HNWs struggle to secure credit from high street banks

Michael Lloyd

March 20, 2019

High net worth individuals are struggling to secure credit from high street banks, with 79% of HNWs find the process of applying for a mortgage with a bank too rigid, Butterfield Mortgages Limited (BML) has found.

They said high street banks apply “tick box” methods that fail to recognise unique personal circumstances. The prime property mortgage provider surveyed more than 500 HNWs, all with a net worth over £1m, about their experiences of securing finance from banks.

Alpa Bhakta, chief executive at BML, said: “It may come as a surprise that of all the demographics, the UK’s wealthiest people often find themselves at an immediate disadvantage when it comes to applying for credit from banks; be it mortgages or credit cards.

“In reality, the rigid “tick box” methods applied by many conventional lenders are not compatible with HNWs’ unique and often complicated financial profiles.

“To overcome these challenges HNWs need to seek out brokers or lenders who can commit the necessary time and expertise to understand their situation and, in turn, deliver mortgages that meet their specific needs.”

As many as 12% have been rejected for mortgages by high street banks in the past decade. Complicated financial profiles are one of the main challenges for HNWs when securing credit, with their wealth often invested into property or illiquid assets.

Indeed, 44% said they have found it inherently difficult to access credit because their capital is tied up in existing real estate investments, while 38% struggle to get mortgages from banks because they do not have standard monthly paycheques.

Furthermore, 60% believe it is becoming increasingly difficult to secure a mortgage for a non-primary residential purchase. In response, two in three (67%) UK HNWs have lost confidence in high street banks, feeling they do not cater to the needs of property investors and buy-to-let landlords.

To overcome these challenges, the vast majority (73%) of wealthy individuals rely on brokers to help them find the lenders that cater to their needs.

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