In recent weeks, I’ve had two reminders that the specialist mortgage market perhaps has a little more work to do to work with more brokers and achieve its potential in helping a larger number of customers.
The first was a Pepper Money customer who appeared on the excellent The Specialist podcast hosted by my colleague Rob Barnard to speak about their journey to achieving the mortgage they needed. This journey included more than one rejection, not just directly from a high street bank, but also from a mortgage broker who said they could not help them.
I’ve also seen posts on LinkedIn detailing how customers had eventually been accepted for a mortgage, having been turned away by brokers who said they couldn’t help them because of their specialist circumstances.
I was a bit flabbergasted to be honest. Are brokers really turning down customers because they don’t fit the criteria of their usual mainstream lenders?
Clearly, this is the case. But why are they doing it?
Is it that they simply don’t know of the multiple solutions available to their customers? Or do they find the idea of placing a case with a specialist lender so complex that they’d rather just lose the customer?
Either way, brokers who choose not to engage with the specialist mortgage market for their customers whose circumstances fall outside main stream lenders are potentially missing a trick. Especially when you consider that our recent Specialist Lending Study identified a 26% increase in adults in the UK who have experienced some form of adverse circumstance and, therefore, may fall outside of the high street. This represents a large number of potential customers which should be presented with fair and affordable mortgage solutions from one of a number of specialist lenders, but instead are left disappointed, possibly thinking that they have no options.
New Consumer Duty regulations are coming and, under the regulations, the FCA has confirmed that brokers will have to act in good faith with their customers if they or their firm does not offer a particular type of product or service. If, for example, a regulated bridging loan or second charge will potentially deliver the best possible outcome for the customer and a broker doesn’t provide advice in these areas, they must clearly understand their deficiencies, provide clear signposting regarding their options and refer them to someone who will be qualified to help them.
It means that there will be even greater focus on good customer outcomes and so brokers have a bigger responsibility to understand all of the potential options, whether they are from the high street or the specialist sector. Even where brokers don’t have experience in the specialist market, there are plenty of well-respected specialist distributors and specialist firms with whom a broker could partner.
My question to brokers though, is why wouldn’t you engage with the specialist sector? With people’s circumstances becoming so much more diverse, specialist really is the new normal, so choosing to dismiss it is choosing to limit your business opportunities by maybe a half.
What’s more, working with a specialist lender can often provide a more responsive and rewarding experience than working with a mainstream lender. For example, at Pepper Money, within 24 hours, we aim to assess documents and undertake an underwriting assessment. Calls to our Telephony Sales Team and Case Owners are answered on average in less than 1 minute and 82% of DIPs get accepted.
This is perhaps one of the reasons why, according independent research company, BVA-BDRC, Pepper Money is the number one specialist lender that brokers would recommend, unprompted.
According to our latest Net Promoter Score (NPS), Pepper Money outperforms many mainstream lenders when it comes to customer advocacy. NPS shows that 7 in 10 customers are promoters of the Pepper Money brand, and our NPS has increased from +62 to +64 during last quarter of 2022. This is much higher than other businesses in our industry, according to independent benchmarking, which says the NPS for applying for a mortgage ranges from +4 to +58, while NPS for existing mortgage customers ranges from +6 to +55.
There are so many reasons for brokers to work with the specialist market in finding a solution for customers. Those brokers who choose not to are not only failing to make the most of a business opportunity, they’re also failing to meet the needs of their customers.
Director of Business
at Pepper Money