Our lender experience survey result are in

6 Oct 2020

Lender experience survey

At the start of September, we asked intermediaries how Covid-19 has impacted the service you've received from lenders in the market.Here’s what we discovered.


Executive summary

Covid-19 fallout hits mortgage lenders' service levels. Self employed and furloughed borrowers face intense grilling

Applying and being accepted for a mortgage has become a much more complicated, time consuming and drawn out process since the start of lockdown, particularly from major banks.

Ever changing lending criteria, affordability checks and detailed due
diligence, notably for self employed applicants, is clogging up the lending process. Call centre closures, lengthy telephone answering times and inadequate information on lenders' websites have also slowed the process down dramatically.

Keith Barber, our Director of Business Development said, “Intermediaries are telling us that the most appropriate offers for mortgage seekers can be snapped up early and taken off the market before formal applications can be made, adding to frustration, delay and stress.”

You told us that lenders are taking much longer to process applications, even for relatively straightforward cases and particularly since lockdown restrictions were eased.

Eighty three per cent of you said that was the case during lockdown and 78 per cent said the situation remains the same since restrictions were eased at the start of the summer.  Over the period since lockdown started, two thirds of brokers surveyed said that questions about lending criteria had taken longer to answer, as well as a borrower's eligibility and affordability:

Q8 what queries graph jpeg

In your own words:

“Sometimes it is very difficult to get exact information on the criteria and in particular affordability since they vary from lender to lender”

“Service is very poor from many lenders at the moment and call waiting times are diabolical”

Due diligence ramped up

80 per cent of you responded cent said that lenders were asking more detailed and unusual questions about the self employed which held up the process. We heard that many major lenders appeared to have no clear policy on lending to them - even if they have not been affected financially - as well as those on furlough and business owners who have also been hit by Covid-19 fallout. You reported more details being asked about income and the impacts of furlough:     

Q11 detailed questions JPEG 

In your own words:

“Self employed seems to be 'no guarantees' at the minute. And only lenders who have a firm stance of 'this is how we will underwrite this case' are receiving self employed business from me.”

“Where do I start! Everything, especially BTL.”

“Asking questions about simple information. Looking at every detail to try and find ways to decline or not proceed with lending. Seems like most lenders don't want to lend money.”

The human touch was invaluable

According to some 40 per cent of you who responded, lenders' websites did not provide enough information to answer your questions, particularly on the fluctuating changes in criteria and affordability, which in many cases seem to change daily. You told us that you valued a human response with many of you preferring a phone call after searching through a website took too long and only gave generic answers. Some lenders had closed their phone lines during lockdown which understandably added to your frustration.

In your own words:

“I don’t find the search criteria facility very useful and always prefer to speak to someone.”

“Cutting support telephone lines and making people answer via live chat is NOT a solution”

“I'm older, I like to speak to a human being! I am sure if you are young you can negotiate round websites much quicker”

Keith Barber agrees. “All lenders are seeing unprecedented demand owing to the Stamp Duty holiday, something we have continually called for; however, this is no excuse for poor service to borrowers.

"Buying a property is already stressful. While some lenders have undoubtedly stepped up to the mark, our survey shows that delay, long call waiting times or intrusive questioning simply piles on more pressure on those worrying if they will ever get the right mortgage and buy their dream home.”


  • The survey was held between 1 – 17 September 2020
  • 139 intermediaries took part
  • We also asked you about their experience of dealing with us:

    Q1 dealing with FBS

    Q2 FBS processing times

    Q3 FBS comms

    Q4 FBS intermediary site

Affordability Calculator

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Find Your Local

Business Development Manager

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Arif Kara

Arif was previously a mortgage adviser, and focuses on North and West London. Contact Arif for help with your clients' mortgages.
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Michelle Parry-Bunter

Michelle has worked for the Society for over a decade and focuses on the South Coast. Contact Michelle for help with your clients' mortgages.
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Nathan Waller

Nathan, previously a mortgage broker, focuses on Cambridgeshire, East Sussex, Essex, Suffolk, Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire, Lincolnshire, Norfolk and Kent. Contact Nathan for help with your clients' mortgages.
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Grace Bennett

Grace focuses around the West M25 area. Contact Grace for help with your clients' mortgages.
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Darren Deacon

Darren has over 28 years' Financial Services experience and focuses on both the East & West Midlands as well as the Southwest. Contact Darren for help with your clients' mortgages.
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Paul Roberts

Paul has over 30 years' experience and focuses on the North (inc. M62 corridor), Yorkshire & North East. Contact Paul for help with your clients' mortgages.
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