View more on these topics

Chilton on Mortgages

We have got a client flying in tonight from Dubai. Odd for a telephone-only operation, you might think. I would love to tell you that she is really flying over to pick up the keys of the new Mercedes she won in the infamous Dubai airport raffle but, sadly, she has to come here to prove her identity under the most bizarre interpretation of money laundering that HBOS is forcing upon us all.

In retrospect, she is probably going through a Mercedes experience, anyway. It is wonderful when you pick up your new one but, all too often, when you drive your new car off the forecourt, you suddenly realise that it is not nearly as well made as the previous model and, when it comes to after-sales service, you are dealing with a process that has a veneer of customer service but poor real service.

Our market has put much effort into online decisioning and many of our lenders are now making product access much more visible, transparent and an absolute delight. The dreaded valuation process may even improve with the rapid growth in the use of automatic valuation models. Nevertheless, it is all still breaking down and you sometimes shudder as much in dealing with lenders’ administration as you do in driving in for your car’s service.

Money laundering is the new barrier to efficiency in our industry, with some totally bizarre interpretations being placed on it by some of the lending groups. If you do not deal face to face with a client, neither a passport nor a driving licence is an acceptable proof of identity for some. They will quite happily take a bank statement as proof of address but will not allow us to say that a passport is a true copy while acknowledging that we have not met the customer. Somebody needs to explain carefully to me why a utility bill or bank statement, which an ardent fraudster can buy via Exchange & Mart, is a more valid proof than a passport. It is another demonstration that in reengineering their business processes, lenders are still failing to recognise the realities of modern mortgage distribution.

Of course, something goes wrong with your new car the minute you drive it out of the garage, just like lenders failing to collect initial direct debits and double-charging customers for administration fees. A wonderful way to create a harmonious new relationship.

So when we, the salesmen, encounter the understandably irate customer, we immediately escalate it through the service manager. In the time-honoured service manner, they react positively and immediately sort out the problem – or so they say. The moment the customer has driven away from the dealership for the second time, you get another communication from them saying that they have just had a letter, reinforcing what was said in error the first time.

Perhaps we should have our mortgages made in Japan, where they get it right the first time and you never even have to worry about going back to the garage to have it repaired.

Of course, there is another Mercedes analogy current in the market at the moment. Suppose you bought your first Mercedes some 20 or so years ago and it has since acquired classic status. You have ridden the market like a complete expert and are just buying it back for at least the second time, having sold at the top of the market and bought at the bottom.

We all know that Mercedes go on for longer than most cars but, regrettably, without care and maintenance they eventually run out of steam. So although you bought back a classic with a brilliant brand name and a few components that are in first-class condition, the engine and chassis are shot to pieces. Where do you go from here. Does John Garfield run a Mercedes?Mark Chilton is chief executive of Purely Mortgages

Recommended

Zurich multi-tie signs up Scot Eq for pensions

Zurich Financial Services has signed a deal with Scottish Equitable for the supply of pension products through its new as yet unnamed multi-tie operation.The deal will see the entire Scottish Equitable range of pensions distributed through the new multi-tie, which is expected to comprise around 2,200 of Zurichs tied advisers. It is understood the multi-tie […]

Halifax comments on depolarisation

Halifax press officer Paul Fincham says: “Halifax will continue to offer its own products through Halifax advisers in Halifax and Bank of Scotland branches. Where our product range can be improved by offering another provider’s products we may consider doing this, but only if the products can offer our customers the best possible value.”

Thinc set for first multi-tie

Thinc is in pole position to become the first intermediary business to offer a multi-tie with a January 15 launch date for its limited market proposition.

Retirement fund - thumbnail

What price (more) freedoms?

George Osborne will make his last Budget speech of the current parliamentary term this week, and the early media briefings suggest that pensions will again feature heavily in that statement. So what are we able to learn from the weekend’s coverage?

Newsletter

News and expert analysis straight to your inbox

Sign up

Comments

    Leave a comment