Covid-19 has shifted customers’ borrowing priorities

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Broker survey

New research from Masthaven Bank has found that the pandemic has shifted customers’ priorities when looking for a lender.

The survey of 186 brokers found that eight in ten (79%) say flexible lending criteria is now a bigger priority for customers compared to pre-pandemic times.

Other factors which have significantly increased in importance are speed (56%), flexible product features (54%) and customer service (52%). Only 26% of brokers said low rates were more important now than pre-Covid.

The greater emphasis on the importance of flexible lending criteria is also highlighted by the fact that over a quarter of brokers (28%) expect to see more borrowers financially impacted by COVID-19 in the next 12 months, including customers who took mortgage payment holidays, have been furloughed or have been put on the government jobs support scheme.

Indeed, as government support schemes begin to wind up over the coming months, it’s likely these types of borrowers will require more personalised and flexible lending solutions.

A further 19% said they expected more business from borrowers with an impaired credit history.

These latest results reinforce the findings of Masthaven’s last ‘Broker Beat’ survey, conducted at the end of 2020, suggesting that the changes brought on by the pandemic might prove more long-term, shaping the market for some time to come.

The 2020 survey also found that one in four brokers (25%) expected to see more customers financially impacted by Covid and that flexible lending criteria was already a key concern for borrowers.

Rob Barnard, Director of Intermediaries at Masthaven, said:

“Today’s findings show that borrowers no longer just want low rates from their lenders.

They want flexibility, efficiency and good customer service and there’s no doubt that the pandemic has been a major driver behind this shift in priorities.

With so many borrowers financially impacted by Covid-19, many of these individuals are now looking for lenders who have a personal and flexible approach to lending to help them meet their needs.

While lockdown restrictions may have come to an end, the future still looks uncertain and the full extent of the impact of the pandemic is yet to be felt.

However, the housing market has proved itself to be resilient, and by working together, lenders and brokers can ensure borrowers have access to the flexible products they want and need.”