Mortgage brokers across the UK expect their roles to change over the next 12 months with significant numbers revealing they expect their jobs to be even more demanding and complex, according to a new survey by Virgin Money. 

The research reveals that more than three quarters of brokers expect a change to their role over the coming year.

Of these, almost four fifths (79%) think it will become more demanding with customers needing guidance and some 77% believe it will become more complex with market and customer needs changing.   

Customers with adverse credit most impacted by COVID-19

The survey, which also looked at the changes and support brokers would most like to help them through the COVID-19 pandemic, found that more than half of those surveyed (51%) would like to see improvements to their experience when working with a lender in the form of removal of data entry duplication throughout the journey.

Brokers also said they wanted better options that allow them to manage their clients existing mortgages (56%).

A similar proportion would like to see product improvements from lenders such as bespoke underwriting options (63%) and more innovative products (52%).  

The results follow the recent announcement of Virgin Money’s partnership with Twenty7tec and launch of an API integration which hopes to streamline the search and application process for brokers by removing the need to re-key data in multiple places.  

Nearly all mortgage brokers surveyed (94%) said that the pandemic is having an impact on their business, with 54% saying that this impact is significant according to the research. 

There is anticipation amongst brokers that there will be further change – and impact – in the year ahead, with 90% predicting more change to come.

The main drivers were identified as increased unemployment as a result of COVID-19 (flagged by 80% as key), house price uncertainty (68%), but also improved first-time buyer incentive schemes (39%).   

A tenth (10%) predict a boost in demand as a result of falling interest rates and a further 10% identified a fall in demand from foreign buyers as a result of Brexit.

Other drivers of change predicted include expected restrictions to lenders’ criteria and the end of the current stamp duty holiday. 

Sarah Green, head of mortgage distribution and general insurance at Virgin Money, said: “The research clearly shows that brokers have found it challenging to keep up to date with fast changing market conditions and customer needs.

“As well as navigating uncertainty amongst clients and changes to products, they are also contending with what the future of the mortgage market will look like when furlough and the stamp duty holiday ends.

“Our new partnership with Twenty7tec will make it easier for brokers to submit both decision in principal as well as full applications going forward and is part of its continued focus on how it can best support businesses during the pandemic.

“We aim to be the best partner we can be as the UK navigates through the economic recovery from COVID-19.”