Mortgage brokers have complained that staff working from home is negatively impacting the service level provided by lenders.
Complaints about service levels are not new, but brokers have expressed frustration that there has been no sign of improvement since the first Covid-19 lockdown when home working became more widespread.
“The frustrating thing is that service levels have been dreadful since the beginning of the pandemic. Lenders have had three years to get their house in order but have failed to do so,” said Mike Staton, director at Staton Mortgages.
Staton put it down to “profit over service” and described the service he has received from some lenders as “completely unacceptable”.
In one instance, Staton waited 28 days for an underwriter to pick up a case.
“It's hard to understand why lenders are happy to provide such a poor service, with increased volumes of applications and increased profit margins, they can easily afford to increase their workforce,” he said.
Another broker said in one incident with a high street lender, he was transferred between six different staff members.
“It’s a nightmare right now, dogs barking, delivery men turning up. It doesn’t work for what should be a call centre environment where you could ask a colleague for assistance,” he said.
He gave Barclays as another example and said he has experienced significant delays when using its live chat feature when trying to get a case update.
When he did finally get a response after waiting an hour, he was only given a two minute window to reply before he was pushed back into the queue and made to wait again.
When asked about these delays, a Barclays' spokesperson told FTAdviser that it is working hard to speed things up.
“We are currently receiving a high number of chat requests and calls into our mortgages team, which means it may take us longer than we’d like to respond. We would like to thank brokers and customers for their patience," the spokesperson said.
In June, FTAdviser also reported broker frustrations over lender service levels.
At the time, brokers described them as the “worst” they have known them to be in years but since then, the fallout from the ‘mini’ Budget has meant lenders and brokers are both under even more pressure.
Some brokers are so frustrated that they think a return to a full scale call centre environment is necessary.
RNR Mortgage Solutions director, Anil Mistry said: “Currently, when calling lenders for updates and/or criteria queries, we can spend in excess of one-hour waiting for someone to answer.”
“When you are a 'one-man band' brokerage this takes up a lot of time and, potentially, impacts the service you want to give to your clients.