Archive: Dec 2016
Head of Sales and Marketing Sharon Mawby takes a look at five marketing trends to keep an eye on in 2017.
1: Social realism
Sharing stories and pictures of real people, in real situations. It’s a simple idea, but designing creatives using people that truly reflect reality, is a powerful marketing tool in both modern advertising and lead generation.
Celebrity endorsements no longer have the pull they once had. That’s why many marketers in the industry are moving to a more grounded and relatable form of advertising.
Therefore, to keep up with current marketing trends we are redesigning all the marketing collateral available to Mortgage Intelligence advisers. The new designs will be modernised and focus on using imagery of real and relatable people.
Good customer relationship management (CRM) is critical to reach the right people, with the right content, at the right time. It can be a challenge, but getting close to the customer using relevant content will increase trust and brand loyalty.
But there can often be a thin line between “helpful info” and “sales-pitch”, which is why 2017 will see many sharpening their CRM tools to get their marketing right.
This means it will be crucial for advisers to use their point of sale systems to review clients and contact them at appropriate times. This can help advisers return to clients who declined protection and prompt remortgage opportunities.
Client newsletters provide an important touchpoint in B2C and B2B email marketing. According to experts, 2017 is a good year to launch a client newsletter, as email open rates are generally increasing.
It’s hard to believe that just a couple of years ago some were predicting email was facing a decline. It seems that offering free and relevant content in exchange for potential business is still a fair trade.
Appointed representatives of our network have access to a free monthly newsletter service. This marketing tool provides advisers with a branded email newsletter that contains three relevant and compliant articles each month. We send out the newsletter directly to the clients on behalf of the adviser.
4: Social media
In the congested world of social media, standing out from the crowd is one of the biggest challenges today. But marketers are still keen to take advantage of the potential exposure, with many looking to expand their social media presence in 2017.
Having a good plan and clear goals will help ensure a return on investment. It’s also important that advertisements and creatives are optimised for all the different devices available today.
In 2017 new marketing collateral for advisers will be available that can be used on social media. The new collateral will help capture the attention of our scrolling nation.
5: Niche targeting
The number of available consumers has been far outpaced by the millions of new businesses that now engage with their audiences online. This crowded digital space has made competition for marketers really tough.
Experts suggest that 2017 could see more marketers targeting niche audiences and tackling specific topics out of necessity. Not only can this narrow the field of play, but can also produce a more healthy return on investment.
This means that 2017 may be an opportune year for advisers to increase their engagement with the trickier cases that other firms may avoid tackling. Recently we have worked hard to expand our panel to encompass more specialist lenders that deliver solutions for those with more complex borrowing scenarios.
If you would like to know more about how to join our award-winning Mortgage Network as an appointed representative or becoming a member of our Mortgage Club, call our Broker Support Team on 0845 130 7446, option 1.
With the festive season just around the corner, thoughts will soon be turning to the once-a-year Christmas celebrations. At Precise Mortgages, however, we are thinking of solutions for your customers 365 days of the year.
By supporting customers who are underserved by high street lenders and developing new products to help brokers submit more cases, we are the specialist lender you can bank on.
In 2016, for example, we helped more customers with less than perfect credit scores get their first step up on to the property ladder by launching Help to Buy and Right to Buy loans. We also gave landlords more choice by introducing Houses of Multiple Occupancy (HMO) and Limited Company Buy to Let loans.
We streamlined a number of our existing products to ensure they remain competitive in an ever-changing marketplace. We enhanced the criteria for Residential and Buy to Let loans enabling customers to extend the term to 35 years and benefit from improved affordability. We have reduced the rates and maximised the loan size on our Residential Second Charge loans. We have even increased the size of our sales team to ensure brokers have support 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
With the PRA introducing changes to the way regulated lenders underwrite buy to let applications early in the New Year, and the effects of Brexit still to fully reveal themselves, 2017 promises to be a challenging year.
However, thanks to our robust product range, our flexible approach and our specialist understanding, we are well placed to offer the competitive products and support you need in the year ahead.
If you have never tried Precise Mortgages before, why not make finding out more about us your New Year’s resolution?
You can find out more by calling myself and team on 0800 116 4385. You can also log on to www.precisemortgages.co.uk
For all of our existing intermediaries, thank you for your business in 2016 and we look forward to working with you again in 2017.
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
As we power towards the year end, there has been plenty to reflect on in 2016 – another year of change both in the world at large and in the mortgage industry.
For our part, at NatWest, we have had some changes of our own in recent weeks. With the Help to Buy: mortgage guarantee scheme coming to a close at the end of the year, we acted early in launching two new 95% LTV deals to replace the products that had been in place specifically to support the scheme. With less restrictive criteria it means that more of your customers will be able to apply for a 95% LTV mortgage on an existing, not New Build, property.
We also recently launched a new broker web site to provide you with a much improved online experience by redesigning the navigation and content.
From the NatWest home page, you are now able to quickly register or log in, submit business and access helpful tools including the LiveTALK instant messaging service, our popular affordability calculator, the ‘real-time’ Mortgage Application Tracker and find up-to-date processing timescales.
We’ve also introduced a new A-Z of lending criteria that provides a comprehensive run-down of many of the common policy queries that get raised.
Looking forward to the New Year, we will all have to get to grips with the new PRA regulations being introduced for assessing affordability for buy-to-let mortgage applications. We have already begun the communications process for this so you’ll be hearing from your BDM very soon.
New Build is an area of the market that will be keenly watched. Last month, we held a round table event, in conjunction with Mortgage Introducer, on this sector. The panel debated a number of issues that they felt that the industry needed to address. For the market to progress, they felt the priorities were:
• Look at planning regulation and how to free up planning at the start of the process
• Address the labour shortages by investing in apprenticeship schemes
• Get full lender support for the new tenures that are coming on board
• Have a housing minister that is in office for the long term
• Ability for lenders to offer higher LTV mortgages on New Build properties
• Large scale social and affordable housing whether for renting to buy or custom build
So, thank you for your support in 2016, have a great Christmas from myself and the team at NatWest, and we will see you in the New Year.
Intermediaries are a key component of today’s mortgage market, accounting for somewhere between two-thirds and three-quarters of all new business across the market in the UK.
For Virgin Money, intermediaries are even more important to our mortgage business, representing around 90% of our new business volumes.
We are absolutely committed to ensuring that we build successful partnerships with intermediaries, and want to ensure that we do everything we can to help them grow their businesses. We believe that when our intermediary partners are successful, we’ll be successful too.
That’s why, to show you what you mean to us, we have worked with you over the last two years to make some changes to our service, including the launch of a product transfer service – assuming the customer chooses to go back to their mortgage broker for help and it is the right thing for the customer to stay with Virgin Money. I believe that’s important, as many customers want independent advice when they are looking for a new mortgage deal, but they shouldn’t have to change lenders if the right thing for them to do is stay with their existing lender.
Taking time to give customers good advice costs money. We believe that intermediaries should be rewarded fairly for giving this advice, so we’ve introduced procuration fees for when they arrange a product transfer for an existing Virgin Money customer – often called retention proc fees. As with our procuration fees for new mortgage business, these new fees are both competitive and fair and reflect the true cost of giving good advice. We think that’s important.
We don’t think that it’s fair that some lenders prevent their existing customers from accessing their front book products at maturity. So to be transparent, we’ve added our retention products onto mortgage sourcing systems, to ensure it’s as easy as possible for intermediaries to compare them with what else is in the market. Importantly, our retention products mirror our core product range, ensuring that existing customers have access to the same products as new customers.
We have worked with you to transform our service, based on your feedback and what matters to you and there’s more to come in 2017. All that remains to say is that on behalf of everyone here at Virgin Money I would like to thank you for all your support over the last 12 months, and wish you all the best for the festive season and a prosperous New Year.
Even at the most wonderful time of the year you need to be thinking about providing your clients with a quality insurance policy. Santa included. And, if Santa had quality Home Insurance with Paymentshield he could ensure he had a Christmas cracker rather than a Christmas crisis.
With all the presents he needs to deliver on Christmas Eve, along with the added festive treats, Santa has more contents in his home in the run up to Christmas than usual.
Thankfully, Paymentshield Home Insurance offers an automatic uplift in contents cover for the month before and after Christmas. So, if calamity struck and Santa had a December break-in, his insurance cover would protect him from being left out of pocket by having to replace all the gifts before the big day. Phew!
Speaking of theft, Santa would also be covered for any potential altercations he may encounter with the Grinch. Malicious damage caused from icy snow balls thrown through the window would be covered by Santa’s building insurance, as well as providing financial protection against theft from his shed while he’s out delivering presents.
If the worst should happen and Mrs. Claus’ festive freezer stock gets damaged when it conveniently breaks-down, she should check to see if her policy covers it, as not all policies will. Thankfully, Santa’s quality Contents Insurance does provide cover for this – meaning the festive feast would be saved.
As you can imagine, the temperature in Lapland gets pretty low, which can lead to frozen pipes. Luckily, Santa’s buildings insurance would cover the cost of repairs should any damage happen – with his policy ensuring that all work by approved tradesmen is guaranteed for 12 months. Plus, with optional Home Emergency cover he’d be able to call someone out in double quick time to patch up any leaking pipes.
If the lights on his Christmas tree caused a fire that resulted in a grotty grotto. His Home Insurance would cover all the fire and smoke damage to his buildings, as well as replacing his contents on a new for old basis.
If the grotto can’t be quickly repaired, Santa’s Home Insurance ensures that both he, Mrs. Claus and the Reindeer would be given alternative accommodation until their home becomes habitable again.
There’s zero room for panic on his busiest night of the year, so if Santa should lose his wallet or phone whilst out delivering, there’s no need to worry, as long as Santa has Personal Possessions cover for anything normally worn or carried away from the home. He’d even be covered for the loss of money in his wallet and for misuse of his credit card, meaning he’s not out of credit.
Plus, good insurers will even replace his locks and lost keys as standard.
Whether it’s Santa, or any other client, it’s good to remind them about the benefits of quality home insurance, to help them avoid any Christmas disasters. It’s also important to remind them that home insurance is for life, not just for Christmas.
If you’d like to know more contact our Sales Team on 0345 0615 700.
2016 has certainly been full of surprises – Brexit and Trump to name just two – and yet the bookmakers failed to correctly predict either. Maybe we should now come to expect the unexpected, because uncertainty seems to be the new norm?
Despite all the changes, the market has remained resilient and the Council of Mortgage Lenders estimates that gross mortgage lending was £20.6 billion in October. House purchase transactions may be down, but brokers and their clients are seeing the benefits of remortgaging, with mortgage rates at an all-time low.
As we welcome in 2017 – we look set for another interesting year. There’s the introduction of a new BTL stress rate in January, and April marks the start of the phased tax changes for higher rate tax payers. Lenders will also be turning their attention to how they underwrite portfolio landlords to meet the September deadline.
But ahead of all this we look forward to Christmas. A time when the shops are pushed to their limits and customer service can be strained under the pressure. The mortgage market is not immune to this, but here at the Coventry we understand that our service has a direct impact on your reputation. We are continually looking at ways to improve and seek feedback from intermediaries through our monthly surveys. We’re always working hard to meet your expectations and over the last 12 months we have answered your calls in an average of 16 seconds and consistently processed documents within 48 hours.
And we’ve been given an early Christmas present! I’m delighted to say that at The Coventry we have been awarded 5 stars in the Financial Adviser Service Awards, something which we are incredibly proud of, because it is voted for by intermediaries – who have first-hand experience of what good service looks like.
I hope you all have a very happy and peaceful Christmas, and I wish you luck with your shopping – I hope you receive 5 star service!
It seems hard to believe that it’s already time to decorate the tree and buy the turkey! As we starting wrapping the presents, it’s worth taking some time to reflect on what has been an eventful year in the mortgage world! The introduction of the European Mortgage Credit Directive and the tax changes on BTL investments kept us all busy in Q1, the outcome of the EU referendum in June has created some uncertainty around how this will impact the market and everyone is now focused on preparing for new standards required by the PRA for underwriting BTLs, some of which come into effect on 1st January. It certainly hasn’t been a quiet year in the market.
At Kent Reliance, we’ve been busy expanding our distribution throughout the UK, supported with the recruitment of top class talent from across the industry to help make our ambitious growth plans a reality. Joining Mortgage Intelligence’s panel in June was a key part in this. Since partnering with Mortgage Intelligence, we’ve had a great reaction from its members and I’m delighted to see that we’re helping you to create solutions for your client’s borrowing needs, with numbers growing markedly every month.
As we prepare for next year, the UK BTL market will require a greater level of underwriting knowledge and specialist expertise to meet the challenges of the new regulations in 2017. Not only is Kent Reliance ideally positioned to support both you and your client’s through these changes but we also have the desire to be the specialist lending expert of choice in 2017.
Although Kent Reliance provided limited company lending well before the recent tax changes were announced, we wanted to respond to increased broker demands for a product that catered more for this shift towards professionalisation. This is precisely why, earlier this year; we enhanced our limited company proposition to make it easier for landlords to transfer their existing buy to let property from their individual name into a limited company or a limited liability (LLP) partnership structure.
Switching into a limited company or LLP structure may not be the best option for every investor and we also encourage anyone considering this move to seek advice from a qualified professional before rushing into any decisions. However, with more and more limited company products becoming available, the choice in the market is greater than ever before and it may just bring back some much needed confidence for landlords. Just make sure you pick a specialist lender who understands how to make it happen and one which isn’t afraid to join in the debate.
Enjoy the festive season, and I wish you a prosperous New Year. We look forward to working with you.
With festive cheer enveloping the world of finance, Positive Lending is looking forward to 2017 and also back at the year gone-by. As a specialist packager, this year has brought many changes to our sector, the most significant being MCD. Having adapted our business to meet the new regulation, and to best support you and your clients, we are in a strong position to continue to deliver market-leading specialist loan products and service into the New Year.
All I want for Christmas is…
falling Second Charge Mortgage rates?
In November second charge mortgage rates dropped to an all-time low of 3.85%; this product has a very limited distribution but is available to you via Positive Lending. At this level of pricing, second charge mortgages continue to be an excellent alternative for clients who are looking to raise capital or consolidate.
With loans available for any legal purpose, we are receiving enquiries regularly to raise funds for home improvements, business purposes, to help pay a tax bill or to raise a deposit for an additional property purchase as well as other uses.
A good client looking to raise £50,000 will have access, through Positive Lending, to three loan plans with rates of under 4.00% and a further 12 plans with rates under 4.50%. This means that a low rate second charge mortgage is an achievable solution for many clients.
‘Tis (always) the season to be jolly
At Positive Lending we take pride in finding a good solution for clients who are either unable to raise what they require through more conventional means or those who will actually benefit from a better outcome by taking a second mortgage instead of changing their first mortgage product. Whether that is because they have a fantastic rate on their current product, they may be tied in for a period and want to avoid paying a large ERC or they may be on interest only and wish to keep it that way. There is generally a lot of flexibility in the second mortgage market. Our aim is to assist you to ensure your clients have access to the very best loan outcome available. A good customer outcome always make us jolly!
He’s making a list, he’s checking it twice…
If you are unsure as to where and when a second charge mortgage may be a viable alternative, then please do get in touch with Positive Lending on 01202 850 830. Our Second Charge Mortgage experts will be more than happy to talk you through all the options for your clients so you can understand the benefits or alternative funding options.
With the new rates seen above and Positive Lending’s transparent fee structure, your clients could benefit from what is an ever-growing market.
Have yourself a merry little Christmas
On behalf of the team at Positive Lending, we wish you a very merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year. Our regional account managers will be available throughout 2017 to meet with you, at a time and place that suits you, to provide product training and discuss your specialist lending enquiries. We look forward to working with you in the New Year.
…The new Chancellor announced in his latest statement
Recent reports showing the number of house purchases increasing by 1% in October has led to some suggesting the summer “drought” was over. However, this was against a 4% drop in September as lending filtered through from post Brexit sales.
What remains clear is that there continues to be unpredictability in the UK housing market. Recent surveys from the RICs point to low numbers of new sales instructions and an increase in demand, with only one outcome.
It was therefore important that the new Chancellor gave the housing market some needed positive Christmas cheer for us all to hear in his autumn statement.
£1.4bn has been pledged aimed at delivering 40,000 new affordable houses, definitely a welcome boost for many families trying to buy their first home. A £2.3bn housing infrastructure fund has been earmarked to help build 100,000 new homes in high-demand areas. On the face of it Mr Hammond is certainly trying to continue where his predecessor left off and stimulate new UK housebuilding.
But with IPT increases planned for June and projected 5% rising household costs following Brexit, prospective buyers and remortgagers will be turning to their mortgage adviser for that much needed advice on affordability
Ho, ho, ho…and the message for 2017… build, build, build.
You might be forgiven for beginning to think you can breathe a sigh of relief as the end of 2016 looms into view. It certainly seems to have been a rollercoaster of a year with some real highs and it feels like more than its fair share of lows. As the year draws to a close it’s inevitable that some of us turn to look back at what happened with a real mix of emotions.
Internationally, wars have continued to make headlines, displacing families and creating problems no-one should ever have to face. Politically, there have been many different contests and votes with results so unpredictable they couldn’t have been written better in fiction. And nationally, a swathe of celebrity deaths seemed to pique a collective sadness for individuals few of us could possibly have known as anything more than a media personality.
It hasn’t all been doom and gloom though. From the national events throughout the Queen’s 90th birthday celebrations, followed by the spirit, excitement, and huge medal haul, of both the Olympics and Paralympics, the year has had its positives.
As an industry I think there have been some significant steps towards creating a more positive future for protection too.
So what have we learned this year?
Listening can be seen as one of the best ways to learn. The industry has definitely taken note of the things both advisers and customers have been saying about their needs in terms of protection, and improvements are beginning to take shape.
With an increased number of improved online processes, the application journey made by advisers should have been a little easier this year. Advisers are now able to free-up time by using improved online underwriting systems from a variety of providers.
We’ve received positive press recognising our step away from the ‘numbers race’ when it comes to critical illness cover. By providing better quality cover for the most claimed-for conditions, advisers should find it easier to recommend the right product.
We know the industry continues to make efforts to improve the outcomes for those who make a claim. When your customer’s world feels like it’s collapsing after a life-changing diagnosis, it’s unlikely that their first thought will be ‘how will I pay the mortgage?’ Support around telling the family, or guidance through treatment is likely to be higher on their list of priorities. Added value services are becoming more commonplace because while the money at the point of claim is useful, the emotional support can often make the biggest initial impact.
New ways to reach customers
2016 saw the conclusion of the 7Families campaign. The campaign helped seven families from across Britain whose lives had been turned upside down by long-term illness or life-limiting conditions. By giving practical and financial support, the initiative successfully raised awareness of the importance of income protection.
Statistics show that individuals have a higher chance of needing income protection during their working life than life cover or critical illness cover. An ‘average’ 30 year old, retiring at 65 has a 38% chance of being off work for 2 months or more1. But with less than 10% of customers buying income protection2, advisers need more campaigns like this to give them the ammunition they need to sell more.
Our own income protection report has been well received by advisers. Allowing them to create tailored reports to give to clients, they highlight the risks individuals face and the fact that all budgets can afford to add a little income protection.
Giant strides for Royal London
We’re proud of our achievements in 2016 and can barely believe that it’s just 12 months since we rebranded to Royal London. In that time, we’ve improved our online service to make life easier for advisers: we now offer estimated decisions for non-standard cases and can give likely costs for rated cases. On top of the online improvements we refreshed our underwriting proposition to focus more on the most commonly disclosed conditions, improved our critical illness cover to provide better cover for the most claimed for conditions, and added help for carers to our Helping Hand service amongst other things.
But, ‘self-praise is no praise’ as the saying goes. And thankfully it’s not just us that thinks we’ve attained a lot this year. We were delighted to win Company of the Year not once, but three times in 2016. In June, we received the accolade in both the FT Online Innovation and Service Awards and Money Marketing Awards, and then just this week we received the same title in the FT Adviser 5* Service Awards. It means such a lot to us.
But this means that we can’t rest on our laurels. Innovation continues to be a keyword when discussing the future of protection. And while providers labour to develop better, pioneering products they also need to consider the new hooks that will convince more customers protection is a necessity, and design new tools to make the sale easier for advisers.
We’re looking forward to welcoming 2017.
This is a Royal London promotion.
1 – Hannover Re, March 2016. Statistics, assuming a 50% gender mix and 25% smoker mix, show the ‘average’ 30 year-old retiring at 65 has a 4% chance of dying, a 13% chance of getting a critical illness and a 38% chance of being off work for 2 months or more.
These figures have been produced based on their interpretation of the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries’ Continuous Mortality Investigation insured lives incidence rates together with their estimated view of future trends.
2 – YouGov Life and Health Protection survey, 2015