Mortgage brokers are less concerned about the impact of the coronavirus on their businesses than they were four months ago, according to a survey by Virgin Money.
The proportion of brokers who say the pandemic is having a significant impact on their businesses has risen from 54% to 44%, while nearly a fifth say they don’t expect the health crisis to make a difference for them.
Brokers say, however, that they still face many challenges.
Half of those polled say the biggest hurdle they face is that lenders change their criteria, followed by poor service levels and banks tightening their policies. Only three percent of brokers said Brexit was a challenge for their businesses this year.
Some 26 percent of brokers said the availability of higher loan-to-value (LTV) products was a major obstacle.
Mortgage interest rates are expected to remain largely the same this year, 55% of respondents say and 60% expect remortgages to make up the majority of their business in 2021 as demand for new homes cools .
To support brokers, Virgin Money has established a business development team that can answer questions about Virgin and Clydesdale Bank brand products and services.
Sarah Green, Head of Mortgage Distribution and General Insurance at Virgin Money, said: âThe challenges facing brokers as they navigate this unprecedented time are consistent with those reported in our October survey and emphasize how essential it is that we respond to the needs of intermediaries.
âThis is one of the main reasons we recently launched a dual brand BDM team, so brokers can have direct access to a team when working on a trade. We are also excited to be a part of the Mortgage Guarantee program for first-time buyers, as we recognize how critical it is for them to move up the ranks and hope this will help brokers working with this segment of the mortgage market as well. Our goal is to provide as much support as possible to brokers, buyers and sellers as the industry goes through the tough times ahead. “
Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced in the budget earlier this month that the government would support a mortgage guarantee program that would encourage lenders to offer 95% LTV mortgages. The UK’s five biggest banks have signed up and are expected to launch products in mid-April. Virgin Money will join the program in May.
Samantha Partington is a freelance commerce and consumer journalist who writes on real estate and personal finance. Previously, she worked for the Daily Mail and Property Week. She is the former associate editor of Mortgage Solutions and editor of Specialist Lending Solutions. Prior to becoming a journalist, Samantha worked as a mortgage broker and most recently for a mortgage, bridge and secured loan lender. Samantha is CeMAP qualified. Follow her on Twitter @ SamJPartington1.