A mortgage broker has criticised challenger bank Aldermore after it was found to have contacted his client directly, rather than following the intermediary channel.
Donald MacKay, director at Mortgage Information Centre, said the lender effectively cut him out of a mortgage application process when it contacted his client directly about a query on the application.
Mr MacKay, who occasionally brings cases to Aldermore because of the bank's flexible lending criteria and approach to clients with adverse credit history, said the incident happened after two phone calls with an underwriter at Aldermore.
He received an email requesting confirmation of his client’s living circumstances - specifically whether his children still lived at his property - and after failing to reply to the email within 20 minutes, Aldermore phoned his client directly to ask the same question - a process, he said, had taken his client by surprise.
He said: "The underwriter did not give me a reasonable chance to reply to the email - the idea that the lender is so easily phoning the client and cutting us out of the process is not good news for brokers."
After complaining to the lender, he said: "No one at Aldermore seemed to think it was odd or strange - the business development manager quite openly admitted that was their policy."
When approached by FTAdviser, an Aldermore spokesperson said: "We work very closely with our brokers when underwriting and processing cases to ensure that applicants receive a high quality service throughout.
"What is really important to achieve a smooth process for the customer and broker is receiving accurately packaged applications, as this means we will have all the information required to appropriately assess the case."
The spokesperson said Aldermore's standard practice would always be to go through the broker if any additional information was required.
He said: "However, in exceptional circumstances we may contact a customer direct to ensure we have the accurate information we need to assess the case and ensure it meets the criteria and the terms we are able to offer the customer.
"Our priority is great customer service and our partnership with brokers is key to that - we are sorry that on this occasion the broker in question appears unhappy, but our intention was always to service his customer effectively and efficiently."
Martin Stewart, founder at London Money, was doubtful lenders had the resources to make client contact a regular part of the mortgage process.
He said: "For lenders to begin contacting clients directly would be news to me and, I suspect, many others.
"It may be that the underwriter was innocently trying to speed the case to offer and took initiative to contact the client directly as opposed to waiting for the broker to respond."