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LSL Financial Services
Brokers need to increase awareness of housing schemes – Accord Mortgages
Speaking on Accord Mortgages Growth Series podcast, Craig Hall, director of new homes at LSL Financial Services said more needed to be done to raise awareness schemes to help more people on to the property ladder.
He said this was crucial to fill the gap left by the ending of the Help to Buy scheme, which closes for applications in October and is set to end in March next year.
Help to Buy was launched in 2013 and allowed those using the scheme to purchase a new-build home with a deposit of five per cent.
Last year, the scheme was restricted to first-time buyers and price caps based on property values worth 1.5 times the regional first-time buyer price were introduced.
Help to Buy sales between October and December last year halved year-on-year with 8,913 completions.
Hall said: “I don’t believe first-time buyers are aware of alternative schemes. There’s a lot of work to be done to really help navigate that with consumers, brokers need to be engaging with lenders, networks, clubs and business development managers (BDM). Doing so provides a great opportunity for them to really demonstrate their knowledge to clients to help find the right solution.”
Examples of schemes include shared ownership, Deposit Unlock, First Homes Scheme and the Mortgage Guarantee scheme.
He added that despite recent increases the bank rate was still historically low, but said it would create a different landscape as borrowers’ fixed rate deals came to an end.
He said: “Advice will be key for supporting first-time buyers and those moving – looking at a range of options and what’s affordable – but also in terms of helping people to keep their homes too.
“What happens when fixed rates finish? Having a real plan around customer contact strategies will be fundamental to helping clients as they feel the pinch.”
The podcast is out today and available to listen at https://info.accordmortgages.com/growth-series-podcasts
Brokers can sign up to receive the Growth Series material for free at https://info.accordmortgages.com/growth-series
Source: Mortgage Solutions
Santander For Intermediaries
Important update on mortgage offer extensions and service levels
We’ve been experiencing a high volume of mortgage applications recently, which means that our time to offer is likely to increase. We value your business and want to help you manage this with your clients.
Mortgage offer extensions:
Remortgage and purchase clients have been automatically granted a temporary mortgage offer extension as follows:
- A one-month maximum extension, however the case must complete by 31 January 2023 subject to a satisfactory valuation (excludes Mortgage Guarantee Scheme products which must complete by 30 November 2022)
- The offer extension will be based on the offer expiry date
- Our solicitor panel has been made aware of this extension on Lender Exchange
- There is no need to apply for or contact us about this one-month extension
Updated service levels web page
Before calling us, please visit our service levels page regularly to find out the progress of applications. We update this daily. We now include helpful tips at each stage of the application to help reduce delays. Please note that our average offer time is based on last week’s offers issued and this is likely to increase temporarily.
Remember you’ll get a quicker response with SFI Live Chat for your new business and existing application queries. We’ve temporarily extended our Live Chat hours until 6pm on weekdays. If you need to call us, our busiest periods are 12-2pm and 4-5pm.
Pensions and Protection On Line Service
Royal London will be carrying out some maintenance to their Pensions and Protection On Line Service website on Sunday 24 July.
Please note that online service will be unavailable from 10pm on Saturday 23 July and all day on Sunday 24 July.
Advisers will be unable to produce quotes etc. during this period. You may wish to communicate this to your members.
If you have any queries regarding the above please do not hesitate to contact them.
NEW MORTGAGE ADDITIONAL BORROWING PRODUCT LAUNCHED TO SUPPORT CUSTOMERS WITH GREEN HOME IMPROVEMENTS
- Green Additional borrowing is supported by The Bank’s ‘Energy Saving Improvement Tool’, developed in partnership with Energy Saving Trust, to help consumers find ways to save money on their energy bills and become more sustainable.
- Despite the rising cost of living and rocketing energy prices 59 per cent of UK consumers feel that it is still important to invest in green energy solutions to tackle climate change.
- The Co-operative Bank supports The Climate & Ecology Bill – calling for stronger, joined-up legislation to tackle the climate-nature emergency
Recent research** for the Bank carried out in the midst of immense pressures on household incomes, showed that more than 30 million (59 per cent) people believe it is still important to invest in green energy solutions to tackle climate change even if the Green Levy adds to the cost of household energy bills. This shows environmentally conscious consumers are prepared to pay the price to help thwart the climate emergency.
With the best ESG score of any UK high street bank**** The Co-operative Bank is proud to support the Zero Hour campaign and back The Climate and Ecology Bill, which recently had its first reading in the House of Lords. The campaign for the Climate and Ecology Bill launched with its first introduction in Parliament in September 2020. Zero Hour is a mass mobilisation campaign and has the backing of 151 cross-party MPs and Peers, over 200 councils have passed motions in support of the Bill, 25,000 members of the public have signed up to the campaign and over 450 businesses, community groups and NGOs support the Bill.
More of the Bank’s future-focused commitments can be found in its new Ethical Policy here.
Legal & General
Introducing your new Adviser Protection website
As part of our ongoing purpose to support the work of advisers, we set a goal of redesigning and rewriting your adviser protection site, to bring you the information you need, where you need it – with the aim of making your day-to-day work and job easier
Our research was a crucial step to understanding any gaps or shortcomings in the existing site, and how to improve our offering.
How we turned the feedback into upgrades
- Improved, streamlined navigation – we ensured that the new navigation reflected all the top tasks and journeys advisers typically go through. The main things we focused on were creating minimal steps to obtain the information needed, clear signposting throughout the site and thoughtful next steps in the user journey.
- Joined up content – our aim was to group them in a more logical way, and we’ve worked with advisers to ensure these new groupings make sense.
- Enhanced toolkit area – we’ve created a new area that brings these together. Now you’ll find areas such as Tools and calculators, BDM support and Claims all in one place.
- Concise information – so that you can swiftly reach the information you need, we’ve made everything simpler and easier to understand.
- Adding key documents – we thought about the documents you might need to support the web pages you visit, and as a result we’ve included relevant key documents on almost all pages.
We are also pleased to introduce you to our Pre-sale Underwriting Team (previously known as M.U.T.A.L). Our enhanced pages provide you with easier access to our Pre-sale Underwriters, online tools and a new pre-submission form, helping you attain your indication of terms
Skipton For Intermediaries
Service Levels & tips to ensure your application gets processed
Whoever would have thought the property market could remain this buoyant post-pandemic. It appears the fearmongering was unfounded, and the market didn’t collapse after all!
The knock-on effect of a buoyant market is having a significant impact on a variety of sectors in the chain, not least lenders. When we launched Intermediar-ease this year, it was to remain open and transparent about service. To that end, I am writing to you to let you know of the impact you are seeing on our service levels.
Whilst we are not dissimilar to other lenders, it does not sit well with us that we are not able to provide the service at the standard we had set ourselves. I know this can be frustrating for you, and for your clients. Whilst most of the situation is out of our control, we are actively working to reduce our service times with actions that we can control.
You can read more about our current service levels, what we’re doing to improve them, and helpful tips to ensure your application gets processed as quickly as possible on our website.
Your business and commitment to Saffron is really appreciated, and rest assured we will return to our typical service levels as soon as we can and thank you for your patience at this time.
LAUNCH ADVISER HUB UPDATES
Paymentshield have introduced some new and exciting features within their unique Adviser Hub platform, all of which are live from Wednesday 13th July.
Home insurance quotes now valid for 180 days
With a volatile mortgage market which is seeing frequent rate changes and lengthy delays in chains, delivering an extended quote validity period of 180 days to support advisers has been a key focus. Thanks to this change, you and your client can now have more confidence in the quote process and that the price will still be the same price when they come to exchange. Plus, this enhancement also means advisers who provide a quote for their clients early in the sales process are not penalised by the quote expiring before the mortgage completes.
Paymentshield’s current quotability stands at over 99% which is achieved through asking the right questions that drive the best price for every customer. Hopefully this new validity will enable advisers to quickly turn more of those quotes into protected homes.
Easily requote expired pending policies
Should a pending policy still not be on risk 180 days after the quote was provided you can now provide a new quote for the client at the click of a button, with no need to rekey their information. Simply open the expired quote on Adviser Hub and check the client’s information is still up to date then click to get to get an updated quote for your customer.
This enhancement provides peace of mind that even if a quote does expire you won’t lose time and of course once you’re ready to put a pending policy on risk, you can add any missing information (such as the start date) and put it on risk directly from Adviser Hub, without the need to call us.
Policy review flag
Our new policy review flag will be visible next to live policies in the My GI Book section that have been in place for 8, 9 and 10 years and therefore might need a review to ensure the policy still meets the client’s needs. A yellow flag (for policies 8 or 9 years old) or red flag (for policies 10 years old) will show up next to the relevant policies making it easier to identify those clients who could benefit from your support.
This feature within Adviser Hub, which was the first GI platform in the intermediary market to give advisers the insight to proactively manage their client base and GI performance, is intended to encourage conversations with those clients that have not had their insurance reviewed for a long time and help ensure positive customer outcomes.
Regularly reviewing clients’ policies not only ensures their insurance will continue to meet their needs if their circumstances change over time but can also improve customer relationships and increase client loyalty. Having a conversation with a client about GI also provides an opportunity to discuss any additional financial requirements or products that may be relevant to them.
Case study: From development to development exit
Watts Commercial Finance
We Start Where You Stop
By Mark Heywood, Senior Commercial Manager
There are many examples where Watts Commercial can assist with your clients’ property investment funding.
Often BTL lenders will not lend on properties close to commercial: so town centre locations can be a challenge.
Semi-commercial, pure commercial, as well as large multi-units can also be difficult to place.
Landlord experience is sometimes a requirement too and the client’s length of employment may not meet the BTL lender’s stringent criteria.
The client’s income can also prove problematic if they don’t meet the BTL lender’s minimum threshold: they may also have complex or multiple sources of income.
Some residential lenders may not have an appetite for certain tenants: i.e. students or individuals who would be deemed vulnerable.
You will be pleased to know that the ‘six month rule’ does not exist in our world. Your client can refinance at any point, enabling them to recoup their initial expenditure and/or refinance from more expensive, short-term funding.
Many BTL funders have limitations, in monetary terms or number of mortgages they will offer one applicant. This can prove onerous for landlords who are growing their portfolio. The commercial banks do not have such caps, which can give comfort and confidence to a professional landlord.
And finally rather than relying on computer driven credit- scored application process, the commercial banks’ decisions are made by experienced underwriters, this can often result in a more favourable outcome for the client.
Here at Watts Commercial we can assist you and your clients with all of the above plus lots more, as the headline says, “We start, where you stop!”
So next time you have a tricky investment property deal to place and you can’t find a home for it, Watts the answer!
Get in touch! Call us today on 03303 110777 or email email@example.com to see how we can help you and your clients find the right home for those difficult cases.
Introduce Your Difficult & Time Consuming Cases
This process is often arduous and frustrating but importantly it’s a distraction from other cases, which you find more fulfilling and profitable. Even if you end up placing the case, the processing is difficult. The bottom line is, that these cases are, at best, inefficient use of your time, and, at worst, a complete waste of your time which ends with an unhappy customer and zero income.
Why take on the aggravation, when you can earn half the proc fee and half your completion fee, and we do all the work. We will liaise with the customer directly, offering research, placement, and advice.
- Directly provide advice, recommend a product, and manage case compliance
- Research mortgage availability and enhance case presentation
- Issue mortgage illustration to client
- Submit application in principle with a lender
- Prepare document request list and check case fits lenders’ criteria
- Instruct valuations and collect completion fees
Please see all Three Tiers of Service, which are designed to help you research, place, and process difficult or time-consuming cases. Get in touch to see how we can help.
Residential packaging guide
In the current climate, we’re seeing an increase in specialist cases. To help assist advisers place a case successfully, Kensington has created the attached residential packaging guide.
Here you would find a handy check list so you know what documents they WILL require as well as documents they MAY require for a residential mortgage application.
Mansfield Building Society
Regulated ‘Family’ BTL
FCA Regulated ‘Family’ Buy to Let is where the property is let to a close relative.
Our individual underwriting approach can also accept earned income or other personal wealth for the affordability assessment, because when it comes to family, rental income isn’t the only consideration. We have two case studies that show how we’ve been flexible to help:
- A mother gives her daughter and grandson independence
- A son helps to give his mum a healthy lifestyle
When using earned income or personal wealth (Top Slicing), rental income must be at least 100% of the monthly mortgage payment calculated at pay rate. Top Slicing is subject to product availability.
Our Buy to Let range for intermediaries includes Holiday Lets, Expat Buy to Let, Consumer Buy to Let and now Limited Company Buy to Let.
For more information about our products and services, including our affordability calculator and applying through our online portal, visit our website here.
Leeds Building Society
improved affordability on new build properties
Enhanced affordability for mortgages on the most energy-efficient new homes is the latest initiative by Leeds Building Society to benefit buyers of greener homes.
The Society is now able to use more detailed data about projected fuel bill savings for new build homes with an A or B EPC[i] rating, enabling customers to borrow more than on an equivalent, less energy efficient property[ii].
“Through purchasing energy-efficient new build homes, customers are not only helping the environment but realising the benefit of lower fuel bills at a time when everyone is affected by the rising cost of living,” said Martese Carton, Leeds Building Society’s Director of Mortgage Distribution.
“Our improved affordability assessment for this type of property demonstrates the potential savings on energy bills where properties are A or B EPC rated, and what this can mean to a household’s outgoings, such as mortgage repayments.
“This is the first step for us in refining our affordability assessments in this way, as we seek to make greater use of this kind of very detailed data to bring home ownership within reach of more people while continuing to lend responsibly.”
The move was welcomed by Barratt Homes. Adrian MacDiarmid, Head of Mortgages at the country’s largest developer, said: “New homes are built to high energy efficient standards so it makes sense that the savings on bills are reflected in affordability. We put great store in this with 99% of the homes we build either A or B rated.
“There is an increasingly compelling case for lenders to offer support in this way to the growing number of customers who want to buy an energy efficient home.”
This latest innovation is part of work by Leeds Building Society as it develops new ways to support its members in reducing their carbon footprint. Housing is responsible for 16% of the UK’s total emissions[iii].
Last year, the Society introduced green mortgage deals offering preferential rates and cashback deals for the most energy-efficient homes, as part of its efforts to link its products with positive environmental impact.
The mutual was also the first UK lender to offer a carbon neutral mortgage, where it offset the forecast environmental impact of each home[iv] during the initial fixed term of the mortgage. This benefit was offered on a trial basis on all its 95% LTV (loan to value) mortgages for purchase, regardless of EPC rating.
[i] EPC = Energy Performance Certificate
[ii] For illustrative purposes: a customer seeking a mortgage up to 95% LTV (loan to value) against the share of a new build shared ownership property valued at £195,000 could borrow £185k versus £181k on a non-new build property
[iii] Source: 2020 UK Greenhouse Gas Emissions, final figures (publishing.service.gov.uk)
[iv] To offset the amount of carbon produced by heating/lighting/power usage by a typical Leeds Building Society property calculated at 4.2 tonnes of carbon per annum
Help your clients self or custom build with just a 5% deposit
If your client’s homebuilding dreams are on hold because they don’t believe they have enough cash of their own or are worried about monthly costs, the Help to Build Equity Loan scheme may be the solution they need.
Help to Build provides the self or custom builder with a mortgage of up to 95% of their land and build costs – meaning they only need to find 5% of their project costs themselves.
The Help to Build Equity Loan of up to 20% of their approved land and build costs (40% in London) reduces the monthly payments. The equity loan is interest-free for the first 5 years, making the monthly payments more affordable for your clients.
We’ve created two handy guides explaining the Help to Build Equity Loan Scheme for you and your clients, which you can download below.
We have a wide range of exclusive products designed specifically for self and custom builders. Our broker desk consultants can help you with any additional questions about the Help the Build scheme and let you know if there are any other products which have the features your clients need to make their build a success.
Call 0345 223 4447 or CLICK HERE
We understand in the current environment that intermediaries such as yourself are feeling the pressures of the volatile market and extended service times, but we can assure you our teams are working hard to assess and complete all cases as quickly as possible.
Our service times are updated daily and are available on our Intermediary Website enabling you to update your customers and align their expectations. Our helpdesk call waiting time has increased from two minutes to five minutes but we are working hard to reduce it back down, providing you direct access to a member of our team. In addition, our friendly BDMs are also on hand if you want to talk through a new application or discuss a case update – find your local BDM.
To ensure all applications are turned around as quickly as possible, we would suggest uploading all the documents, if possible, at the time of submission, allowing our underwriting team to fully assess the application and move forward to valuation. You can find details of what we need on our Packaging Guide.
We thank you for your continued support.
CPD opportunities on demand
If you missed our live income protection webinar – don’t worry! You’re now able to watch this on demand at a time that suits you.
Jamie Page, Head of Strategic Partnerships, turns up the volume on income protection by looking at:
- Current opportunities and potential client segments to approach
- Common barriers to selling income protection
- Objection handling
- How we can support your conversations.