There are many people now driving who have never looked at a paper map to find their way. Technology and GPS have given us satellite navigation and a whole generation has grown up being able to type in an address and following the spoken instructions to their destination.
If you are anything like me, I use ‘satnav’ all the time, particularly to find my way in cities. No more pulling up in laybys to get the map out or stopping to ask for directions.
The almost universal use of ‘satnav’ rather neatly parallels the growing need for mortgage brokers to have a trusted source to access specific lender criteria for placing mortgages quickly and effectively. Not only that but to have such information available in one easily accessible place, without the need continually stop to look at individual ‘maps’ or waste time ‘asking the way’ from individual lenders.
Let’s face it, the mortgage market and the choices available to brokers and customers is growing all the time and the number of conventional cases – those cases which fit neatly into a box with standard income, no credit issues, good past history of borrowing, strong affordability and an easily saleable property – are becoming the exception rather than the norm.
Mortgage brokers’ expertise lies in their ability to know the market and what is available in order to find their customer the right mortgage at the right price. The increasing difficulties faced by brokers stem from the depth of lender choice and the differences in how each lender treats particular issues.
For example, let’s take a property where it is discovered that Japanese Knotweed is in evidence. Some lenders will not lend, others will, but insist that a full report is provided and, depending on that report, a full retention might be imposed while the infestation is removed. Others will accept these cases in principle but their response will depend on the level of infestation and its distance from the main property. The closer it is to the property, the more time will be needed to complete surveys, undertake remedial work and then wait for re-inspection.
Being able to see straightaway in one place which lenders won’t lend under any circumstances, then allows the user to look at those that will and find out exactly what conditions are stipulated.
As a mortgage broker myself, the amount of time I spent trawling through lenders’ written notes, sourcing system appendices and making endless phone calls to individual lenders to clarify specific criteria, was growing all the time. The number of new lenders, particularly in the specialist lending sector and the increasingly complex circumstances which customers were presenting, all add to the workload for brokers.
In starting Criteria Hub, our goal was to provide a facility where mortgage brokers could come with specific criteria questions and find the answers without the ever more time consuming task of individually checking each lender’s website or lengthy periods with their ear glued to a phone while they wait to get through to a helpdesk or busy BDM.
One of the unexpected results to come out of the launch of Criteria Hub has been the number of BDMs and lender staff, who actually refer to Criteria Hub when they need to look up criteria and as an easy way to check out competitors.
Car ‘satnav’ is now a well established technology and is relied on by a majority of drivers to find their way to unfamiliar destinations. In the same way, Criteria Hub provides an online proposition and, like satellite navigation, helps advisers who are trying to navigate the alternative routes to the lenders most likely to help their customers.
Jason Hegarty is director of Criteria Hub