As part of a new interview series to highlight some of the lenders we work with, Hawke FS spoke to Mike Houston, Business Development Manager at Accord Mortgages…
Can you give us some background into Accord Mortgages and your role within the company?
Accord is the intermediary arm of the Yorkshire Building Society, so we are part of the UK’s second largest building society, which not many people know; we are a high street lender. At Accord we don’t really have a typical customer as we offer a full range of products, from straightforward house purchases to remortgages, to help to buy properties. For example, we allow 90% loan-to-value borrowing on new build flats, which is quite unique.
My role as a BDM is to support my panel of brokers with up-to-date information on the Accord brand and proposition. I am also here to support the broker and the client through their mortgage journey with us.
What is Accord Mortgages’ biggest selling point for any potential customer?
Service – someone always being on the end of the phone to help and guide. We also have a ‘common sense’ approach to lending. We appreciate that not every case will fit our criteria, so we offer the broker a service whereby they can get pre-approval from an underwriter. This common sense approach is something Accord prides itself on. We also enable mortgage advisors to talk directly to our underwriters – a rare occurrence nowadays but one which ensures the broker has direct contact from day one of the application. We have found this hugely helps our service offering and improves our turnaround time to get the offer out to the client
How important is it to work alongside brokers?
The BDM role is to support and educate where Accord can help a broker’s clients. With firms such as Hawke FS, I will visit at least once a month to catch up with the team and update them on changes within Accord as well as discussing the current marketplace.
Hawke really are a fantastic firm to work with. An example of working alongside Hawke’s brokers was when we had a case that one of the brokers was struggling to place at 95% LTV. The client in question had been with their current firm for two years and their income was made up of a number of allowances. Other lenders were looking to use only a percentage of this, but due to the client’s type of work and their consistency, Accord was happy to use at 100%, which allowed them to trigger our higher income multiple. This was made possible by the close working relationship we had with the broker, and the broker’s close working relationship with the client. It enabled us to chat the case through with an underwriter before the Decision in Principle was run.
In your opinion what has had the biggest impact on the mortgage market in the past 12 months?
The volume of business coming to lenders from mortgage brokers. This highlights that there is a demand for quality advice and bespoke client services.
How do you think the mortgage market will change over the next five years?
Technology advances will afford lenders and advisors more time to look at their client’s circumstances in more depth, and to help more clients. This is a part of the industry that is evolving from all different areas of the market, both within broker firms and lenders.
In an ideal world, is there anything you would like to see done differently in the mortgage sector?
The time it takes to complete a mortgage after the case has been offered. Technology could potentially help conveyancing firms to speed up the process moving forward, and this would support the advancements in the lending market.