More than half (54%) of brokers and intermediaries responding to the United Trust Bank (UTB) end of year broker sentiment poll indicated that they had undershot their 2020 business projections.
Of those, 25% suggested they had substantially missed their targets for last year.
However, 23% of brokers indicated that their results for 2020 had exceeded their expectations.
Looking ahead, when asked to choose what word would best describe their business outlook for 2021, a majority (52%) chose ‘challenging’ whilst 44% chose ‘exciting’.
The remaining 4% chose to describe their 2021 outlook as ‘worrying’.
The survey was carried out in the second week of December 2020.
Over two thirds (69%) of brokers also indicated that moving forward they intend to be more mindful of work/life balance once life returns to some normality with nearly half (49%) wishing to increase their work from home flexibility.
Increased investment in the digitisation of application and back-office processes also featured highly on the list of areas in which brokers intend to invest, as did a greater focus on team building and developing a strong workplace culture.
Harley Kagan, chief executive officer at United Trust Bank, said: “The COVID-19 pandemic continues to create challenge and uncertainty but it’s encouraging to see that 44% of property and commercial finance brokers achieved or exceeded their 2020 targets and many are looking forward to this year with enthusiasm.
“At UTB our investment in FinTech, the hard work of our staff and a resolute commitment to supporting brokers and borrowers enabled us to continue to lend throughout last year and to complete record levels of new business in a very challenging operating environment.
“We continue to deliver quick and reliable lending decisions despite over 90% of our team working remotely and although we’re disappointed that a further national lockdown has become necessary, we’re in a very strong position to face whatever challenges 2021 may bring.
“At UTB we are already planning several new products, criteria and process enhancements and of course further investment in technology in 2021, and our focus remains on supporting our customers and helping brokers to write more business.”