

“We continue to offer fast-track and our requirements for the completion of fast-track applications are clearly set out on our website to support intermediaries.”

Last week Mortgage Strategy reported that Abbey has notified around 140 advisers that they will no longer be able to use its fast-track facility, with rumours that the lender was removing brokers because they had failed to provide evidence of clients’ income.

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  • David Sellenby 22nd May 2012 at 5:03 pm

    Firstly i am not a broker. Or in any way related to the FS market. I am doing a research piece.

    Why am i here? Question.

    Why on Earth do you chaps take on regulatory responsibility to mortgage contracts, do all the paperwork, etc etc for 3 or 4 hundred quid a pop???

    I am baffled by this. You must be crazy or foolish. If you asked an investment bank to value your risk (ie the risk you are pricing to take on) it would run into 1000’s of pounds.

    Wise up.

  • AJK 21st May 2012 at 4:56 pm

    Hello Travers (any relation to Dave Lee?)
    Cant see your letter send me a link and I ll read it (hope its worth reading?) If a rookie broker gets it wrong then yes he should have his kness hit! But lets not gett fuzzy over whether lenders are right or wrong to use fast track – TTFN

  • James Lindon-Travers 21st May 2012 at 12:03 pm

    Perhaps AJK ought to read my letter in MS today – it’s the inconsistency of the underwriters that can cause problems for the broker. A rookie underwriter may wrongly interpret a case which then causes the broker quality issues with the lender.

  • Liz 21st May 2012 at 11:57 am

    It is a shame networks/mortgage clubs are not permitting fast track. Any decent broker will always obtain evidence for their file (if only for their own peace of mind) and would be able to provide proof of income should the lender require it at a later date, if not then I would be inclined to ask a big WHY NOT? of the broker!

    Fast track is a useful tool to have, especially when dealing with new build cases which must complete within 28 days of offer being accepted as standard. When lenders are busy sometimes taking 10-14 days to look at the application and then another 10-14 days to look at the valuation when returned from the valuer fast track can be a saviour!

  • Mike Snorkins 21st May 2012 at 11:34 am

    Fast track was always BS anyway. I’ve still got a screen save of an Abbey Internet page calling fast-track ‘self-cert’! Fast track is/was used by lenders as a way of reducing their admin costs, justified by credit-scoring. Just shows you how much use credit-scoring is…

  • GT 21st May 2012 at 11:26 am

    All the people who say here that any bad audit by Abbey is a black and white case of attempted mortgage fraud by a dodgy broker don’t live in the real world where cases aren’t always totally conventional. Amongst other circumstances, the Abbey system is flawed when there are multiple income sources that are changeable, particularly as they never read the notes!

    We have a broker who was one of the 140 who had a bad audit but we have since had that decision overturned as it was the auditors who got it wrong on a complcated case not the broker!

    Good brokers shouldn’t have their reputation on the line when the system is not perfect. We have since chosen to withdraw from fast-track.

  • Mark Stroud 21st May 2012 at 11:18 am

    Come on Intrinsic lets pull out as well.

  • Charles Bunbury 21st May 2012 at 10:46 am

    I have always treated the term “fast track” as joke, it does not mean income must not be proved and take client’s word because a lender does not want to see documentary proof. In my book lenders have always retain the right to prove income throughout the term of a mortgage, added to the fact it does not matter what title you call yourself or organisation, DA, AR, Ifa, network, broker, packager or un regulated broker all in you or the organisation are agents having a duty of care under the law of agency, period.

  • Alan Smith 21st May 2012 at 10:04 am

    Surely this is the voice of no confidence in the brokers who have been abusing the system with no evidence of income on file?. If the broker was doing their job properly it should be no problem the Abbey requesting sight of the clients evidence of earnings/income which should be obtained as matter of course.Hence the 140 brokers who have been removed by the Abbey

  • AJK 21st May 2012 at 9:42 am

    What a load of tosh! -Surely those networks who have decide to stop fast track should know that brokers who think its a way round proving income will get caught out- If the lender fast tracks a case so be it whats the problem? Its if the broker cannot back up the proof if asked by the lender, thats when the fun starts. All credit Personal Touch FS, clearly you haev confidence in your members!