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Mortgage roundup – and the market continues to thrive…

Introducer Today returns with a bumper mortgage roundup, this time featuring the latest industry views on mortgage approvals, new and extended partnerships, and the latest product releases in the mortgage industry.

Mortgage approvals dip – industry reacts

The industry has reacted to the latest Bank of England figures on mortgage approvals and lending, released today.


The figures show that mortgage levels dropped by 0.4% between February and March this year. Approval levels were also 14.5% lower when compared to the same period last year.

Jonathan Samuels, chief executive officer of Octane Capital, comments: “While overall property market sentiment remains very good, a dip in the level of mortgages being approved was always likely to follow such a sustained period of heightened market activity.”

“This has been largely due to lenders tightening their belts following a number of consecutive base rate increases and we’re now starting to see this more cautious approach to lending start to materialise within topline market statistics.”

He adds: “With the cost of living also putting pressure on many households, this slow but steady decline in buyer activity is a trend we expect to see maintained throughout the remainder of the year.”

Director of Benham and Reeves, Marc von Grundherr, adds: “Many lenders are now acting with a far greater degree of caution and for prospective buyers, this means fewer product options at higher rates.”

“This has inevitably reduced the number of buyers being approved for a mortgage, although those that have are still able to take advantage of a relatively affordable cost of borrowing.”

However, von Grundherr believes while current mortgage rates still remain fairly favourable, he expects that they will continue to climb throughout the remainder of the year.

“So those considering a purchase would be best advised to act now as they may well find the offer presented on the table won’t be there in a month or two,” he concludes.

360 Dotnet extends HLPartnership relationship to further help advisers

360 Dotnet, the FinTech software supplier that supports over 6,000 mortgage and insurance advisers in growing their business, has renewed its contract with HLPartnership (HLP), an Appointed Representative (AR) Network for mortgage and protection advisers.

Having worked closely with the business since 2015, 360 Dotnet’s end to end practice management system, 360 Lifecycle, has largely contributed to the growth of HLPartnership and its success.

For HLPartnership, success has been achieved primarily as 360 Lifecycle places the consumer at the core of everything they do, allowing its advisers to concentrate on serving their customers in the best possible and most efficient manner.

360 Dotnet believes FinTech should be designed from the customer first principle. They constantly look at ways in which 360 Lifecycle can help financial advisers and their customers, so advisers can continue to stay in control of their business and client bank, alongside finding ways to increase productivity and revenue.

Ozgur Unlu, chief executive officer of 360 Dotnet, says: “We have some very exciting developments and collaborations being delivered throughout 2022, and 360 Dotnet will continue to work closely with HLPartnership.”

“We are very excited to reaffirm our strong relationship with them. We are pleased to support HLPartnership to ensure they gain the most out of their client relationships through our system and integration partners. We are looking forward to driving the relationship forward to flourish.”

Christopher Tanner, chief executive officer of HLP, adds: “360 Dotnet have been a strong partner through our tremendous growth since 2015 and this key contract renewal supports our technology roadmap, which includes working with partners and developing technology in house to benefit both our members and their clients.”

“Their FinTech solutions have helped us achieve record results and maintain a lead in technology against our peers. We are excited about the future developments and the collaborations 360 Dotnet will deliver this year. These factors combined made the decision to continue our relationship an easy one.”

The Later Life Lending Network gains full access to two exclusive products

The Later Life Lending Network has become the first network to be granted full access to both the more2life Flexi Choice plans and the Classic plan offered through Pure Retirement for all of its equity release members.

As specialists in later life home finance options; The Later Life Lending Network, the equity release arm of The Right Mortgage Network, says it is delighted to be able to offer access to these products, securing some of the lowest rates in the market.

The products boast not only low rates but a host of fully automated features at no extra cost to customers.

Victoria Wilson, head of equity release at The Later Life Lending Network, comments: “We are really pleased to extend the access of these exclusive products to all of our network members and to be the first and only network to do this is also very exciting.”

“Being recognised for the work our specialists do, not just on a firm level, but the whole network of just under 100 specialists.”

Wilson says the move follows extensive work to strengthen and further what the network can do for its equity release specialist members.

“We cannot wait to continue to pave the way for more exciting projects to continue to support and develop our members and their businesses,” she concludes.

Gary Little, business development director at more2life also comments: “We are delighted to be in a position to build on our distribution and provide access to The Later Life Lending Network’s specialist members.”

“At more2life, we are committed to supporting advisers as they work to ensure their customers find the right option for their individual circumstances and this is another step towards achieving this goal. We look forward to working with Victoria and her team.”

Hattie Fancourt, national field sales manager at Pure Retirement, adds: “Pure Retirement are delighted to be able to offer all equity release qualified members of TRM full access to our market-leading Classic product range.”

“This product comes with brilliant features, competitive interest rates and flexible options to support your client’s needs.”

She goes on to say: “Pure Retirement is proud to offer an efficient service on all cases with the support of a proactive and supportive telephone/field-based BDM team. We are looking forward to working with all advisors at TRM even more moving forwards.”

Saffron launches ‘intermediar-ease’ initiative for brokers

Saffron for Intermediaries has officially launched a new concept to brokers today, known as ‘intermediar-ease’.

The concept has been developed on the back of communication with brokers and will hold the mutual to account on service standards.

A recent survey of 101 brokers, conducted by Mobas on behalf of Saffron Building Society, identified that 68% of brokers had complained to a lender for poor service in the last 12 months.

Additionally, a further half admitted they had to complain to a lender due to the length of time to receive a decision for their client.

Brokers also admitted that service standards from lenders have dropped since the lifting of covid restrictions, with 96.4% stating the service was good to excellent during the pandemic. This dropped to 75% since restrictions were lifted.

Tony Hall, head of mortgage sales, is spearheading this initiative and comments: “The relationship with brokers is paramount to the success of Saffron. When I joined the society in 2020, I realised we had work to do to build our reputation, improve our service and engage more effectively with brokers.”

Hall says the research shows that there is some dissatisfaction across the board with brokers, and this needs to be addressed.

He adds: “Following extensive strategic planning and insight, we can finally announce our new initiative, Intermediar-ease, which puts our service standards to account, opens communication channels and allows brokers to clearly identify the changes we have made, and those that will be made in the future.”

Since the pandemic, Saffron has made strides to improve its service. The society launched two new secure websites, with the intermediary site benefitting from new affordability calculators across the range of products, a live-chat function, and a news section to keep brokers informed of recent updates.

It has also undertaken one of the largest criteria updates across the product base in its 170-plus year history. This created solutions that would help first-time buyers, self-employed and contractor clients who had been adversely impacted by the pandemic.

Additionally, the lender continued to develop its education and entertainment platform, SFI LIVE, to engage directly with brokers.

“This is just the start,” Hall continues. “With so many changes it is hard for brokers to keep up, which can mean missed opportunities for them and their clients. Equally, we know brokers are busy and may not always take the time to provide feedback to us.”

“The ‘Intermediar-ease’ concept is a way to bring all of this together, and over time provide brokers with more avenues of communication, education around products and criteria, open access to underwriters and help us to continue to drive improvements in all areas of our service.”

“I am proud of the changes that we have made, and our review scores continue to rise following a strong improvement in the last six months.”

Hall goes on to say: “Whilst we know we can never be perfect; this initiative gives us a chance to reach for perfection and hold our hands up when we don’t get it right. In the coming weeks and months, we are holding ourselves to account like never before and ready to face the challenge.”

Intermediar-ease updates will feature prominently across the Saffron for Intermediaries social media channels, in regular email communications, will drive content on the website and will be the basis of education through the SFI LIVE webinar series.

Hall will be answering brokers’ questions and accepting honest and open feedback alongside Intermediary Team Leader Deborah Tedder, on a one-off exclusive webinar on Wednesday May 18 at 11am.

Registration is open and completely free. Brokers can register here: https://event.webinarjam.com/channel/intermediar-ease

Accord launches new product transfer range with cashback

Accord Mortgages has launched a new range of products for residential borrowers wanting to do a product transfer, which includes options with cashback, to give brokers and their clients more choice when their mortgage matures.

From April 29, the intermediary-only lender will pay up to £250 on selected product transfers in the new range, which will be paid directly to the bank account the client’s direct debit comes from, on completion.

Cashback options will be made available to all clients who wish to do a product transfer with Accord on selected products up to 85% loan-to-value (LTV).

Highlights include:

  • Two-year fixed rate of 2.89% at 65% LTV, which comes with £100 cashback

  • Two-year fixed rate of 3.01% at 75% LTV, which comes with £250 cashback

  • Five-year fixed rate of 3.33% at 85% LTV, which comes with £250 cashback

Nicola Alvarez, senior manager for new propositions at Accord, says: “We know cashback on new lending is really popular, so we’re pleased to be adding this to the options brokers have when considering a product transfer for existing customers too.”

“Keeping it simple, brokers don’t need to do anything outside of the existing product transfer process; we’re just adding more choice for advisers and their clients, many of whom may welcome cash in their bank account in the current environment.”

Accord withdrew its previous product transfer range before launching the new cashback options as part of its range, which sees other selected residential product transfer options increase by up to 0.30%. 

The Nottingham announces new two-year fixed resi range

The Nottingham has launched a new range of two-year fixed residential mortgages.

Available at 80% LTV and above, the products are said to be ideal for first-time buyers – particularly with a trio of them including cashback – or others with smaller deposits.

These include:

  • 80% LTV with no fees, 2.65%

  • 85% LTV with no fees and £300 cashback, 2.80%

  • 85% LTV with no fees, 2.68%

  • 85% LTV with £999 fees (£0 upfront), 2.43%

  • 90% LTV with no fees and £500 cashback, 2.96%

  • 90% LTV with no fees, 2.76%

  • 95% LTV with no fees and £500 cashback, 3.16%

  • 95% LTV with £999 fees (£0 upfront), 2.82%

The Nottingham’s head of mortgage product, Christie Cook, says: “We’ve unveiled a range of higher LTV products we hope will appeal to people with smaller deposits.”

“It’s well documented how tough it is right now for first-time buyers, as well as many others, to achieve their property aims and ambitions so as a lender we are keen to ensure we continue to bring competitive products like these to market.”

She adds: “We also know that following the pandemic many people are re-evaluating their situations and looking to remortgage onto cheaper deals whilst they consider their future options, which is another reason for us to remain agile with our mortgage offering.”

All of the two-year fixed mortgages offer a free basic valuation and are portable. Paid legal fees are available for remortgage customers, with cashback products available on purchase only.

The Nottingham also recently announced that people applying for mortgages with them will no longer have a hard footprint left on their credit file at the application and Decision in Principle (DIP) stage.

It means a broker can apply for a DIP on behalf of their client safe in the knowledge that it won’t impact on credit rating until it is converted into a full mortgage application (FMA).


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