Advisers' favourite lenders revealed

Advisers' favourite lenders revealed

Virgin Money and Coventry Building Society have topped the rankings of a broker survey of lenders, with building societies outperforming banks in overall satisfaction among intermediaries.  

‘The Mortgage Lender Benchmark’ was released by financial research company Smart Money People this week, surveying 391 brokers on the service and products of the last three lenders with which they dealt.

In 1,173 pieces of feedback received on 79 lenders, Virgin Money and Coventry Building Society rated the UK’s best bank and building society with an overall satisfaction rating of 93.3 per cent and 89.6 per cent respectively. 

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Brokers reported to be most satisfied with the service offered by building societies in the market, with business development managers and the underwriting process scoring particularly well for these types of lenders. 

The research found intermediaries to be largely satisfied with mortgage lenders, with an average satisfaction rate of 82 per cent - specialist lenders in particular excelled in their product offerings and lending practices. 

Despite the majority of high street banks performing well in the survey, Barclays and Metro Bank were notable exceptions and featured among the poorest rated large lenders with a satisfaction rating of 66.9 per cent and 71 per cent respectively. 

One survey respondent said they would not recommend Barclays as a lender because of poor customer service: "When we have had to call for assistance, calls have been over 40 minutes on the last two occasions." 

Barclays has been approached for comment.

Lifetime lenders were also found to be wanting in their lending process, with valuations, underwriting and ease of application raised as key areas of dissatisfaction among brokers. 

Mike Fotis, founder of Smart Money People, said: "Brokers told us clearly that frustrations with lenders’ underwriting, customer service, speed to completion and clarity of criteria rankled them most.

"It will be interesting to see if lenders at the bottom of our league table are able to improve when we repeat the survey again in 2019."

Daniel White, managing director at White Financial Services, said smaller lenders could be in with a chance of competing with bigger banks on broker satisfaction. 

He said: "Advising on the most cost effective rate doesn’t necessarily determine the lender and brokers will always look at current service levels when recommending lenders." 

Mr White stressed broker reputations are not only based on the advice they give but also the service they provide.

He said: "Unfortunately, a market leading provider may have longer processing times than some of its competitors and as a result may in turn have a detrimental impact on the relationship between the broker and the client, especially if a client is facing a sensitive time restraint on a purchase."   

Mr White said building societies also seemed to have more flexibility and a "common sense" approach in comparison to banks.

He said: "This enables the broker to supply supporting information which may help achieve a much better outcome for the client, where a computer may have effectively said ‘no’ without actually reviewing the case.