Conveyancing Association reveals findings from lender survey

Aim is to use insights to improve mortgage and conveyancing process

Conveyancing Association reveals findings from lender survey

The Conveyancing Association (CA) has released the results of its 2022 Lender Survey, which it hopes will be helpful in identifying where the industry can collaborate to improve the mortgage and conveyancing process.

In the survey, the CA asked conveyancers to rate a number of lenders in terms of their waiting and response times, consistency of reply, clarity of mortgage instruction, and follow-up actions, among other topics. The trade body also asked conveyancers to give their views on a number of topics including post-offer queries and how this process might be sped up.

According to CA, over 80% of respondents said they had ‘usually’ (25%) or ‘sometimes’ (57%) had to raise a post-offer query with a lender. When asked what one thing would speed up the post-mortgage offer process, 48% of conveyancers said better communication via the lender portals, 36% mentioned securing a better response time to queries, 11% said greater consistency within UK Finance’s Lender Handbook Part 2, while 5% pointed to the introduction of a standard post-offer referral form.

When conveyancers were asked whether they felt either the UK Finance or Building Societies Handbooks needed to be updated, less than half thought so.

The survey also sought to gain views on the withdrawal of mortgage offers and how common this had now become.

While 50% of respondents said they had rarely acted for a client who had a mortgage offer withdrawn or amended, 27% said this had happened ‘sometimes’ and 8% ‘usually’.

The reasons given for why a mortgage offer might have been withdrawn included issues with the property title (50%), the borrower not meeting affordability requirements (27%) or the terms of the lease (12%).

Conveyancers were generally positive about the use of lender portals with over 80% believing they add benefits to the profession in helping them deal with lenders. However, just over 50% believe the charges to use them are reasonable.

Finally, there was overwhelming positivity about the greater use of qualified electronic signatures (QES) within the process. Close to 80% of respondents said they felt having the ability to sign dispositions such as mortgage deeds and transfers using a QES accepted by HM Land Registry would improve the customer journey.

“Our Lender Survey is always a useful exercise in its ability to determine the current bottlenecks that we hope can be overcome with a sharing of this information and greater collaboration to improve the home moving and mortgage process,” Beth Rudolf, director of delivery at the Conveyancing Association, said.

“Clearly, we have already started to engage with the lender community on potential areas for improvement. We all want to see an efficient, more certain, conveyancing process in action – one that does not take the best part of five to six months.”

Rudolf added that greater use of technological solutions and digital options will make a huge difference to the consumer, the conveyancer, and HM Land Registry.

“It’s therefore positive to see the enthusiasm for QES usage among conveyancers from the results, and we are aware 21 law firms are currently signed up to a QES pilot with HM Land Registry, utilising three signature platforms. We look forward to seeing the results of that pilot which hopefully set the foundations for greater QES usage right across the piece,” Rudolf said.