Mortgage brokers have flagged problems with staff knowledge at lenders around products and their criteria.
According to Dominik Lipnicki, director at Your Mortgage Decisions, advisers “all too often” had to “explain the obvious” when speaking with lenders.
Mr Lipnicki said: “We would not expect lenders’ staff to be mortgage experts but basic product knowledge is surely a minimum.”
An October survey by Smart Money People found that brokers complained about staff who lacked knowledge, sometimes of their own lending policy, which the business said may be symptomatic of more frequent product and policy changes in the second half of the year.
Aly Kassam, director at Easier Finances, said before the pandemic “getting through to the right person would have involved being passed around a few times, but you would get there in the end.”
He added: “Often, we could speak directly to an underwriter to get a ‘view’ on something complex.”
But Mr Kassam recounted difficulties in being put through to staff who were qualified to answer a query since the pandemic and the prevalence of home working.
He said: “We are told ‘we’ll pass it on and someone will be in touch’, but can be waiting days for a response.”
Mr Kassam said service levels had become even more important as some mainstream lenders were now taking up to a month to give an initial response on lending.
He continued: “When you are unable to get an indication of whether a case will be accepted by speaking to someone knowledgeable, you are chasing service rather than a rate.”
Chris Sykes, mortgage consultant at Private Finance said it could sometimes be “very difficult” to get a straight answer, particularly if a case has “many quirks”.
He added: “The individual at a lender that you deal with can determine the advice a broker gives their client so it is important a broker understands the criteria and is sometimes double checking also if they feel the case should fit but is told it doesn’t.”
Highlighting the role of business development managers, Mr Sykes said: “[They] are very experienced generally and will get to the bottom of any issues.”
Rachel McKay, director at DST Financial Services, commented: “A good BDM is a magnificent beast, but again if the BDM is inexperienced you are back to square one.”
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