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‘Borrowers still waiting weeks to see lenders’

Brokers say borrowers are still being made to wait weeks to see advisers in lender branches despite an FCA claim that waiting times have reduced since the MMR.

In the wake of the new regulations that came into effect in April, brokers claimed they had received enquiries from borrowers who had attempted to book an appointment to see a bank adviser but were told they would have to wait weeks. Borrowers were also reportedly forced to sit through appointments of up to three hours as banks struggled to deal with the new rules around advice. 

However, FCA director of mortgages and consumer lending Linda Woodall says: “Having got over the line with MMR, there were some teething problems. These were typically operational and logistical – people were finding delays in getting appointments and some of the conversations in-branch seemed beyond what the MMR was calling for.

“We knew that given the nature of the change that there would be a period of settling-down, and there has been, but the logistical side is now much better so people can get to see an adviser quickly now.”

However, brokers say they have not seen an easing of ”logistical” issues and say many borrowers are still having to wait too long to see an adviser in-branch.

Perception Finance managing director David Sheppard says: “I’m surprised at the FCA’s statement because it is not reflected in what we are seeing, in that people are almost walking away from the idea of trying to deal with even their own bank, purely because of the times they are being made to wait – the property market simply will not wait that long.

“If this was the case, I’d be keen to know which bank it is that is able to get a borrower in quickly to see someone. Also, if waiting times were down and banks were handling the increased volumes more easily, why are they clearly looking to open up more to the broker channel and why is AMI forecasting that the direct-only channel is in a period of continued decline? Waiting times certainly do not appear to have curtailed from what we have seen.”

Blue Strawberry Mortgages principal Ross Robinson says: “I just recently had a client telling me he couldn’t go direct with NatWest simply because he couldn’t see someone there for at least a few weeks.”

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