Precise under fire over underwriting delays

Precise under fire over underwriting delays

Specialist lender Precise has come under fire from brokers who claim buy-to-let (BTL) underwriting delays are costing them clients and leaving them out of pocket.

The lender has been criticised for reaching a decision in principle (DIP) and requesting further information that then leads to the rejection of the case – even though this should have been apparent at the time of the DIP.

It has also been alleged that Precise takes five days or more to look at extra information submitted to support cases, meaning turnaround times are increased significantly.

But Precise defended its record and said that while there had been some small delays during the summer months, it was only slightly behind target.

Tony Silver, director at London-based White House Mortgages, told FTAdviser he was around £670 down on fees he could have charged as a result of the delays.

He said: “There is a serious problem with Precise. They take five working days to issue a piece of paper. 

“What a broker requires is a decision in principle that he can rely on. A DIP pass has to be a pass and a rejection has to be a rejection – but it has to be able to be challenged.”

Mr Silver said the problems had arisen because Precise’s five-year buy-to-let fixed rate deals are stress tested at the pay rate instead of 5.5 per cent, which means they are one of the few products that meet the needs of the London market.

He added that, as a result, they cannot cope with the extra business currently coming their way, and some of their underwriting staff do not have enough experience to handle cases properly.

He said: “They are taking on more business than they can cope with. They are a victim of their own success.”

Mossy Sowlat, director at London-based AA Mortgage Gateway, has also been experiencing delays with the lender.

He said: “It is roughly five to seven working days for a piece of information you send, and I was told yesterday it was four working days for them to look at any application submitted, and another four or five every time you send information.

“There has been a time that I had to phone up and say ‘has anyone looked at this case?’ and I then get a reply or a decision. Generally, they say they are very busy and the turnaround time is four days.”

Alan Cleary, managing director at Precise, said: “On our website we update service turnaround times each day. At present, we are processing applications within four days and getting to post in four days, so your broker’s comment about five days is pretty consistent with that.

“Ideally, we aim for a three-day turnaround, so we are a bit outside of that. The summer break does tend to cause a bit of disruption due to staff holidays and of course valuers and conveyancers tend to be a bit slower as well.