With the mortgage lending sector now firmly recovered, new lenders have come to market, bringing new methods of risk assessment, backed by innovative technology solutions.
However, the value of experienced staff in the form of underwriters, collectors and compliance experts has not changed. One of the key findings of the MMR was that the regulatory framework was ineffective in constraining risky lending and unaffordable borrowing. As a consequence it is now a requirement for affordability to be robustly and effectively assessed and whilst the developments in sophisticated fintech solutions in the mortgage origination sector is to be applauded, the value of the “human touch” underwriter is not to be underestimated.
Alongside tightening of credit risk has also come a responsibility to treat customers fairly and this principle needs to be central to an organisation’s corporate culture. So, there is a real need for experience within the mortgage origination process, in the form of well-trained individuals, but they are not easy to source and train up to required standards in a competitive environment.
The FCA has shown concern in past reviews that underwriting staff have lacked detailed knowledge and commented that “Service standards often demanded that applications are reviewed quickly by junior staff who appeared to lack the experience and ability to identify mortgage fraud risk.”
New entrants and recently established lenders have to deal with issues of unpredictable lending volumes and the subsequent provision of good service standards, against the background pressure of controlling overhead costs, establishing training regimes and recruiting for the longer term. One solution has grown in popularity over the last 2 years; bringing in experienced underwriters for short periods of time whilst building the business, allowing the generation of revenue before fixed costs are committed.
With experienced underwriters being at a premium and a challenge to find, many now turn to Rockstead to help with interim staffing solutions. We have recruited experienced underwriters as permanent employees, but they can be made available for short term placements at lenders.
As the market continues to grow, innovative solutions in the form of expert staffing support wherever and whenever it is needed, is proving a valuable resource for many lenders in the growing sector.