Take stock and hit targets before year end, says Hunt

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We’re at that time of year – and I remember it well having worked for a lender previously – where everyone in a lending organisation begins to take a very keen interest in lending levels and the targets that may (or may not) be met.

It’s this environment that means we’re seeing a considerable amount of product change and counter-change from lenders at present, as they seek to make themselves even more competitive and perhaps pull in the business volumes required to meet those targets.

From an industry perspective, the CML appeared to provide some good news recently with its prediction that gross lending would hit £240-£245bn this year, 10-12% up on 2015. If lenders were benchmarking their activity for 2016 on this type of market, then they should (we hope) be relatively happy.

Certainly, those with buy-to-let brands would have been happy with the activity levels in February and March, but I suspect less so since. The same goes for the residential purchase market which has not exactly been the market’s shining light since the EU referendum vote. Activity appears to have picked up in the last couple of months but again, I suspect, there will be few happy with the summer months which undoubtedly suffered from a ‘Brexit lull’.

The rate and criteria changes, which are coming thick and fast, perhaps tells you which lenders might be playing catch-up however, in the great scheme of things and certainly from a client’s perspective, this ‘scramble’ for business is good news.

The remortgage opportunity, and interest, should be incredibly strong at present. However, the business isn’t simply going to right itself, plus lenders themselves may well seek to take advantage of their position by encouraging intermediary-introduced clients to renew directly.

I’d therefore encourage all intermediaries – if they haven’t already done so – to build the most robust contact review and renewal process they can, if they are to avoid anyone – lender or competitor – from stealing their lunch.

As we near the end of the year, we shouldn’t underestimate the boost we can deliver our own businesses. With just weeks to go, make sure you deliver on your own targets and take advantage of lenders’ quest to hit theirs.

Bob Hunt is Chief Executive of Paradigm Mortgage Services