Advance notice of new Buy-to-Let and Home Purchase Plan product range and an update on improvements and changes to our application process
Launch of New Product Range
Tomorrow, Tuesday, 15 November 2022, we will be a launching a new range of Buy-to-Let (BTL) and Home Purchase Plans (HPP) products. In addition, we will be making some changes to our application criteria, details of which will be provided in the launch communication.
Improvements and Changes to our Application Process
Following feedback from our intermediary partners, over the past 6 months we have completely reviewed our application process, with a view to improving both the speed and quality of the Broker and Customer journey. As a result, we are delighted to share below the details of the key enhancements and changes that have been made in the following areas and will be effective from 15 November:
- Simplified requirements for supporting documentation
- Underwriting Team structure
- New case discussion call
- Case updates
- New early valuation option
- Validity periods for new business applications
- Enhancement to Credit Check process
- Vulnerable customers
- Country checklist updated
- Declined application process
Simplified requirements for supporting documentation
We have reviewed the documentation that we require to support a Home Finance application and have simplified our requirements in a number of areas. As a result, we have removed the requirement for several proformas to be completed (e.g. ID verification form). We’ve also created just a new single Packaging Guide that outlines the documentation we require, depending on the type of application being submitted and this will simplify our criteria.
View our new Packaging Guide here.
Underwriting Team structure
We have made changes to both the structure of our Underwriting teams and the process they follow. Due to the varied nature of our application types, we have created new Broker facing teams who will deal with either UK or International/Expat cases.
In addition, we have removed the process of taking an application back to ‘new’ if an application is not fully packaged. However, the efficient and timely processing of cases is very much reliant of the fulfilment of all initial tasks and provision of a fully packaged case at the time of submission.
New Case Discussion Call
As part of our improved process, we’re introducing a new ‘discussion call’, where our Underwriters, having undertaken an initial review of case, will call the broker if deemed appropriate.
This will enable the Underwriter to seek additional clarification and avoid raising unnecessary tasks. Where additional evidence is required, an explanation of what is required and why it is needed will be provided.
To further improve our service, once a case is submitted, we have realigned our resource to increase capacity and ensure that we have more colleagues available to provide updates on your existing cases as speedily as possible. The team will be available on our usual 08000 356544 number, via option 2. This will also ensure we free up our Telephony BDM team to support brokers with their new business enquires. With the increased resource in the new support team, the Telephony BDM team will longer be in a position to provide case updates.
New Early Valuation Option
Our standard process will remain with the valuation being instructed after a case has been reviewed and approved by an Underwriter.
However, in response to an increasing number of requests for the valuation to be undertaken earlier in the process, we have introduced a facility to allow a broker to request the valuation and make payment via credit/debit card at the time of case submission. Please note that the option of instructing the valuation at an early stage is at the customer’s risk, as the fee will not be refunded should the application be declined at a later stage. Once the card payment has been authorised, this will automatically raise the request to instruct a valuation to be undertaken.
Validity periods for new business applications
To support us in the management of our application pipeline, we are changing the validity period for a DIP and have introduced validity periods for cases later in the process as follows:
- DIPs – will be valid for a period of 30 days (subject to products not being withdrawn in the interim) and must be converted to an application, signed by customer, within this period otherwise they will automatically be removed from the system after that time.
- All applications will be held at ‘Packaging’ stage and not passed to an underwriter for review until all initial tasks and documentation requirements have been fully satisfied. Cases will be held at the ‘Packaging' stage for a maximum of 30 days, after which they will be cancelled.
- All signed applications must progress to an offer within a 3 month period from the date of receipt by Gatehouse. In the event that applications do not progress to offer within this period, a new application will need to be submitted on the product and criteria terms available at that time.
- Offers – will be valid for a period of 6 months from the date of issue. Upon expiry of the original offer, we will consider reissuing a new offer for a further 6 month period, which will be based on the product and criteria terms available at that time.
A flow chart showing a visual summary of these timing changes can found here.
Enhancement to Credit Check process
We’ve made improvements to the DIP and credit check processes as follows:
When completing the data entry for a DIP, you’ll now notice a new mandatory “Complete Credit Check” button. You’ll then be presented with a confirmation message before we complete our ‘Soft Search’ with our credit reference partner, Equifax. This gives you the ability to validate the applicant’s information before our initial search, and additional clarity when in our process these checks take place.
Once the search has completed, we will then display a list of available products for you to choose from as normal. If we’re not able to confirm any credit reference data, we’ll just ask you to complete a couple of questions instead.
To further improve our ability to meet our collective Vulnerable Customer obligations, we’ve changed our broker portal when completing an application. While entering applicant information, you’ll now be asked to confirm if there is any vulnerability, you and ultimately Gatehouse should be aware of.
If you make a positive selection, we’ll check that you have explicit consent to record the information before asking you to select what type of vulnerability exists. This information will then be highlighted to our teams early in the process, so they’re able to support the applicants in line with your selection.
Country Checklist updated
We have taken the opportunity to review and update our Country Checklist, which details the residents of countries from which we will not consider finance applications. The key changes are as follows:
- New countries which are now acceptable are: Argentina, Azerbaijan, Egypt, Republic of Guinea, Kazakhstan, Lao, Liberia, Nigeria, Tajikistan, Tunisia and Uzbekistan.
- We have added additional countries to the list that are no longer acceptable – please see checklist for full details.
- In addition, we now list countries which are classed as High-Risk Jurisdictions, as referred to in our updated criteria guides where enhanced due diligence may be required.
Click to view our updated Home Finance Application - Country Checklist.
In line with best practice, we will now notify both the customer and the intermediary by email, when a case is declined.
If you have any queries or require further information our team remains available via phone and email, details of which can be found here.
Thank you for your continued support.