A man with with grey hair smiling wearing a suit.

A new door is opening for Networks and Clubs brokers.

4 min

With the varying experience, knowledge, expertise and specialism present in the UK’s growing Networks and Clubs community, individual brokers are searching for the latest products, processes, support and education that will keep them at the top of their game. Why? Because being able to offer a quick, simple and customer-centric service is, ultimately, how brokers develop personally and professionally, and provide better results for their customers.

Nick Parker, Head of Network and Clubs at Together, spends his time working directly within the Networks and Clubs community to understand what brokers need to make their day to day lives, and customer service, better.

We chatted to him about what he’s hearing in the community, and we learn about how Together is responding to broker partner needs as we begin trialling a new online portal. Members of ten specifically selected Networks and Clubs will initially be invited to use the portal with the aim of giving brokers the opportunity to deal directly with us on some Buy to Let and First Charge mortgages.

What challenges are Networks and Clubs brokers currently facing?

The Networks and Clubs community is huge, with between 30,000 to 40,000 brokers, so the adviser skillset varies. We see experts with over 20 years’ experience in the sector, and those at entry level (being trained up and learning about specialist lending for the first time).

We are finding that many would value more support to understand specialist lending and the positive outcomes it can deliver for both customers and brokers alike. This is especially important in the current economic climate, where the requirement for specialist lending is becoming more frequent and more urgent - largely due to tighter lending criteria and a lack of housing stock and choice. Not only is this impacting brokers themselves but, ultimately, the customers they serve. Brokers have a great opportunity to leverage the wide range of specialist lending solutions available to help tackle the challenges that consumers face.

The flexibility of our product set, whether that’s dealing with irregular income, credit history or non-standard property types, can help deliver those positive outcomes but many brokers aren’t confident enough to use them, especially with the introduction of the Consumer Duty Act, or they haven’t had the exposure to specialist lending so aren’t aware of who they can speak to.

There is a thirst for knowledge though – brokers want to build upon their understanding of specialist lending to help open more doors for their customers. They are also keen to find ways of further diversifying their income streams that may have been impacted as a result of recent market conditions, such as increased product transfers with lower commissions, that can also lead to reduced cross sell opportunities for protection and other ancillary services.”

So, leading brokers are keen to access specialist lending knowledge and solutions. How can they do this?

“Firstly, it’s Together’s job to speak to brokers, understand them, educate them, raise the profile of specialist lending and increase their access to it, including introducing them to our excellent partners who can support them with packaging more complex cases, or doing the heavy lifting on specialised lending such as bridging or second charge mortgages. This gives brokers more time to focus on helping more customers.

When it comes to educating the community, we’ve worked with the London Institute of Banking and Finance to help produce the training module on their Bridging Finance for the Certified Practitioner in Specialist Property Finance course. We also regularly attend industry events, and participate in podcasts and roundtables, keeping brokers updated and informed.

And then, secondly, many Network and Club brokers are keen to control how they access specialist lenders, particularly for straight forward first charge residential and buy to let applications, as this can often be aligned to how they access other lenders in this peer group. The advancements in sourcing technology certainly support this.

In response to this, we’ve worked directly with a small group of brokers to develop a new portal for brokers to submit Buy to Let and First charge mortgage cases. Here, brokers are able to secure a quick decision and submit the case directly should they choose to.

When it comes to more complex scenarios, or specialised products such as bridging and second charge loans, they are still able to access Together through one of our trusted packaging partners, who have the specialism and experience to navigate cases through often complicated processes.

Whilst we want to offer Network and Club brokers more choice, we also understand the significant value a packaging partner can provide both in terms of helping to place more difficult cases but also freeing up brokers’ time to engage and support more clients.

Brokers will be able to continue to come to us via one of our trusted packaging partners for any and all cases. We’re passionate about providing choice and allowing individual brokers to approach us in a method that works best for them.”

Why is the online portal an exciting opportunity for brokers?

“It’s speedy and simple.

The intuitive UI is designed to allow brokers to quickly and easily build high quality Buy to Let and First Charge mortgage cases, capturing the relevant information as you go through the process in a logical and linear way. Additionally, each case will provide an upfront Decision in Principle so you can see if the case will work for your customer or not.

We’ve built the portal in consultation with a selected group of brokers, of varying shape and size, giving us a cross section that is broadly representative of the networks and clubs adviser community. The upcoming launch, to a select test group of early adopters, will allow us to fine tune the user journey with a wider group, ready for a full roll out.”

What can we expect from the Networks and Clubs team at Together in the coming year?

“A re-engagement with the space. We took a slight step back to look at the service we were delivering to Networks and Clubs brokers and we’ve implemented a lot a really great changes, small and large, aimed at being more supportive and aligned with the community, and enabling positive outcomes for brokers and customers.

A large part of that will be providing access to information and education about our products, and specialist lending in general, to help brokers feel comfortable, knowledgeable and enthusiastic when offering the solution to a customer.

You can also visit our Networks & Clubs members’ page to see how working with Together can make the complex case simple, or learn more about the Nick and the team, their experience and how they provide specialist support to our members here.

Any property used as security, including your home, may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on your mortgage or any other debt secured on it.

Articles on our website are designed to be useful for our customers, and potential customers. A variety of different topics are covered, touching on legal, taxation, financial, and practical issues. However, we offer no warranty or assurance that the content is accurate in all respects, and you should not therefore act in reliance on any of the information presented here. We would always recommend that you consult with qualified professionals with specific knowledge of your circumstances before proceeding (for example: a solicitor, surveyor or accountant, as the case may be).

Lending decisions are subject to an affordability/creditworthiness assessment.

All content factually correct at the time of publishing.

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