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01.02.2021
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Choosing a Mortgage Network in 2021: Advice for Mortgage Brokers

Which mortgage network should I join?

When looking for additional support, many mortgage advisers ask themselves the question “which mortgage network should I join?“. The truth is that there is no one-stop solution out there. Essentially, it’s a case of weighing up the pros and cons to think about what is the best fit for your mortgage business. In this feature, we explore the various factors that mortgage brokers, who are considering joining a mortgage network, should think about.

Which mortgage network is right for your business?

When choosing a mortgage network to join, adviser firms should ask themselves:

  • What do we want from the mortgage network?
  • How will the mortgage network benefit us in the future?
  • Which elements of the mortgage network proposition are the best fit for our business?

Rather than focusing on finding a “good” mortgage network, shift your search to finding the “right” one by identifying your business’ true drivers, preferences for what support features would benefit your business as “nice-to-have” and “must have” support functions. Once you’ve figured this out your options for becoming an Appointed Representative of a mortgage network will become clearer. You’ll be able to decide which elements of a given mortgage proposition you can live with / without. Remember, there’s no bespoke offering for ARs in the market so prepare to compromise on some of the less business critical features, but ensure that your would-be mortgage network helps to support your main business drivers.

Which mortgage network support features are most important to your mortgage business?

Compliance regime

Every mortgage network’s interpretation of FCA guidelines varies, so making a well-thought choice for which network your firm decides to join is important in ensuring that you can trade with the confidence that you’re comfortably within the regulated framework of the FCA.

Mortgage adviser support services

What sort of support services does the mortgage network in question offer (and from these services which are the ones which will actually provide a benefit to your mortgage business)? Be sure to check whether these support services are provided by the mortgage network themselves or via an independent third party. Is the service provided as active field support, on an ad hoc basis, or both?

At Stonebridge, we provide mortgage brokers with support in:

Financial network charging structure

Are you easily able to see what the mortgage network will be charging you? Transparency is vital for understanding what returns you will make from being part of a mortgage network, if you are getting value for money by joining the network and to see if the structure of the mortgage network has longevity. It helps to ensure that you don’t end up in scenarios such as incurring hidden charges or your chosen mortgage network going out of business due to financial troubles. Before you join any mortgage network be sure to confirm things such as compliance fees, FCA fees and mortgage broker Professional Indemnity Insurance.

Commission rates / procuration fees

Overlooking procuration fees and commission rates in favour of concentrating on percentage retention charged by a given mortgage network is a common mistake that many mortgage advisers make. From a financial perspective, the most crucial aspect is the bottom line. Ask yourself how much money will your mortgage business make per transaction (minus any costs incurred) as part of a given mortgage network?

Service standards

A big reason that many ARs leave their current mortgage network is the service standards. Many mortgage brokers have concerns over issues such as:

  • Compliance departments and Business Development Managers who have a lack of care.
  • Unresolved queries and unreturned calls / communications.
  • A limited range of mortgage products.
  • Getting paid their commissions in a timely manner.

Time and again, it’s been highlighted that feeling undervalued and/or poor quality service from a mortgage network can have a significant negative impact on the levels of business a mortgage broker writes and the satisfaction that they get from running their business.

Financial stability

Are you confident with the finances of the mortgage network that you’re considering? If you want to find out more about the financial stability of a mortgage network, such as Stonebridge, search for them on Companies House but factor in that accounts could be up to 18 months old so look into previous accounts for any trends. Additionally, check whether the mortgage network is part of a parent company. If that’s the case, look into their accounts too. Consider the whole model from how sustainable it is, running costs, the number of staff and charging, remember that financial security isn’t just related to how much profit the business generates, how much money they have in the bank or their size. Industry press websites (i.e. Mortgage Introducer and Financial Reporter) can be great for uncovering problems or overwhelming successes that a network may have had in the past.

Get in touch with Stonebridge

After considering the above, you have probably come to the realisation that a crucial part of choosing to join the right mortgage network is conducting thorough research to ensure that the offerings provided by the mortgage network that you choose align with your own mortgage business’ goals, priorities and practices. If Stonebridge seems like a good fit for your business we would love to hear from you. Alternatively, if you’d like to find out more information our team would be more than happy to assist you. Get in touch with Stonebridge today!

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