Comment: A helping hand for brokers


Even the most optimistic among us will find it hard to deny that the next two years could be very difficult for the industry.

Despite the Bank of England’s various efforts to avoid a recession, we hear interest rate forecasts to exceed 3% by the end of the year and inflation continues to beat forecasts through 2023.

Add a cost of living crisis and it will test consumer confidence.

The aim is to offer tailored advice with all our brokers

This all adds up to the challenges that brokers face in the field with a lack of inventory, products that change daily, lenders that limit affordability, and much longer than normal lead times.

In fact, data from Propertymark reveals that 41% of its members find that transactions take 17 weeks or more. Talking to some of the brokers in our national network, we hear about turnaround times as long as 22 weeks.

That’s just two and a half cycles of completion per year in an industry that previously had four. All things considered, you don’t have to be an economist to realize that tough times could be ahead with reduced volumes and potentially impacted earnings.

Adaptability

Although the mortgage industry has proven to be very resilient in turbulent times, the challenges ahead require more than a headlong approach. On the contrary, it is an important reminder to be proactive and adaptable, and to diversify.

This is the key message of our new business development kit, which offers free support and advice to our employed and independent brokers to help them anticipate this situation and explore new opportunities.

It is always important for companies to devote time to essential forward planning, regardless of the environment.

Rather than outlines, the aim is to offer bespoke assessments with all of our brokers to not only analyze their current business, but also to review their future planning and assess potential areas for growth.

The reason many brokers have not considered diversifying their offering is simply the dynamic nature of the real estate market over the past few years, which has removed the urgency to expand their business beyond the core areas.

For some brokers, the solution to an income gap could finally capitalize on the bullish protection market. If there’s one thing consumers have learned in the past couple of years, it’s the value of protection, whether it’s concert tickets and overseas vacations or more important ones such as life insurance and mortgage protection.

The challenges ahead require more than a headlong approach. It’s an important reminder to be proactive and adaptable, and to diversify

For other brokers who focus solely on residential mortgages, they may expand their offering slightly to include secured loans or more broadly with commercial loans.

Both offer valuable opportunities not only to gain a competitive advantage, but also to increase potential revenue.

stumbling block

Either way, the biggest stumbling block can be a lack of confidence or limited knowledge in new areas, as well as the thought of compliance headaches.

This is where support programs such as our business development initiative will come into play, helping brokers access the tools, strategies and learning to truly maximize these new opportunities. Additionally, we will provide a range of marketing and collateral materials to target these areas and attract new business enquiries.

Volumes can be reduced and profits impacted

Aside from the potential for doom and gloom, it’s always important for businesses to spend time on essential forward planning, regardless of the environment. We are all guilty of being blindsided in manic day-to-day operations. Our hope with this initiative is that we can encourage brokers to invest in their business and secure their future by putting meaningful plans in place.

It is our duty to play our part, providing the support and framework necessary to help our partners thrive, regardless of market conditions.

John Phillips is national director of operations at Just Mortgages

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