Kati Tyler is commercial director at HML
The past three months since the Mortgage Market Review came in on April 26th have certainly flown.
All of that preparing to get systems, processes and people ready for the important change to regulation will no doubt seem, for some, a distant memory – although many of you may disagree!
Positive borrower feedback
HML’s subsidiary Specialist Mortgage Services has handled a high volume of calls from our clients’ customers who want mortgage advice, demonstrating the importance of regulated advice in the post-MMR world.
Indeed, we believe there is a high level of borrower understanding about the value of the MMR. In some cases, we have declined borrower contract variation requests due to various concerns, but feedback remains positive, reflecting how our clients’ customers realise the importance of ensuring their mortgage is affordable and right for their needs.
Another positive result we have experienced following the introduction of the MMR is that borrowers are more than willing to share the requisite data so we can assess affordability.
Engagement with our clients’ customers is good, so hopefully this is an indicator that despite the dramatic media headlines, the task of making changes to a mortgage isn’t as onerous as perhaps people think.
Provision of mortgage advice through SMS regarding contract variations has provided us with an opportunity to help borrowers with many aspects of their mortgage. This has especially been experienced for accounts nearing the end of term, and for interest-only customers who have no repayment strategy in place. Indeed, these cases could well prove to be the largest proportion of advised cases going forward, but only time will tell.
Of course, like any outsourcer, each client has its own way of working. As such, both HML and SMS have varied their approaches by lender, rather than having a one-size-fits-all process. This is working fine in the absence of any further guidance from the regulator and reflects how both brands are adept at ‘changing hats’ to ensure our clients’ expectations regarding customer service are met.
Some may think that switching between our different clients’ processes could prove detrimental to customer experience, but we have found the complete opposite. No matter which customer we are dealing with, our value of Right First Time and striving for a total quality concept in the mortgage servicing sector means we still put the best outcomes for customers at the centre of everything we do.
Working with such a wide range of borrowers also means we can obtain a large volume of feedback, helping us to refine our service to ensure it delivers what both our clients and their customers expect.
MMR: what next?
The Financial Conduct Authority could provide greater clarification surrounding how MMR processes should be implemented, which would certainly deliver more consistency between our clients. I hope the positive feedback from borrowers will also continue, particularly in those cases where the outcome is perhaps not what they first expected.
Yes, discussions with borrowers are taking longer than previously in some cases due to the extra information that needs to be gathered, but if the initial results are anything to go by, this shouldn’t prove to be a problem.
As mortgage lending increases over the coming months, as is widely forecast by the Council of Mortgage Lenders, we as an industry could experience some negative feedback from borrowers who have been rejected for a home loan. However, since affordability and favourable outcomes for consumers lie at the heart of the MMR, this is a potential consequence we will no doubt be prepared to deal with for the good of the customer and the future stability of the mortgage market.