Intermediated borrowing – Long live the broker market!

Jonathan Moore is head of credit at Dudley building Society.

It is estimated that over 70% of UK mortgage business comes to lenders via intermediaries. Of course, many lenders would prefer for customers to come to them directly but the UK consumer is a lot more savvy these days than to fall for a one provider solution.

We are so passionate about the right outcome for a customer that we believe that the right approach is to be fully intermediated.

We believe that the best solution for any would be mortgage borrower, whether purchasing or remortgaging, is to make use of the service that every regulated adviser has to offer – by using technology that provides results from a broad range of lenders the only source of unbiased advice is the professional intermediary. Why anybody would simply accept the mortgage offered by their bank or building society straight off is a mystery when there are so many alternatives to explore?

As a consumer, although I can use the internet to scope out deals, there is still no substitute for having an expert using his or her expertise and knowledge of the market to find the most suitable option. An hour with a professional adviser can be time well spent. The more complicated the background the better it is to use a human broker than an intelligent piece of technology, whose coded parameters could never be a substitute for an individual’s experience in knowing which lenders are more likely to treat the client’s circumstances in the round.

Good brokers know which lenders are best to approach when clients have particular requirements and the need is for underwriters who can go beyond the basics and look at the whole case and the back story that every client has.  The best advice for a complex case can only be given when discussions go beyond a product and adviser has a true understanding of both the product range and the criteria of a lender.  Treating customers as individuals is a natural extension in my mind, to the maxim of treating customers fairly. Too many underwriting decisions are now being taken by remote control via scoring systems and they are just able to cope with the demands of today’s changing life choices.

For example, looking at a variety of clients from the self-employed, those with more than one source of income, customers that have chosen a building of alternative construction or borrowers that make a positive choice to borrow into later life, all of them do not fit neatly into a computer programme.

We believe that relationships continue to be the key – whether it be our relationship with the partners on our panel or supporting the relationships between an adviser and their client by providing bespoke solutions relevant to the needs of a modern day borrower.