How much is a broker worth?

Do you think your neighbours, family and friends really understand what your job entails? In a Legal & General report, they found that more than half of UK consumers didn’t actually realise that a mortgage broker could offer greater product choice than banks or building societies – and about a third believed that brokers worked on behalf of a bank.

In fact, buyers have plenty of misconceptions when it comes to securing a mortgage and the role a broker plays in enabling them to find better deals and save money along the way.

Nearly half (48%) of homeowners and prospective buyers who did not use a broker chose not to do so because they felt their bank or building society offered them a good deal. But, as we know, as a broker, you are able to source mortgages from a much extensive pool, whereas a bank can only offer their own products.

The wider public seem unaware, however, with almost a fifth (19%) believing that brokers and banks have the same access to all mortgage products. In reality, brokers actually have plenty more options – up to eight times more than a bank or a building society. According to research, as of 30th October 2017, there were 3,721 products available direct to consumers, compared to a mammoth 29,886 available via a mortgage broker.

Not only is there a lack of knowledge about the differences between offerings of banks versus brokers, the research also discovered that one in seven respondents thought their bank or building society would be able to give them access to the same impartial advice as a mortgage broker.

The research from Legal & General highlights an education gap within the society, with a plethora of misconceptions surrounding the role of a mortgage broker and the true number of benefits they can provide to their clients. Mortgage brokers should be shouting about their ability to offer a more impartial, comprehensive service with far more financing choices when compared to a single lender. It is all about spreading the word and educating friends, family and neighbours, so that they can then spread their knowledge within their network and eventually to the wider public – all to mutual benefit.

So, next time you are asked what you do by your neighbour, a family member, a client, a friend or even someone you’ve just met, be sure not to hide your light under a bushel. Tell them what a mortgage broker does in fact do and therefore what you REALLY are worth.

2017: A year in review

Enhanced systems, superior industry-leading functionality, our biggest roadshow of Mortgage Vision events yet, plus our milestone 30th birthday party raising money for charity….. How do we begin to review just how great 2017 has been for you and us?

Let’s start with our systems.

You, our valued customer, are at the very epicentre of what we do. That’s why our focus throughout this year – and every year – has been on the enhancements we could make to our products, in order to ensure you are able to make the most of what’s on offer to you, and ensure the mortgage sourcing process is as streamlined and simple as possible.

We began in February with the Key as we launched our secure Client Portal, enabling you and your clients to communicate with each other within the Portal 24/7. It was a move that brought you and your customers closer than ever before, and has allowed increased levels of communications within a highly secure environment.

Our other big announcement this year was our integrated second charge sourcing, which is now available in both MortgageBrain Classic and MortgageBrain Anywhere. The system enhancements broke new ground in our industry, offering the ability to compare as many appropriate first and second charge product side-by-side as you wish.

Provided at no additional cost, the new functionality has since enabled our customers to use both MortgageBrain Classic and, more recently, MortgageBrain Anywhere, unlike any other sourcing systems available on the market.

We also celebrated turning the big 30…

Over 300 of our closest partners joined us in April to celebrate the 30th birthday of Mortgage Brain. Not only did the evening allow us to celebrate the last thirty years in business, but it also meant we were able to raise an incredible £100,000 for our chosen charities: Birmingham Christmas Shelter, Contact the Elderly, Young Dementia, MDS UK Patient Support Group, the Alzheimer’s Society, Shooting Star Children’s Hospice, Compassion International and Haiti Orphanage Project Espwa.

30th birthday

On a fantastic evening of celebration, our CEO, Mark Lofthouse, said: “Reaching our 30th birthday is a significant achievement, and as well as giving us the opportunity to celebrate, it was a perfect opportunity to say thank you to our business partners, friends, colleagues and associates.

“It was also the perfect opportunity to help raise much-needed funds for several great causes and I would like to thank everyone who has helped us raise over £100,000 for charity, which will make a huge difference to the people they help.”

And our Mortgage Vision events were our biggest yet.

We set a new attendance record at our Mortgage Vision roadshow this year, with a 22 per-cent increase an adviser attendance – a new record in our eight-year history of running the annual events.

Almost 1,100 advisers joined us at the free-to-attend events across the UK, learning about the impact of GDPR, the creation of a digital customer experience, and plenty more. The events also include round table sessions from leading industry organisations – a real pivotal part of what makes our events so vital for you to attend.

We didn’t stop there.

This year, we’ve also added to our team to support the company’s growth and product development, reached over 12,000 conveyancing quotes with ConveyancingBrain, seen the 2 million transaction mark reached by Mortgage Trading Exchange (MTE), and announced news about numerous lenders partnering with us.

What does 2018 hold?

For the industry as a whole, GDPR will be at the very top of the agenda, as we all work towards ensuring compliance with the new rules and regulations.

Our Mortgage Vision survey found that the majority of UK advisers are at risk of non-compliance with GDPR, with 81 per-cent of survey respondents still having no implementation of rules or regulations as of November. Our main aim going into 2018 will be educating advisers as much as possible on the importance of GDPR compliance, and ensuring everyone is as prepared as can be as soon as it comes into effect.

The digital advice journey will also take centre stage in the new year and become increasingly important, and we will also be stepping in to ensure you have all the tools you need at your disposal to maximise business opportunities and stay ahead of the game.

We’re also looking forward to even more product enhancements next year, with product investment being at the heart of what we have undertaken in 2017, and a continuing focus for us going forward.

Our biggest and best year yet? That’s up for debate, but we are certainly proud of 2017’s achievements, and we can’t wait to break more new ground and help you be an even more successful adviser next year!

Could the mortgage market undergo Uber-ification?

No one has yet invented the mortgage industry silver bullet; the idea that could transform the industry as we know it. But as our CEO Mark Lofthouse explains, it may be somewhere on the horizon, and we must be prepared for it.

Want a taxi? Not a problem.

Go onto the street and hail one, or book one over the phone. Simple and straightforward. It’s always been done that way, always will be. But in 2011, two men launched the Uber app, which allowed anyone with a smartphone to make a trip request and have the cab closest to them make the pick-up. Five years on and Bloomberg estimated the company’s revenues to be around $5.5 billion dollars.

Airbnb is another strong example of how an idea can come out of nowhere and change an industry forever. No matter how inconceivable an idea, we must remember that the possibility exists that someone, somewhere could come up with it at any time.

uber

But why can it happen?

One of the reasons is that no one ‘owns’ the taxi space. In the same way that no one ‘owns’ the mortgage space. As radical as it sounds, anyone is free to come in and be a ‘disruptor’, and if people like the idea then it could change the rules and irrevocably alter the way mortgages are sold!

The mortgage industry is rarely at the front of the queue for innovation. Apps, for example, were well established in other sectors before arriving in the mortgage market. ‘Robo advice’, however you interpret it, is commonplace in areas such as car and home insurance and it’s now in its early stages for mortgages.

So what’s the chance that our industry will be altered?

No one has yet come up with an idea that could transform our industry, and the idea that someone could may not seem all that attractive. But we shouldn’t close our minds to them or discount the idea that someone, somewhere, could be working on something radical.

Although, we do have to ask ourselves: what would it be? Would it allow consumers to have mortgages that are tailor made? Mortgages that automatically change whenever a new and more desirable product appears? Maybe even a completely new way of buying a house that makes mortgages redundant at a stroke?

They are ideas which may not seem feasible, but in 2017 and beyond they could well become reality.

Ideas don’t always make you an overnight success

It is worth noting that Techcrunch.com reports that Uber’s losses are expected to hit $3 billion in 2017, Airbnb has had it run ins with authority, and there will always be plenty of people willing and able to piggy back on the success of early adopters. But the tantalising possibility remains.

So what can the industry do about it?

It’s hard to fight against something that doesn’t exist and that no one knows anything about, so the best defence is to make the industry as future proof as possible. This means moving with the tech times and offering as high a level of professionalism as possible. As the technology and service improves, so the window for uber-ification is reduced.

In the meantime, keep watching the skies.