Let’s not beat around the bush here, it’s been a torrid period for lenders. However, as is often par for the course, there are always those who excel in the face of adversity and then there are others who fail to rise to the occasion when the pressure is on.
I’m sure that if you ask 100 brokers about their experiences over the past three months then you will get many different answers – mixed with a few expletives and a few platitudes along the way. I also imagine that a few common names will emerge on the naughty and nice list, although a negative perception certainly seems to outweigh a positive one in the memory banks of many brokers. Memories that tend to last a long time.
This discontent was evident in the latest edition of Smart Money People’s Mortgage Lender Benchmark which highlighted that broker satisfaction with UK mortgage lenders fell to the lowest level recorded outside of the pandemic. In H2, overall dissatisfaction levels were down 1.9% to 79.3%, falling below 80% for the first time since H2 2020 (77.8%).
Building societies were the top-rated sector for broker satisfaction for a ninth time, but specialist lenders broke their streak of improvement, with overall satisfaction down by 5.5% compared to H1 2022. Broker ratings for lifetime lenders saw the smallest change with overall satisfaction down by 1.1%.
Overall, the Net Promoter Score (NPS) – a reflection of how likely brokers are to recommend a lender – decreased by 5.8 to +21.1, the second-lowest score recorded in the history of the Benchmark. The research also found that brokers are struggling to keep up to date with rapidly changing criteria and rates, with 43% relying on emails to keep updated with changes.
At this juncture, it’s important to point out that satisfaction can mean different things to different people. Lenders have not had it easy, largely through no fault of their own, and there are some extenuating circumstances to take into account. But, and this is a big but, if we are talking about lenders not honouring offers, pulling products with next to no notice period and not communicating properly with their intermediary partners then this dissatisfaction is fair. On the flip side, if some brokers are not satisfied with service levels after submitting a poorly packaged application then some of the displeasure might not be so just.
This final point also comes with some caveats. Some poorly packaged applications may have been induced by severe time restrictions in the hope of securing clients a rate which was quickly disappearing. Sudden shifts in borrowing requirements and additional market complexity also led to more brokers engaging with specialist lenders or alternative forms of finance where products, criteria and policies were less familiar.
So, how can brokers overcome this dissatisfaction?
The analysis found that brokers are craving some stability within the market, and that they need to be able to rely on and have confidence in lenders. Stability and confidence comes in many forms but one way for brokers to overcome dissatisfaction – especially in the more complex, specialist cases – is to work with a trusted packaging partner to help deliver these important sentiments.
A good, packaging partner will do all the heavy lifting and has the ability to understand exactly what a variety of lenders are looking for and how best to present often complicated borrowing scenarios to them. Therefore ensuring that time and frustrations are taken out of the hands of brokers and a wider array of client requirements are fully satisfied.
Donna Wells, Director at Envelop