‘Getting mortgage approval is like going to the dentist’

Andrew Morgan, director of Manchester-based Now Financial Solutions, said the statistics published by Royal Bank of Scotland and NatWest as part of its We Say Yes campaign were “startling” given his struggle to transact mortgages successfully across the market.

Mr Morgan said that, in general, banks “across the board” were not helpful with mortgage inquiries, particularly for self-employed clients.

He added: “I believe that RBS and NatWest only approve nine out of 10 people subject to strict criteria. I would compare trying to get a mortgage approval from a bank with going to the dentist: you have to go through a lot of pain and it is not a pleasant experience.”

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Mr Morgan said building societies were eclipsing banks by showing more willingness to lend. He added: “It’s very easy for the banks to agree to lend in principle but the decision is only taken if the borrower can verify his income and have a sufficient deposit level.”

A spokesman for RBS Group said the approval figures covered its direct market, and admitted the figures “could well be different” for the banks’ intermediary channels.

He said: “Our nine out of 10 acceptance rate is based on a full, formal mortgage application and not the agreement in principle. Whenever we decline an application we make sure the customer understands the reasons behind the decision and the steps they can take to improve their ability to secure an acceptance in the future.”

A spokesman added that the banks had no plans to publish approval rates for mortgages handled through intermediaries, but he did not dismiss the possibility.

Adviser comment
Stephen Lee, director of Liverpool-based Alpha Financial Management, said: “I agree that this could well be marketing spin. It appears that this refers to pre-approved ‘good’ borrowers who’ve passed the various tests. I’ve had to jump through so many hoops to get mortgages approved for people who easily fulfil the income and deposit criteria.”