Saffron Building Society chief executive Andy Golding says: “The market has moved: these statistics prove that people want to use a broker to find their mortgage.”
According to the Council of Mortgage Lenders, borrowing through intermediaires is still high: over two thirds of all approved mortgages went through an intermediary.
It is these sort of statistics that led Saffron to launch its own mortgage brokerage, Saffron Mortgage Brokers, a wholly owned subsidary of the mutual.
Golding says: “I believe the job of a mutual is to always be able to say yes, but from a credit perspective we can’t offer everyone a mortgage. So we have created a brokerage – so we can always say yes.”
Saffron Mortgage brokers is an independent IFA, ringfenced from its owner. It promises that it will only offer Saffron mortgage if they are the best choice.
Golding adds: “All financial institutions should know what borrowers want, and most people seem to want mortgages through a broker. And if customers want it, lenders should provide it.”
Saffron says this move is not a reaction to the credit crunch; Golding says: “Honestly we would have held off with the launch of brokerage until after the market picks up, but we were ready to go. Obviously we have had to resign ourselves to only modest growth, but if the current climate improves we will return to plan a.”
Saffron building society currently has two independent advisers, based out of external offices in Hertfordshire and Essex.
Golding says Saffron’s borrowers have been surprised with the amount of mortgage choice out there.
He says: “I don’t know if all mutuals will eventually go this way but all financial institutions should follow what their borrowers want – and more people want broker advice. So lenders should be offering broker services.”