Mr McKinlay said: “Every single case is manually underwritten by an underwriter. We can take the time to look at the customer’s circumstances rather than what comes through on the automated system. And if we have any problems we can talk to the broker who talks to the customer, so we take the time to really look at the customer to see where there are blips to work out if it is a pattern or a one-off.”
The technology that Kensington uses is more at the front end to help brokers input data. But the final decision on whether to approve the mortgage will always lie with the underwriter.
Mr McKinlay also has aspirations for Kensington to become a leader in specialist lending. The firm has made a number of moves in this direction, including increasing its back-office and underwriting capability. It has also expanded its telephone development teams and field officers, who meet with brokers face-to-face to talk about their businesses and market issues.
The director has found the biggest challenges facing mortgage intermediaries are the stricter rules in the buy-to-let sector and on the residential side – the difficulty that many face when trying to find a lender that will accept a customer who does not fit the criteria.
Another area are the challenges first-time buyers have experienced in recent years. In the 2017 Autumn Budget, the government revealed plans to help first-time buyers by abolishing stamp duty on the first £300,000.
But Mr McKinlay said the government needs to do more to get the market moving at the upper end of the housing ladder, for those looking to move home.
He added: “The market is really healthy, which means more competition for us. But we all need to raise our game and come up with really good customer propositions.”
Ima Jackson-Obot is a features writer at Financial Adviser
Craig McKinlay's career highlights:
October 2017 – Present: Sales and marketing director, Northview Group
2016 – 2017: Commercial and channels director, Lloyds Banking Group
2012 – 2016: New mortgage business director, Lloyds Banking Group
2010 – 2012: Director of marketing, Homeserve
2005 – 2010: Head of sales and marketing, RAC