Some mortgage brokers don’t know who their friends are…

Recently I’ve had a couple of nasty emails from mortgage brokers. Now I’m used to insulting comments from some businesses, mainly because showing people how to save money means that businesses lose out, often due to haggling.

Yet with mortgage brokers I tend to be in favour, and have strongly recommended them for many years. I have had many nice e-mails too. That’s why emails, such as this one sent to the site, are a little unfair, and out of order.

“Dear sir/Madam,

That’s it, I and my colleagues have simply had enough of Mr Lewis’s open abuse of Mortgage Brokers. I find it unacceptable and unprofessional to offer our services to the public as a “quick way to get free advice and an overview of the market”.

Why I would give my services for free I’m not sure, but will cretainly expect to see his fees for any recent interviews donated to charity.

What a hypoctritical zealot Mr Lewis is.

Your’s hoping he falls off something high up. ”

I’ve withheld his name. Normally I ignore them, yet this was a step too far, so I thought it would be useful to send a response and publish the dialogue.

My response:

“Thank you for your email. I shall ignore the nasty and unpleasant tone and respond to your substantive point. Though, I must say, if all mortgage brokers took your tone, I certainly wouldn’t feel comfortable suggesting anyone went to see them…

I am a huge supporter of mortgage brokers.

For the last seven years, my main statement on how to get a mortgage has been simple: “don’t go to a bank or building society, but use a mortgage broker”. I’ve done this in print, on TV, on radio, on the web, in magazines and in my books. This is a constant mantra. How on earth you equate this to your accusation of “open abuse of Mortgage Brokers” I have no idea!

Large numbers of people use mortgage brokers due to this site/my media appearances.

I genuinely believe I’ve had a positive impact on the number of people using mortgage brokers for advice. I constantly meet people and they say “I got my deal through a mortgage broker as you recommend” – someone said that to me on a radio programme the other day. In fact, even your trade magazine, Mortgage Strategy, had a piece commenting on the fact I was doing this only the other week.

I make no apology for being specific about the type of advisor.

I of course do push people towards ‘whole of market’ brokers, I believe that is the appropriate thing to do and the minimum standard of quality required.

I prefer fees free brokers.

I also favour fees free, as there are many good fees free brokers out there who are whole of market. This seems to be the crux of your problem. Yet the rules are quite simple for me: if good advice exists without paying for it, then why pay?

I certainly don’t ask you, as you suggest, to “give your services for free”. As we are both aware, fees free brokers make money from the proc fee. And I don’t suggest you need to become a fee free broker, but this is MONEY SAVING EXPERT. The title’s self explanatory, and that’s why people come here.

Funnily enough, recently I’ve actually made it plain that if you like your advisor and they charge a fee, then its fine. Though of course finding a fees free one you like would be even cheaper.

Of course I tell people to compare the non-broker lenders.

Currently HSBC’s rate matcher deal is market leading for some people. My suggestion, as I believe wholly appropriate, is to compare the best of its deal versus the best your broker offers you and go with the cheapest. I cannot see anything inappropriate about this. This is the best info and that’s what I aim for. In fact, recently, I’ve some emails from brokers telling me that they’re starting to suffer with so many direct to market deals – that giving good advice is difficult.

Even so, I think for most people the broker route is a positive experience, though widening to others deals is a very good belt and braces idea.

I hope I have addressed your points in this email. You are not the first to raise the point, but you’re certainly the most abusive. I will be publishing your e-mail and my response on my site as I think it’s appropriate people see the rent-seeking behaviour that is going on.

I genuinely believe I am a strong supporter of the mortgage broker industry; way and above any other advisers, including IFAs. To get abuse like this is unwarranted. My remit is simple: to try and save people money. I wholeheartedly believe this is the best way to do it.

As a by-product, I believe the mortgage broker industry gains. Yet you can’t pick and choose; you can’t have it that I simply say ‘use a mortgage broker’, without qualifying the way I believe it is best to do so.

Martin Lewis

Comment and Discuss