The mortgage lenders named and shamed by design agency Dock9 have hit back at yesterday’s report.
Dudley Building Society, whose online broker service was ranked the second worst out of 17, questioned the fairness of singling out a handful of smaller lenders alongside giants like Barclays, which was given the top rating.
Magellan Homeloans, the bottom rated lender, claimed that having a good website isn’t everything and providing a strong level of service is more important to brokers.
Jeremy Wood, chief executive of Dudley Building Society, said: “There seems to be no qualification as to how they selected the 17 lenders from the market and it was interesting to see that one of their clients [Vida Homeloans’ website was built by Dock9] featured in one of the top spots.
“The research has not taken into consideration that the majority of our online engagement with brokers and packagers is through a specifically developed online broker portal (DPR) and not through our website directly.
“The brokers we deal with all have access to this portal.
“The claims made by Dock 9 only give a partial story and followed a commercial invitation they made to us last week.”
Simon Read, managing director of Magellan, said: “We are under no illusion that our website is functional and not ‘sexy’.
“We have very recently engaged with a consultancy to discuss various web developments and this research piece will prove invaluable in the evaluation of best practices.
“We do however feel that intermediaries put more value on the service they receive from lenders ahead of any web presence.
“We encourage our underwriters to speak with our intermediary partners to discuss applications and have worked hard to consistently deliver an excellent two day application turnaround service compared to several major competitors who currently take twice that or even longer.”
Charles McDowell, commercial director of mortgages at Aldermore, which was ranked the third worst firm for online, opted not to respond to the report’s content specifically.
But he said: “In order to ensure that we’re best meeting the needs for each of our brokers today and in the future, we regularly engage with them and take their feedback on board to ensure that we are offering a competitive service.”
Dock9’s managing director Mark Lusted responded to the feedback by calling the research impartial and asserting that having an effective online journey is achievable regardless of a firm’s size.
He said: “Dock9 compiled this report to provide, what we consider an impartial view, based on a stated methodology, about the online user experiences mortgage lenders provide to intermediaries and borrowers.
“We deliberately chose a range of companies that covered to industry landscape – from big to small.
“The methodology we used focuses on extensive reviews carried out by our expert team, as well as user testing, and was marked impartially regardless of size or status of the companies involved.
“In reading the full report you will see that many large mortgage providers, not just smaller specialist lenders were marked low [Santander was given the bottom rating for consumer-facing websites].
“At the end of the day our report is there to provide guidance and highlight the fact that providing a good, digital user experience, in our opinion must be a major focus for all lenders in this digital age, regardless of size.
“Delivering great digital user experience doesn’t necessarily cost more, if the right process is followed during the website design and build.”
He added: “It is important to note that our results are not analysing the overall service of a lender, which naturally includes case turnaround time, speed of underwriting and time to answer calls.
“These are areas that specialist lenders often excel in compared to larger competitors. ”