Legal and General Mortgage Club has launched an affordability calculator that ties-in with its criteria search system.
The SmartrFit tool has gone live with 17 residential lenders from the mortgage club’s panel, including all the big six, with a further 14 expected to be added in the next couple of weeks (see list below).
A buy-to-let version will be launched next year with the mortgage club expecting this to be in Q1, and the intention is to have all lenders from its panels available through the system.
Access is free to mortgage club members or to those advisers with a Legal and General agency, such as for protection.
Legal and General Mortgage Club director Kevin Roberts (pictured) told Mortgage Solutions the way it had developed the tool meant it could bring in more smaller lenders.
“It’s not just screen scraping of lenders’ websites,” he said.
“We’ve built our own aggregator and lenders have been sharing their own affordability rules with us and putting them on our system, which I think is quite unique.
“Some lenders will be screen scraping, some will be their affordability via API link, but it means smaller lenders who haven’t got their own calculator or aren’t eligible for screen scraping, we are able to bring them in.”
Combine affordability and criteria
The calculator tells advisers which lenders match their clients’ particular circumstances and the maximum loan amount they would offer.
It also carries out 11 criteria checks when calculating affordability to determine whether a particular lender matches the borrower’s requirements.
Having done this initial criteria search, the results can then be filtered using a deeper criteria search.
The tool also allows advisers to see why a particular lender was a match, helping to evidence selections for particular products.
Roberts noted it had been a big step for the lenders who had shared data with the club and he also thanked his team for their efforts developing the software during the pandemic.
“The key concern in March was would Legal and General keep funding it as everything was being reviewed back then, but I’m really lucky to have the support of a group who are really behind it,” he said.
“The only message I got from the group was that they really like this and can we go harder and faster.”
Lender criteria evolving rapidly
In a survey of advisers conducted by the mortgage club since the reopening of the market, 37 per cent of advisers said a typical mortgage application was taking at least four weeks to move from application to offer.
In contrast, pre-pandemic, half of advisers said straightforward cases were only taking one to two weeks.
For more complex cases, 44 per cent of advisers said it was taking at least six weeks to offer since the re-opening of the mortgage market.
In part, these delays have been the result of keeping up with ever-changing product criteria as lenders withdrew and relaunched products to market due to the impact of Covid-19, the club noted.
Lenders live on the system at launch are:
Halifax, Nationwide Building Society, NatWest, Santander, HSBC, Barclays, TSB, Accord, Coventry Building Society, Scottish Widows Bank, Precise, Progressive Building Society, Darlington Building Society, Hinckley & Rugby Building Society, Saffron Building Society, Tipton and Coseley Building Society and Swansea Building Society.
The second wave of lenders due to be added shortly includes: Skipton Building Society, Bank of Ireland and Post Office, Kensington, Pepper, Hanley Economic Building Society and Vida Homeloans.
A further dozen lenders hope to be included on the system by the end of the year.
Owain Thomas is features and contributing editor of Mortgage Solutions and editor of Specialist Lending Solutions.
He also has experience in the protection, pensions, workplace benefits and HR areas.
Owain has won two Headline Money Awards and the Protection Review’s Journalist of the Year award.