As you can probably imagine we are experiencing extremely high call volumes, with wait times for customers sometimes in excess of 60 minutes. We’re available to help all our customers and our team are doing their best under difficult circumstances, but we are also aware that they may be contacting you with many questions – and that you too may have questions for us that we want to respond to.
To help alleviate any concerns you may have about how Covid-19 may impact your cases with us and the impact on your clients, we have developed some frequently asked questions, which we hope will help provide the reassurance you may be looking for.
We have also provided some customer focused frequently asked questions for your clients.
Frequently asked questions
Are you continuing to lend?
Yes, we are continuing to lend subject to the valuations issue mentioned below, so please continue to place your cases in the usual way.
I notice that you have removed some products from both the Residential and Buy to Let ranges, why is this?
We want to ensure that we continue to be a fair and responsible lender. There is now significant disruption to property valuation services across the industry which is impacting our ability to fully underwrite new applications. We are working on a solution which we hope will be available shortly, but this means we are unable to progress existing and new applications to the offer stage right now.
The valuations solution we are exploring will not be suitable for our full product range and so, to be fair to you and your customers, we have withdrawn those products that we expect will still require a physical valuation. This includes all products above 70% LTV.
Applications already submitted that have a valuation will continue as usual; for applications that have not yet had a valuation and that we do not expect to require a physical valuation under the new solution will proceed when we are able to confirm the new solution. Unfortunately, those that will still require a physical valuation will regrettably be cancelled as we are unable to proceed with them until we are certain that physical valuations can restart.
Will you be changing any of your rates again soon?
We regularly update our rates as applicable to the needs of the marketplace.
Is the lead time for my new cases going to be longer now?
Our work force has been set up to work from home and have been doing so since the middle of March, making full use of our digital capabilities so we do not expect any disruption to our servicing capacity. However, lead times will be impacted by the valuations issue mentioned above.
Are you still offering products with cashback / free legal aid / free valuations?
Current products are available via your sourcing system of choice and will detail any incentives or features that are available depending on the product most applicable for your client.
Is your third party free legal partner still operating and how?
We use Enact as our free legals supplier and like many of us, they are now working from home. They are still working to their usual service levels and are able to service your clients as usual, albeit no face-to-face appointments.
Can I call you on behalf of my client?
Yes, if your client has given us their consent. They can do this over the phone, and the consent would last for three months.
My client is already in arrears and concerned they could have their home repossessed, will you be making exceptions?
From Thursday 19 March 2020, we are not taking any legal action that could result in repossession for three months.
My client is already in arrears and very worried about the effect that Covid-19 could have on them?
If your client is affected by Covid-19 and concerned about the impact on their income, please ask them to speak to our team as soon as possible, or provide us with the consent to allow you to speak to us on their behalf. We will review the changes to their circumstances and look at what options may be available to them.
My client is asking me if they can have a payment holiday, what should I tell them?
Our frequently asked questions for customers will help you to answer many of their questions around payment holidays. Some of the key points for you to know are:
- If your client will struggle to make their mortgage payment due to the Covid-19 health emergency, then a payment holiday or other appropriate option will be made available to them.
- A payment holiday is a way to defer their monthly instalment, but it will still be payable in the future and your clients account will still accrue interest; which means a three-month payment holiday may not always be the best option for everyone.
- For your Buy to Let clients, payment holidays are being provided on the understanding that this relief will be passed on to their impacted tenants.
What number should I give my client if they need to contact you?
0333 300 0921, 9am – 5.30pm Monday to Friday.
Please bear in mind there may be wait times in excess of 60 minutes due to high call volumes.