In Focus: Vulnerability  

Ongoing support for mortgage clients in 2021

This article is part of
In Focus: How Covid has left the mortgage market exposed

Ongoing support for mortgage clients in 2021
Andrea Piacquadio via Pexels

Given the vulnerability that exists among all clients in the housing market as a result of the pandemic, what more can the mortgage industry do to help support customers?

Simon Furnell, chief operating officer for Masthaven Bank, says: "It's important that lenders draw upon the lessons learned in 2020 to continue to support borrowers, brokers and the market.

"A willingness to develop new ways of working, adopt new technology and innovate will continue to be vital."

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He places great store by the way in which technology was adopted and adapted in 2020 to help the market, and calls on the industry to keep innovating.

Mr Furnell adds: "Lenders should keep evaluating their current processes and [keep] considering where technology can create efficiencies and provide the kind of tailored solutions required by borrowers in this intensely challenging environment."

There has also been positive progress over the past 10 months, with many mortgage lenders working hard to liaise with brokers and likewise to make sure clients are not caught up or caught out by the ever-changing market movements.

And more higher LTV products are being put back on the metaphorical shelves, albeit some are limited-time offers.

But, as Rob Griffiths, director of the Mortgage Market Alliance, says: "There is further good news in terms of the availability of mortgage products right across the piece and the appetite of lenders to support borrowers – whether they are first-time buyers, the self-employed, those with complex income needs, later life customers, landlords, and many more."

Martin Stewart, founder of London Money, is confident in the ability of brokers to help guide clients through, whether these are buy-to-let or residential clients. 

He comments: "This will be second nature for good, experienced and diligent brokers who survived the credit crunch. A large part of this job involves counselling as much as it does advising.

"They would have been the first to temper their clients enthusiasm for taking a payment holiday while also helping clients understand what options are available to them.

"Our general stance is to get on the front with lenders and have early dialogue with them, should consumers feel as though they might be struggling with affordability. There is no point hiding heads in sand."

David Thomas, chairman of the Society of Mortgage Professionals and joint managing partner of Chadney Bulgin, also has praise for his peers and for lenders: “Lenders and brokers have responded very well to the pandemic.

"Like most of us, they had to move most of their staff to home working (most of us know what challenges this brings) very quickly, while dealing with staff absences or sickness, together with the implementation of the payment holiday system and rather unexpectedly, a booming housing market.

"Service has inevitably suffered and the temporary boom in housing transactions caught us all out."