The Family Building Society (FBS) is looking to cut mortgage turnaround times as it seeks to build on record-breaking performance in 2016.
The Surrey-based lender, which often deals with complex cases, currently takes an average of 35 days to process a mortgage from application to offer due to its manual underwriting process.
In contrast, Leeds Building Society - a major player in the mortgage market - takes just eight working days to turn a mortgage around.
But executives at FBS told Financial Adviser they are making a number changes aimed at reducing the time it takes to issue an offer.
Keith Barber, associate director, business development at FBS, said: “We are looking at our use of systems and how we can improve those processes to cut time off, and we are adding people to the underwriting team. Time really matters to brokers and we are conscious of that.
“We are taking the mundane bits and automating them, or systematising them, or getting them done by a different team.”
“The more you can get electronically out of the broker up front, the better, and the more the broker can see where they are electronically, the better.
Chief executive Mark Bogard said only 25 per cent of cases the building society receives satisfy the minimum submission requirements, which leads to delays for customers.
“What we see is problems with more complex cases where the broker does not always send information at the first attempt. We may require more information,” he explained.
FBS also plans to add to its team of mobile underwriters, who are able to provide fast, expert advice to intermediaries.
Mr Bogard said: “If you have an underwriter in a broker’s office and there and then they can say in principle that is fine, it gives certainty and pace. The two things brokers want are certainty and pace.”
The lender achieved record lending figures last year, with £394m applications processed, up 2 per cent year-on-year, and £124m lent in net advances, up 66 per cent.
It has already experienced a strong start to 2017, with business volumes in quarter 1 exceeding expectations.
“We had more business in February than we would have had in six months a few years ago,” Mr Bogard commented.
Paul McKay, director at Homeloan Express in Fareham, said he had previously experienced delays with an equity release product from FBS but added they have since raised their game.
“In all fairness to them, they had just entered the equity release market at the time and it was all new stuff,” he explained. “They have now improved things considerably, and we get that with all lenders.”
He also welcomed FBS’ plans to boost the number of mobile underwriting staff.