If we learned one thing in 2020 it’s that there will always be things we can’t control. Meaning it’s more important than ever to take full ownership of the things that we can. Control is an interesting topic when it comes to the mortgage market. From a lending perspective, control comes in many forms.
The management of product ranges to initiate and protect business volumes is an obvious starting point. How and where products are distributed is another. In addition, there are many intricacies around accepting and servicing applications which, especially over recent months, remains a constant challenge. Control also works hand in hand with technology and, as we’re all aware, some lenders have integrated technology better than others.
These later points were highlighted in the latest research from Smart Money People. This outlined that broker satisfaction with lenders reduced in H2, with inadequate online systems and resources cited as one of the top issues. The survey also reported a surge in dissatisfaction with speed of response and customer service. The rating for lender communication saw the second largest fall – down 5.3% against H1 2020.
Overall satisfaction with lenders was 77.8%, a drop of 4.9% since H1 2020, and was said to be the lowest score reported since tracking began in H2 2018. This drop was seen across all sectors, except for specialist lenders, whose performance remained consistent with H1 2020. Speed to process an application remained the most commented upon theme in the report and it has the biggest impact on a broker’s likelihood to recommend a lender. The rating for speed saw the biggest fall, down from 75.8% to 67.2%, highlighting broker annoyance.
As well as speed, online systems remained a key influence and feedback was said to be very mixed across the market. The report found that positive sentiment towards a lender’s online systems led brokers to be more positive about other aspects of a lender’s process including ease and communication. On a more positive note, a third of lenders were said to have improved their overall rating, indicating that some were able to build on their relationship with brokers during the pandemic.
Many of these frustrations stem from advisers not being able to control the actions of lenders and the reliance on them to work at speed to get applications through to offer. On the flip side, I’m sure there is also an argument from lenders that not all applications are submitted correctly, have the right documentation in place or represent the full financial picture required to progress the case. This is especially relevant when operating in a highly fluid lending situation where funding, products, policy, criteria and service levels can change so quickly.
Now this is not a give lender’s a break campaign. Some have not got up to speed fast enough but it does lead me back to my original point – the importance of controlling what you can control.
Technology plays a huge role within this process. When launching Credit Assess we always felt it would be a game-changer for advisory firms because of the control it offers them and the benefits of having access to client’s full financial details and credit status in an instant. Of course, not every tech tool, solution or system will be right for every advisory firm but being in a position where you have more client information upfront will only serve to improve the quality, speed and accuracy of the advice process. Not to mention offer greater levels of control even sooner in the advice process and control really will equate to greater power for the intermediary market in 2021.
David Jones is director of Click2Check