MFG Rated for Service Awards – Great lender service: does size matter?


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From the initial contact a mortgage broker makes with a lender, right through to completion day, the service that brokers receive can vary significantly from one lender to the next – as our survey results demonstrate. When done well, service can leave a lasting positive impression on both a broker and their client, and vice versa when things go wrong. The Mortgage Finance Gazette Rated for Service Awards highlight the lenders that are first class in their field, and such service is not achieved without a great deal of hard work and commitment.

One of the most consistent features of the survey results, across all three sectors, is that good service does not correlate with a lender’s size. In some instances, less prominent building societies featured alongside, or were rated more highly than, larger, more well-known lenders. Additionally, being a specialist in one chosen field – buy-to-let (BTL), for example – did not guarantee a higher ranking than being a non-specialist lender. Among lenders that performed exceptionally well, gaining the Top Rated for Service accolade, there was evidence of a consistent proposition across the board. Almost all lenders achieving this standard demonstrated that good service did not have to be in lieu of competitive products, as is sometimes depicted in the mortgage market. Instead, the scores demonstrate that a well-liked and well-rounded proposition, encompassing all of the service elements, is achievable.

When done well, service can leave a lasting positive impression on both a broker and their client

On the whole, lenders that received a Top Rated or Rated recognition in one market also performed well in the other markets, when featured. As expected, there were some stark contrasts between the scores of lenders that were Top Rated and those of lenders ranked lowest overall. There were, however, a couple of lenders that narrowly missed out on an award, with scores very close in some instances. Of the five core service areas, technology produced some of the most surprising results. There had been a previous perception that lenders’ technology, or lack of it, was a cause of frustration among brokers. However, the upper quartile of mainstream and BTL lenders performed particularly well in this area.

In the specialist sector, strategic focus stood out as the area where brokers felt the top-performing lenders functioned the best; perhaps unsurprisingly given the intermediary emphasis of this subsection of the market. Meanwhile, underwriting and case processing stood out in the mainstream and specialist sectors as the area with room for the most improvement among lenders in the upper quartile. Strategic focus was the weakest area for BTL lenders in the upper quartile. Some interesting observations can also be drawn in relation to the service areas where lenders performed well. A lender’s sales support and communication score, for example, may be more subjective than those for its technology and products, which are more tangible.

Even when a lender is not actually lending, the support it provides to the intermediary market is still appreciated and acknowledged

Sales support and communication was an area where the upper quartile of BTL lenders performed particularly well. Given that the BTL market effectively ground to a halt during part of the evaluation period, this score demonstrates that, even when a lender is not actually lending, the support it provides to the intermediary market is still appreciated and acknowledged. When the scores were assessed in terms of broker status – DA or AR – DAs scored lenders more highly across all markets; perhaps a surprising takeaway for lenders. Interestingly, the number of cases a broker submitted each month appeared to correlate with the level of service they received. Although a number of findings from the survey matched expectations around lender service, others did not. These offer lenders plenty of food for thought ahead of the next Mortgage Finance Gazette Rated for Service Awards.

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