Brokers are disappointed with the decision of NatWest Intermediary Solutions to close its phone support service for pre-sale mortgage application enquiries.
From May 3, all broker enquiries relating to an application before it has been submitted will be handled through NatWest’s instant messaging service Livetalk.
Brokers can use Livetalk to speak to NatWest’s sales support team online, with answers provided in real time.
Once an application is submitted, brokers will be able to speak to the sales support team on the phone.
NatWest says brokers will still have access to their business development manager, either face to face or on the phone.
NatWest Intermediary Solutions head of sales Mark Bullard says: “We have enhanced the service over the last three years and, from the customer satisfaction scores achieved, know that brokers regard it very highly as a contact tool.”
But brokers are unconvinced by the move. Chadney Bulgin mortgage partner Jonathan Clark says: “This is disappointing. BDMs are covering such huge regions these days and you can never get hold of them. Having someone knowledgeable at the other end of the sales line is very helpful.”
Chartwell Funding managing director Robert Winfield says: “I think NatWest will lose business as a result of this, as brokers are more likely to go with a lender that gives them a real person to talk to. It may even end up creating more work for NatWest if brokers decide to bypass Livetalk and submit an agreement in principle to find out the answers they need.”
All Types of Mortgages sales and marketing director Dale Jannels says: “People want to talk to people. From a compliance point of view, it is a good idea as you can print out conversations but I think NatWest will lose those in the industry who are not technology-orientated.”