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Theoretically, the service from lenders to both directly authorised (DA) brokers and appointed representatives (ARs) should be uniform. However, the scores given in the Mortgage Finance Gazette Rated for Service Awards highlight some differences in the way the two demographics are served by lenders, either unknowingly or intentionally.
ARs made up 52% of those who rated lenders’ service, with DAs accounting for 48%. In general, lenders performed better among DAs than among ARs, scoring higher overall in all three sectors: mainstream, specialist and BTL. In the mainstream market, lenders performed better in DAs’ estimation in three of the five key areas: strategic focus, sales support and communications, and underwriting and case processing. But they scored more strongly for ARs in the product and technology categories. However, the overall difference in AR and DA scoring was only fractional in this sector.
When mainstream lenders’ scores are broken down, in a few cases there is a notable difference between scores given to an individual lender by ARs and those given by DAs. Among lenders with the greatest discrepancy in scores, there does not seem to be a pattern, such as the size or type of lender. When specialist lenders’ scores are analysed, DAs rated lenders higher than their AR counterparts did, in all five key areas. The difference between DA and AR scores in the specialist market was noticeably greater than that for mainstream lenders. Again there was some DA/AR variability by lender and, while the biggest individual variable was recorded in the mainstream market, the difference in individual lenders’ scores was generally more pronounced in the specialist space. In some instances, lenders with the biggest scoring differential in the mainstream market achieved the same in the specialist market.
With BTL scores, DAs again rated lenders higher than ARs did in all five areas. The overall difference between the scores was not as sizeable as in the specialist market but was higher than for mainstream lenders. There were marked differences in BTL scores given to certain lenders by DAs and ARs. In most instances, these corresponded with the scores given in other markets. One lender, for example, scored significantly lower for its technology among DAs than among ARs in both the mainstream and BTL markets, potentially indicating a difference in the systems provided to each. However, this trend was not consistent across all sectors, with one lender scoring consistently among ARs and DAs for its mainstream service but not for its specialist service. Overall, the highest standalone DA score went to mainstream lenders for their sales support and communication, with the lowest DA score going to specialist lenders for their products. In contrast, the highest AR score went to mainstream lenders for their product offering, while the lowest score was given to specialist lenders’ underwriting and case processing.
Analysis by case size
Whether a broker submits just a couple of cases per month or more than 20, naturally there is an expectation that the service they receive from lenders should not differ. The Rated for Service scores raise interesting insights into how brokers rate lender service based on the number of overall cases they submit each month. Brokers who individually submitted between six and 10 cases per month made up the lion’s share of the scores, accounting for 38%, followed by 35% who submitted from one to five cases.
Brokers who submitted 11 to 20 cases represented 20% of participants, whereas those submitting 20-plus cases equated to 7% – the smallest group. In both the mainstream and BTL sectors, lenders received the lowest scores from brokers who submitted the fewest cases: between one and five per month. However, specialist lenders scored the lowest among those who submitted between 11 and 20 cases. The highest set of scores for mainstream lenders came from brokers who submitted 11 to 20 cases per month. BTL lenders scored the highest among brokers who submitted 20-plus cases, and specialist lenders were rated the highest among those who submitted between six and 10 cases.
When the mainstream scores are assessed in isolation, brokers who submitted the fewest cases gave the lowest score, notably lower than in the other three categories. Within those other categories the overall scores were more closely matched, suggesting the service received by those brokers was generally more consistent. For specialist lenders, the gaps in scores between the subsections were variable but not substantial. The contrast between the lowest and highest service scores was most distinctive in the BTL sector, with this section also producing the most individual lender fluctuations. Brokers who wrote the most mortgages per month – 20 plus – rated the lenders noticeably higher than did those who submitted between one and five cases.