An ominous silence as MMR approaches
Gemma Harle is managing director of TenetLime
Slowly but surely, the Mortgage Market Review (MMR), is creeping up on us. However, we are only just starting to see lenders outlining their new requirements.
It is a fair analogy to liken the process to that of changing the course of an oil tanker, at a time when we should be striving to be as clear and concise as possible.
There seems to be a distinct lack of urgency ahead of implementation, with many of those involved giving the impression they can leave it all until the last minute.
If truth be told, there has been something of an ominous silence and I suspect a lot of companies are still not ready.
Brokers, for example, need time to respond to some of the requirements lenders will be introducing. Thankfully, more lenders are gradually revealing their hand, with the likes of The Leeds, Kensington and Santander among those coming forward in recent weeks.
So far they seem to be taking a leap from the current situation where many feel it is sufficient to just do electronic checks. Most seem to be upping their criteria: implementing more stringent affordability checks, taking responsibility for verifications and upgrading their business submission and data capture processes.
The MMR will mean they can no longer get away with doing less, even if they are offering low LTVs.
With just a couple of months to go, it would be good if all lenders brought forward the announcement of their intended criteria. Brokers need to adapt their technology systems to suit the new lender procedures and it really is developing into a case of ‘so little time, so many changes’.
For their part, brokers should be making every effort to collect and assimilate whatever information they can get their hands on in the build-up. Unlike the MCOB in 2004, there will be no transitional period come 26 April.
Fortunately, the change is set to happen at a time of greatly increased buoyancy in the market, with completions up 35 per cent on the previous calendar year.
Adviser numbers have not changed in tandem with the rise however. Instead, mortgage brokers have adapted their business models to further improve efficiency, widen panels and offer a greater choice of options.