Paul Crewe, director, Smart Money Loans
This is a great time to be a broker after all the challenges of the last few years. So I salute all of you who have managed to stay the course because now all that dedication is going to pay off as the market starts to improve and the economic gloom begins to lift.
In the world of secured loans, the forward momentum generated last year has continued into 2014, with new lenders promising even greater levels of competition, which of course in turn will need the expertise of financial advisers in order to make sure clients receive the best deals.
The most remarkable aspect of today’s business environment, is the number of different ways brokers can now gain access to the latest information and support.
All intermediaries transacting mortgage business have gained immeasurably from the growing sophistication of sourcing software in order to aggregate potential choices, while at the same time being able to create Key Facts Illustration’s and compliant quotations. Linking this to online applications has helped to create a more seamless process for brokers and lenders alike.
Of course, they are not perfect, particularly as individual cases do not necessarily fit the pigeonholes that sourcing systems have to rely on.
This is probably more true in the secured loan market. We have seen the successful launch of a number of sourcing engines which aim to provide a similar positive experience for seekers after secured loan choices and there is no doubt that they provide a good starting point.
However, as we have found at SML, over 65% of enquiries do not fit lenders’ standard criteria. For users of secured loan sourcing engines, this can be frustrating, because the system cannot interrogate the data as thoroughly as a human being. Now there is no issue if the broker calls through to the distributor for clarification because there is a wealth of human knowledge available.
My concern lies with those brokers who do not take the step to contact the human sourcing element and either go away disappointed or unwittingly try to place the case based on a sourcing system’s initial selection. Even more concerning for the Introducer is the risk that their client could keep searching for the loan and end up with their required facility via a different source thus risking losing the client for life.
Sourcing systems play a useful part in aggregating potential secured loan choices, however they should be treated as useful tools but not as a substitute for the experience and knowledge of a skilled human operator.