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Crisis for mortgages as admin backlog grows

Mainstream lenders are being criticised by mortgage brokers for poor service levels and underestimating the buoyancy of the housing market alongside their specialist counterparts.

Broker franchise Mortgageforce warns that the situation is even worse than last summer when specialist lenders struggled to cope with demand because mainstream lenders are now creaking under growing volumes.

Its franchisees say Woolwich, Abbey National and GMAC-RFC, which has said it is working to clear backlogs, are among the worst.

According to one broker, Abbey told him it would take 15 days to pick up a mortgage application but he would be given priority treatment if he applied for Abbey&#39s building and contents insurance.

Broker club Mortgage Intelligence managing director Sally Laker says the problem is across the board, with all lenders misjudging volumes of business and not recruiting enough staff, a situation she warns is reaching crisis point.

Laker says some lenders are trying to slow down business by making rates or criteria less attractive but this has had limited success.

Mortgageforce managing director Robert Clifford says: “Dissatisfaction with lenders is greater than ever. It is worse than last summer when some specialist lenders suffered but they only make up about 3 to 4 per cent of the business we do. When mainstream lenders suffer, the effect on our brokers is greater.”

Abbey National media relations executive Sharon Makin says: “If a broker was told he would be given priority if he took our buildings and content insurance, this is an isolated incident and not business practice. We have had record levels of business but we are working on introducing a fast-track system.”

Woolwich says it is working at getting service to a level where it is consistently good.

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