What I love about this industry is the constant changes and challenges we face, often we look back and find our businesses are stronger as a result.
Take the quality metric for example, lenders decide that they were no longer talking about sales volumes but had a whole new agenda about quality. Huge metrics were drawn up for networks with various combinations with which our appointed representative firms would be measured. Some were so complicated it was difficult to interpret them.
Over time they were tweaked and more information was shared with the networks, as a level of trust was built up for the first time with lenders and their fraud and risk departments.
As a result we all know and understand so much more. We are able to recognise information that needs to be challenged from day one. Many cases that may have potentially been a fraud case don’t get through the door and once you know what to look for, it is so much easier to protect your business and deal with the right clients.
However, one of those metrics has always puzzled me – how can networks and brokers improve on the number of cases that go into arrears?
Divorce, death, illness, redundancy and financial hard times are all reasons for falling behind with payments but they are not events that the broker can predict when arranging a mortgage. It is, however, a relevant discussion to have with the customer and therefore providing protection for them plays an important part in the advice process.
However, it may be time for the lender to accept that if they are unable to give the broker any information on cases that are in arrears, including client name, brokers can do no more to cover this aspect.
The lender holds the data and the lender makes the ultimate decision to lend. They currently have little interest as to whether there is a policy in place to protect the client’s income which could prevent arrears in some cases. Maybe it is time for lenders to not only review the metrics but look at addressing the issue of protecting for the future when arrears may not be as low as they are now.