MortgagesAug 2 2021

Broker campaigns for deaf-friendly mortgage advice

Search sponsored by
Broker campaigns for deaf-friendly mortgage advice
Photo by cottonbro from Pexels
ByRuby Hinchliffe

A mortgage broker is campaigning for more advisers to learn British Sign Language (BSL) in a bid to help more deaf and hard of hearing people secure mortgage advice.

Greenacre Financial Services, an appointed representative of broker network JLM Mortgage Services, is already home to an adviser trained in BSL - Matt Butler.

The firm intends to push the deaf-friendly mortgage advice service out to JLM’s other AR firms, by training staff in BSL and encouraging advisers to actively market to the deaf community. 

This could see Greenacre reach as many as 66 advisers which work under JLM’s AR firms.

Greenacre is concerned the deaf community has become “an underserved borrower demographic”. There are 11m people in the UK who are deaf or hard of hearing, according to the latest government statistics.

Comparatively, there are just 151,000 BSL users in the UK. This means for every 73 people who are deaf or hard of hearing, just one person knows sign language.

“Diversity and inclusion has taken on new meaning in the mortgage advice market, particularly over the course of the last few years,” said JLM’s mortgage finance head, Sebastian Murphy.

“I think we would all agree that we have potentially neglected the needs of these clients and we are fully behind Greenacre’s campaign to ensure more people receive the advice they are entitled to. 

“We’ll be sharing this with all JLM AR firms and would hope it acts as a catalyst for other advisory firms to offer similar services.”

There are a handful of advice firms and individuals outside JLM’s network which already advertise accessible mortgage advice to the deaf and hard of hearing demographic.

These include Northampton-based Plus Financial Solutions, Brighton & Hove-based Money Advice Plus, and individuals through advice search tool cherryFind.

Greenacre’s services include mortgage and protection advice. Its managing director, Greg Stanworth, has observed the firm’s BSL advice specialist Butler sign these services to clients. 

Stanworth said clients were “happy and relieved” to be able to discuss their mortgage needs with someone able to sign. He added: “We would urge other firms to look at what they might do in this area.”

JLM houses 89 advisers in total. The privately owned network’s advisers cover protection and wealth management, as well as mortgages.