The fundamental difference between banks and professional mortgage advisers, (or brokers or intermediaries) is the way they work, how they are run, in fact their basic DNA and raisin d’être.
One could argue that banks have never really shown any real discernible interest in the overall welfare of their customers? In fact the opposite is true. The higher interest rate they pay the better for their profit margins. The higher fees, the more they charge, the fact they cannot move elsewhere, the more products they can flog whether suitable or not the better. I give you PPI, complex interest rate swaps etc.
For banks it is all about money, which I know is obvious, but they are a business answerable to shareholders who want a return, so fair enough. But therefore they should not pretend to be anything else, acting like some sort of charity that only exists to help.
There are some who have changed and recognise the new model being led by digital banks who, whilst still there to make profits, have no legacy and recognise that the customer is king. Some really are trying to change, accepting that if they do not customers will eventually leave them in droves as they become part of a list of mere product providers to be switched at will.
Others however, still seem to have a disdain for the needs of the customer. How else do you explain activity designed to leave some customers on higher variable rates? Why does it seem that they are battling to do more direct, non-advised business under the facade of technology, cos it sure as hell is not for the benefit of the consumer? They argue it gives customers more choice, but this is a nonsense.
On the other hand, mortgage brokers and advisers DNA is fundamentally different. We do not thrive unless we provide good advice and service. Our clients welfare is our only concern because if they are not happy they ain’t coming back. Referrals for good work are our lifeblood.
It is not just that. It is also a passionate belief garnered over 20 plus years of experience that ultimately clients need advice. We all do. Why take chances when faced with the biggest loan we are ever going to take out, that incidentally come with a myriad of fees, tie-ins and small print.
Remortgages should not be exempt from having an advice stamp just because they seem simple. Is the term still right, the repayment method still valid, what if the lender is only offering a 2 year fixed when a longer term is better, or an offset product could be used that would save the customer thousands and cut the repayment term down by years?
Yes, technology needs to work in conjunction with advice to make sure the client experiences the same quick service but with the added benefit of advice so they know that they really do have the most suitable product.
The conclusion that all mortgage transactions need advice and should go through a broker is too simplistic of course and there needs to be options for the customer to ultimately decide, but we should not skimp on advice to do this.
It all comes down to trust and when it comes down to it, give me someone who works tirelessly for the customers benefit, who survives only on their satisfaction any day of the week.