Borrowers may have to wait weeks for branch adviser meetings

Borrowers could be forced to wait weeks for an appointment with lenders’ mortgage advisers after the Mortgage Market Review as firms race to get qualified staff in place.

Last week, a business development manager at one of the UK’s biggest lenders warned brokers at conference that customers could expect waiting times of up to a month to see a lender’s in-branch mortgage adviser.

The BDM also told brokers that lenders’ face-to-face meetings could take between three and three-and-a-half hours from 26 April, when the rules come into place.

Brokers say these meetings should not normally take more than an hour.

The lender in question has tried to play down the concerns, saying: “Over the last year we have increased the number of mortgage consultants available in branch. Availability of mortgage appointments is in line with demand and we expect no material change to this post-MMR.”

But experts believe lenders will struggle with the new non-advised sales ban, where all sales must be advised where there is any form of “interactive dialogue” with a customer. But consumers can change aspects such as their repayment method, switch rates or take out retention deals without advice as long as they do not wish to borrow more.

Moreover, the new rules require lenders to capture more detail from the borrower to ensure they can afford their loan.

A broker who was present when the BDM made the claims says: “It is a sign that lenders are getting everything into place but there are going to be teething issues with the implementation of the new rules.

“As a result it may well be that some clients feel they are more suited to going to a broker if they feel they want to move forward a lot quicker than a direct lender can offer them.”

Association of Mortgage Intermediaries chief executive Robert Sinclair says: “I don’t anticipate any issues in the intermediary world in that we have already been taking in the kind of detail required under the MMR for some time. The big change is in the direct world, because of the requirement to take more detail than they have in the past. There will be delays – that may be in getting an appointment or how long those appointments take.”

For more help and information please do not hesitate to contact Clare Allen at Hoskin Mortgages