2022 will be a bumper year as many fixed product rates are coming to an end, according to Melanie Spencer, business development manager at finova

She believes this will present a prime opportunity for brokers to capitalise on the number of borrowers looking to refinance their property.

Spencer said: “Activity levels will be steady through the year as a constant flow of 5-year buy-to-let mortgage products signed in 2017 following the PRA update are due to mature.

“This, paired with a flurry of activity in the second half of the year when 2-year products were taken out after the market reopened, and activity rocketed following the end of lockdown.”

While promising, Spencer said this increased activity could pose some challenges for brokers. High levels of expiries always come with the risk of losing clients if they go direct to their existing lender rather than working with a broker. Additionally, increased activity can put pressure on broker capacity and lead to a less efficient client service, further heightening the risk.

However, Spencer explained that there are three key steps brokers can take to ensure they are well-positioned to retain clients and make the most of 2022.

For starters, she said technology will be key for brokers to ensure they have the capacity to manage this surge in activity. Technology within the market largely exists to allow brokers to onboard, process and retain new and existing customers digitally, removing all manual processes and increasing efficiency.

Having the right technology can enable advisers to automatically schedule and send a timely stream of personalised customer emails. These remind borrowers when their deal is coming to a close, and provide a chance to promote what new products they could be eligible for.

Spencer said: “By harnessing marketing automation tools like these, advisers can engage with borrowers at key touch points during their mortgage term and, when the time comes, prompt them to renew, which will be key to helping advisers compete for business without adding to their workload.”

In the past, contacting each client coming to the end of their fixed term would have been a manual procedure, which is time consuming and prone to human error, but technology saves advisers a job and delivers an efficient and secure process, according to Spencer.

This is all done without compromising the ‘human touch’, instead allowing advisers to spend their newfound time on other priorities, such as developing their offering and strengthening existing relationships to help them capitalise on the surge of activity.

Ongoing assessment and evaluation of what products a mortgage club offers should always be a priority according to Spencer, but she went on to say that this is made even more relevant by the large volume of customers that are set to reach the end of their current deal this year.

“Having access to products with favourable affordability criteria is especially important now, given the toll the pandemic has had on a lot of people’s finances and more squeezes expected due to the ongoing energy crisis,” Spencer added.

To retain existing customers, Spencer believes that brokers need to provide clients with a selection of products that reflect and accommodate the diverse individual needs and requirements of the market.

She said: “A wide-ranging product choice to suit client needs used in conjunction with a broker’s dynamic one-to-one client relationships and bespoke service is what will set brokers apart from lenders in the competition to win remortgage business.”

When reviewing business processes, Spencer explained that the service an adviser provides is equally as important as the mortgage product they have to offer.

As such, she believes considerations should also be made about their existing work practices and how elements of the mortgage journey are executed. By reviewing the business process, any pitfalls can be highlighted and addressed.

“Advisers should assess their data collection methods, reporting, marketing and retention strategies and how they communicate with their customers,” Spencer said.

By recognising and resolving any obstacles in the process, she thinks mortgage applications will run smoother and the likelihood of a customer seeking a broker to remortgage or transfer to a new product is increased.

Overall, Spencer believes that 2022 is full of opportunities for brokers given the high levels of fixed-term expiries expected through the year.

Spencer concluded: “Lessons can be learnt by past inconsistencies to ensure future operations are more successful.

“With the right preparation, through reflection of products and business processes, and innovation of the mortgage journey with time-saving technology, advisers will be best placed to retain those customers whose existing terms are coming to an end.”