MortgagesDec 24 2015

Halifax admits bumps in the road to better broker service

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Halifax admits bumps in the road to better broker service

Halifax has admitted “disappointing and frustrating challenges with phone queues” as it rolled out a streamlined proposition for brokers this year.

In an end-of-year round-up piece for FTAdviser, Lloyds Banking Group’s managing director for intermediaries and specialist brands Mike Jones stated that with new sales lower than in 2014, this year was one of buy-to-let, remortgaging, further advances and product transfers.

“With further regulation on the horizon, brokers face enough pressures without taking away income streams, so one of our key aims has been to make it even easier for intermediaries to process product transfers and further advances.

“As we moved through the year, it became clear service was the major differentiating factor between lenders,” he continued, explaining that at Halifax, BM Solutions and Scottish Widows Bank embraced this challenge by rolled out a streamlined proposition to brokers.

“Designed to reduce the amount of time it takes from mortgage application to completion, improvements included a dedicated point of contact, improving call handling, and accepting supporting documents by email.

“We’ve had disappointing and frustrating challenges with phone queues along the way and I’m grateful for your patience while we fixed these,” stated Mr Jones.

The wider housing market continued along the road to recovery in 2015, but, as ever, it’s not been a straightforward journey.

Mr Jones said that in the year after the Mortgage Market Review, the market proved again it could quickly get used to the new ways of working, although new challenges remain.

“It seems we are never too far away from the next set of regulation and in March 2016 we will see the implementation of the Mortgage Credit Directive.

“For the market, it won’t mean a major change like the MMR but there is much to do behind the scenes to implement the changes necessary to comply within the appropriate timeframes.”

He said that next year, the lender expects that, despite the positive impact of schemes like help-to-buy, the prospects of a rate rise and the stretch to take that first step onto the housing ladder, will start to put the brakes on house price growth during 2016.

“Our priority will remain to provide great products and services for our customers whilst meeting the requirements of MCD,” added Mr Jones.