‘World we now live in’: Brokers bemoan 11pm case submissions

‘World we now live in’: Brokers bemoan 11pm case submissions
Photo by Daniel Putzer: Pexels

With more and more lenders giving just a few hours' notice before they pull a mortgage rate or product, brokers are finding that submitting cases as late as 11pm on behalf of their clients is becoming the new norm.

On 11 April, Barclays emailed brokers just before 1pm informing them of 21 rate increases on its residential and remortgage ranges set to come into force by midnight that day.

Brokers sent screenshots to FTAdviser showing messages on Barclays’ broker portal saying ‘there is no online booking available at this time’ the day the changes were made. 

These messages led some brokers to think they had missed out on locking in rates for their clients. The bank has since said its daily limit for applications means some brokers would have had to book their case and submit it the following day.

Barclays emailed brokers today (April 13) telling them it has also pulled a selection of its two-year and five-year fixed rate products with immediate effect - without warning - due to “experiencing high demand”.

Though a spokesperson said: "In the event that the requested mortgage rate is withdrawn, the broker is able to continue to apply for the rate the following day, as we allow a further nine days’ grace period for a broker to submit an application on a withdrawn product, again ensuring their clients aren’t disadvantaged."

This is not, according to brokers, an unusual occurrence.

In recent months many other lenders have sent rate change and product withdrawal warnings to brokers just hours in advance, or issued no warning at all.

Natwest have sent two after 2pm in the past month. Nationwide sent one after 3pm on the same day as Barclays. And today, Clydesdale Bank sent brokers changes at 3pm with a deadline of 8pm.

“It is very short notice,” said Chris Sykes, “but that’s the world us brokers have been living in the past few months. I can’t think of a broker that hasn’t had to submit an application at 11 o’clock at night. It’s a tough time.”

Sykes said a lot of brokers simply “don’t have much of a work-life balance”. He explained: “There are a lot of brokers which make their own hours and aren’t just 9-5 or 7-7. Because it’s a job where you’re likely self-employed or commission-based, a lot of brokers work 50-60 hour weeks. If we want the business and to save clients money, we do it.”

In one instance, Sykes saved his clients £5,500 by filing a case late in the evening. At the time, one of them was giving birth while the other was rushing to gather the relevant papers to help him get the application in.

Sykes said he understood why lenders had to increase their rates in order to remain competitive, but the small windows often provided meant some brokers will inevitably miss the deadline for their clients.