The Nottingham has announced that it will no longer leave a hard footprint on the credit file of those applying for mortgages at the application and decision in principle (DIP) stage.

Instead, the lender has introduced soft searches, through credit reporting company Experian, at the start of the loan process.

This means that a broker can apply for a DIP on behalf of their client, knowing that it will not impact on a credit rating until it is converted into a full mortgage application (FMA).

At the FMA stage, The Nottingham said it will then focus in on factors such as a customer’s income, financial circumstances, if mortgage payments are affordable now and in future, and look more at credit history as part of its policy of responsible lending.

The development was welcomed by The Nottingham’s head of mortgage product, Christie Cook, who took up a new position with the building society in January.

“The introduction of soft credit searches at application stage is really positive for brokers and their clients,” Cook said. “A strong driver for me to come to The Nottingham was hearing about its dedication to reinventing how it does mortgages and this is another great example of that.”

“What’s fantastic is that all this is just the start of an exciting year where there will be more initiatives and products announced, all of which slot nicely into our ethos of listening to feedback from, and being built around, brokers.

“Most importantly of all, the aim is to continue helping people put roofs over their heads – something The Nottingham has been proud to do for over 170 years and that I’m extremely proud to be part of now, too.”