The Irritation Game

I’m irritated.

We’re renewing our mortgage with our current providers, who have had the information needed to renew and being customers for several years, they have our track record. You’d be forgiven for thinking this would be easy but it isn’t.

The Jobsworth attitude aside, this is by design. The mortgage market was a big contributor in the economic crash of 2007, with sub prime in the US being the biggest contributor. This has led to the UK market shoring up its lending process and becoming more ‘ethical’ in its lending. What it actually means is that they are forced to take on more risk as a lender and prove they have gone through a load of box ticking to ensure the borrower is able to sustain the mortgage.

The government decided to shore up industry practice, the mortgage industry contracted significantly and out the other side came a string of different processes. There is now more accountability on the lender, surveyors are now given more risk if things go wrong and customers like myself are finding the hoops to go through are getting ever more ridiculous.

First time buyers are finding it harder and harder to get into the property market and initiatives to attract them are finding some success but not massive. There is no real surprise as house prices have stripped inflation and salary increases for many years, so it is no surprise that first time buyers are finding it hard, especially as salaries have not grown much in real terms in the past ten years. House prices have continued to rise with the shortage in housing in the UK, again due to the crash in 2007 in large part.

So what happens now is that we get a list of intrusive questions relating to our finances and more, with the cheeky get asking if we planned to have more children. Flea in ear was dispensed over that one, I can tell you. This goes on and on until they get what they want, inside leg and shoe size, then they give an offer.

I have owned houses since I was 20, with a portfolio of properties that I let out, plus our own house. I am not a newbie and know the game, so I expect some intrusion, giving them the detail they need to get to a decision point, which is our decision. That’s the bit that’s bugging me – it’s our decision on what’s best for us, not some faceless voice 200 miles away.

I did write feedback to Skipton Building Society, as a member and customer of many years, that it was laborious and pedantic, which I expect that if they do answer will be the usual mantra of process and due diligence, with common sense or experience being ignored. I am prejudging but with the actions of one of their employees that they train and manage, I am not expecting a lot in return.

When it comes to money, it appears we are not adults any longer and the process is all governing, the box must be ticked, the backside of the adviser covered. The customer is a number and not considered in the process other than an actor in the dance.

The banks caused mayhem years ago and we are the ones paying for their mismanagement.

Back to my opening sentence: I’m irritated.


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