What do mortgage borrowers want? – Barclays point of view

What is the top priority for borrowers when choosing a mortgage provider? A low rate is the answer which immediately springs to mind, but what if we look past this?

The customer journey has changed considerably in recent times and the result is that we need to build a bigger picture to better understand what a borrower wants now, and in the future.

Some 1,082 borrowers took part in a survey by Computershare, which posed the question: “Other than low interest rates, costs and the terms and conditions of a mortgage, what’s the most important factor in choosing a lender?”

Unsurprisingly customer service remained the top priority:

  • 42% of respondents chose being able to speak to someone when needed;
  • more than one in five (21%) selected online account management;
  • 8% said a high level of support if in financial difficulty was the most important;
  • 6% prioritised finding a lender with a reputation for financial success;
  • and just 1% would be most likely to choose a provider with a reputation for technological success.

Broker Response

Most professional brokers would agree with Barclay’s assessment of the factors important to customers, pre and post completion, but they also realise how important it is to match the lender to the borrower in the first place to enhance the client experience.

The mortgage applicant who goes direct to a lender often finds himself shoehorning his circumstances into tight lender criteria  resulting in an emotional roller coaster of initial Acceptance in Principal followed by decline, when the case is fully assessed.  It is far better for all concerned to ensure the fit is right from the start. There’ll be less stress waiting for underwriter approval, less in-depth questioning and less additional documentation required after submission. The very things which create the antipathy between lender and borrower.

If the homebuyer uses a professional broker it will minimise credit searches and unsuccessful applications and ensure the channels of communication with the lender are wide open. A broker’s involvement almost always shortens the time to completion and delivers a lender/borrower relationship with far less stress from the outset. Perhaps this is why banks like Barclays now receive the bulk of new applications from brokers rather than through their direct channels.