What have packagers ever done for us?
In adapting a line from Monty Python’s The Life of Brian, I want to cast some light on packaging and the important role it continues to play in our market.
There has always been some resistance to the idea that a third party should sit between an introducing broker and a lender.
Yet, here we are in 2018 and our company Complete FS has been providing a packaging service for 25 years without a break, probably longer than many of today’s brokers have been practicing.
The reality is that good long-standing packagers provide a service that has yet to be equalled or improved upon, to both the intermediary and lender.
New lenders will always want to establish immediate distribution and keep the costs of initial processing low.
Experienced packagers have not only been a proven source of distribution, but also a logical resource for lenders as a combined helpdesk and communication hub for broker contact.
This comes on top of fulfilling their main role of producing fully packaged cases for lenders to check and issue a mortgage offer with minimal intervention or additional requirements.
For brokers, good packagers have been a consistent source of information, knowledge and expertise.
Moreover, they are able to provide specialist lender market answers for brokers looking to source a lender for their more quirky cases and seek reassurance about their own research.
In today’s market, where borrowers and their advisers have called for more pragmatic borrowing solutions in the face of lending by numbers, the growth of specialist lending has been spearheaded by packagers taking alternative solutions to the broker community.
Human decision making will always have a dominant role within the specialist lender environment and packager personnel with their close working ties to lender underwriters have been integral in helping to grow this sector.
Not everyone is a fan
However, not everyone is convinced that the packager model is the right one and packagers need to respond positively to these concerns.
Complete FS and other forward thinking packagers have invested heavily in technology to improve communication and processing times.
But it is not just about technology. Good packagers are looking to increase broker access to panel lenders.
In our case, a rotating roster of lender staff spend time in our offices every day, making themselves available to discuss enquiries and existing cases.
In addition, many lenders provide us with their own underwriters to produce offers, meaning there is no difference in service with the broker phoning or dealing with the lender directly, but with our additional expertise supporting them.
Coming full circle, the case for packaging is as strong as ever.
Lenders have widely documented that the conversion ratios between well packaged business and direct broker business comes out hugely in favour of the packager.
At a recent review with a major specialist lender we were shown that only 38% of their direct business converted to completion, while ours was 78%.
So while we can’t claim to have invented wine, roads, or aqueducts, Complete FS helps brokers obtain higher success rates for their clients without any sacrifice of procuration fee, and lenders enjoy professionally packaged business combined with enhanced distribution.