The brokerage says it has evidence that lenders are accepting offers in principle via online systems only for underwriting staff to then change the criteria for the product, pushing the finance out of reach for many would-be borrowers.
It says underwriters are making increasingly random checks to the point of declinature under the misguided principle of protecting the lender from loans more likely to become delinquent.
Email Mortgages chief executive Michael White says: “It is sad to report that in this current environment underwriting staff at many lenders continue to make credit-worthy borrowers jump through hoop after hoop in order to obtain mortgage finance.
“We have been aware for some time that lenders are risk-averse however this has been taken to a new level in recent weeks with the action of some underwriting departments beggaring belief.”
White says the brokerage recently had a case of a first-time buyer couple who were looking to borrow £105,000 on an asking price of £155,000. The couple had saved up £50,000 as a deposit, earned sufficient income per year and had an decision-in-principle generated online from a lender. White says the couple have since been “treated appallingly” by the lender’s underwriters having to provide continuous proof of income and having the nature of their salaries brought into question.
He says: “It would seem that the entire aim of this lender has been to find a way to turn down the loan. This couple have done everything right in terms of saving a substantial deposit and they now want to get on the property ladder but find their way blocked by lenders who profess to want to help first-timers but seemingly have no intention of actually lending the money.
“This is not treating customers fairly and it must change if we are to see a fully-functioning mortgage market any time soon.”