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Mortgage Finance Gazette Rated for Service Awards 2024 – service area results, part 2

Recognising the best lenders for sales support, underwriting and technology, as voted for by you, the brokers

Welcome to the second Mortgage Finance Gazette Rated for Service Awards, in association with The Openwork Partnership. Once again, the awards acknowledge and applaud lenders that have supplied outstanding service to brokers. Our accompanying analysis provides brokers with insight into how they rate the service from their lenders, and offers lenders intelligence on the service areas where they are hitting the mark, or leaving room for improvement.

By the side of brokers

A lender’s sales support and communication can make or break its overall proposition. Consistent, prompt and dependable responses to queries are invaluable to intermediaries, and the ease with which they can communicate with a lender is crucial when submitting applications.

Mainstream lenders performed well in this category, with 12 out of 19 improving their score from last year. Of those that were either Top Rated for Service or Rated for Service overall, all of them were acknowledged too for sales support and communication.

It was a similar scenario for specialist lenders, with almost all of those awarded for their overall service also recognised for sales support and communication. The scoring was more varied for BTL lenders, where 10 of the 18 highest-scoring lenders increased their score from last year’s ratings.

Across all three sectors, lenders achieved good scores in the important category of sales support and communication. This bodes well for brokers as well as lenders, particularly in their ability to tackle the challenges of a demanding market.

A consistent approach to underwriting

A reliable yet flexible underwriting service was crucial for brokers during the Rated for Service assessment period as they fought to secure fixed rates for clients in a rising interest-rate environment. Lenders with a more personalised approach to underwriting have always won favour, but even more so when many borrowers’ finances are under increased pressure from rising bills and interest rates.

On the whole, mainstream lenders performed well in this category and only five of the 19 lenders saw a fall in their score compared to last year. However, there was slightly more fluctuation in this set of scores than in some other business areas, with a greater gap between the lowest- and highest-scoring lenders.

Scores were fairly consistent for specialist lenders’ underwriting, with just two having a very small dip compared to their previous rating. Although there is a general assumption that specialist lenders are more flexible with underwriting, the overall scores for specialist lenders were considerably lower than those for mainstream lenders. This could reflect the inability of lenders to assist borrowers whose credit profile had deteriorated during the cost-of-living crisis.

Lenders in the BTL sector performed well on underwriting and case processing. Eleven lenders improved their score from the previous Rated for Service Awards, indicating that, even though the market faced challenges, brokers were happy generally with the way their cases had been handled.

Excelling in technology

A robust digital offering from mortgage lenders can benefit not only brokers but also their clients. Likewise, when a system is slow or a lender unreachable, this can reflect poorly on brokers, which is why lender technology sometimes evokes strong emotions.

Those lenders Top Rated for Service or Rated for Service on tech have won over brokers with their systems and approach — a considerable accomplishment. Yet, collectively, lenders did not perform as well in this category as they did in the inaugural Rated for Service Awards.

Eleven of the 19 top-scoring mainstream lenders had a fall in their tech score compared to last year. Tech appears to be an area where, once again, the size of the lender does not correlate with the quality of the system. A number of smaller mainstream lenders were Rated for Service for their tech.

In the specialist market, four of the eight Top Rated for Service or Rated for Service lenders had a fall in their score compared to last year, albeit smaller declines than in the mainstream market.

The BTL lenders awarded Top Rated for Service or Rated for Service on their tech closely mirrored the lenders that received an overall accolade for service in that sector, with only nine of the 18 lenders seeing a fall in their score.

The overall drop in tech scores across the three sectors could be attributed to shortcomings in lenders’ digital communications; or to being surpassed by the development of other lenders’ tech systems. It may not be the result of any significant changes to their own systems. Nevertheless, those lenders that are Top Rated for Service or Rated for Service on tech should be commended for their excellence.

Click here to see all of the results

Mortgage Strategy has published the MFG Rated for Service Awards supplement, with all the results and analysis available in both print and digital formats.

Please click the cover to view the digital issue.

For lenders interested in details of logo and data licence enquiries, please contact Steven Ray or Aron Marusic



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