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11/01/2021
Working with you – Accord update on coronavirus (COVID-19)

To ensure you can continue to support your clients through the coronavirus pandemic, and in light of the government’s most recent announcement of lockdown restrictions (4th January 2021), we wanted to update you on the measures we are taking to ensure we can offer the best possible service in these unique circumstances.

Residential lending policies

We are currently offering mortgages on the following:

  • Whether your client is purchasing a new property or remortgaging the maximum loan-to-value (LTV) is 90% (maximum term is 40 years)
  • New Build purchases will be accepted up to a maximum of 85% LTV
  • Help to Buy applications will be accepted up to 75% LTV
  • Lending in Northern Ireland is available on our full range of residential mortgage products (purchase, remortgage and including New Build) up to 85% LTV. Please note all applications for NI properties will require a physical valuation.

Buy-to-Let lending policies

We are currently offering BTL mortgages as follows:

  • For BTL house purchases the maximum loan-to-value (LTV) is 80%
  • For BTL remortgages the maximum LTV is 80% LTV
  • First time landlords accepted subject to a maximum LTV of 75%

Applicants on furlough

We are no longer accepting new lending applications from applicants on furlough. Residential and buy-to-let applicants must be back at work before their income can be considered.

Physical valuations

At present, the government has advised physical valuations can continue to take place. All new applications will be subject to a physical valuation where possible, although brokers should be aware that to ensure the safety of all those concerned, appointments will be reduced and specific guidelines adhered to, which could impact timeframes.


 

FAQs


Contacting us FAQs

How can we get in touch with you?

  • Our field-based Business Development Managers (BDMs) are not visiting broker offices for meetings but are still contactable as normal on email and telephone. Scheduled meetings will still be carried out, where appropriate, by telephone or digitally. Please be aware our BDMs are experiencing a record number of enquiries and may take longer to respond to emails and telephone calls. Depending on your query, there are a number of other channels you can use to access information directly. To make sure we can provide a great service for you and your client, please see if your question can be answered below.
  • Our Telephone Business Development Managers (TBDMs) and Business Development Advisers (BDAs) are working from home. This means we are not currently able to offer a telephone response via the usual contact lines. However, to ensure we can continue to answer your queries, we have significantly increased the resource on our webchat service which can provide instant answers to any new lending queries.and ask that you use this facility (available via the website) to enable us to support you.

Getting the most out of webchat

Our underwriting and service teams are still available for processing cases, answering queries and handling procuration fees etc.

Our webchat functionality is available Monday-Friday between 9.00am - 4.45pm.

The underwriting broker support line (0345 166 9208) is open between 9.00am and 5.00pm.

Thank you for your continued understanding during these difficult times and please continue to check this website and our social channels for the latest information.

All our service turnaround times are shown on our website, and residential case updates are available via our MSO case processing system, so please try to only call our underwriters if you have a query that can’t be answered online.

For more information on how best to get in touch with us click here.

 

In progress mortgage applications

My client is self-employed, what is your lending policy?

There have been no changes to our lending criteria or affordability assessments for self-employed borrowers. Check our criteria pages to find out what evidence your client will need to provide.

My client’s mortgage offer is due to expire as a result of coronavirus – can they get an offer extension?

Given the current social distancing measures, we understand many house moves or remortgages will be delayed.

We want to support clients at what’s a very anxious and uncertain time. So, where the offer is due to expire soon, we’ll allow clients to extend their mortgage offer for up to three months. This applies to both residential and BTL remortgage and house purchase applications. If the offer expiry falls before the 31st March 2021 we can look to extend it by a further 3 months. The application needs to be near the expiry date of the original offer before we will start the process.( i.e within a month) which will include:

  • Confirmation from the valuer regarding previous valuation figure still applying
  • Update evidence of income and bank statements and credit score
  • Confirm with the broker there are no  material changes to the application (see below)

If your client’s circumstances have changed since the offer was issued or within this three month extension period, or the terms of the house purchase change significantly, we’ll need to review the offer.

Client changes include:

  • Increase in loan amount
  • Reduction in term (on Capital & Interest)
  • Amendment to customer name/address details causing a new bureau call
  • Verified income is lower than declared
  • Additional costs (for example debts/childcare/ground rent/additional commitments etc.) identified at verification
  • Changes to household composition
  • Change of property
  • Change in repayment type to Capital & Interest

As a responsible lender, we’ve a duty to ensure that continuing with the mortgage won’t cause house buyers to face financial hardship. In these circumstances, we’ll work with your client to help them manage their finances as a matter of urgency.

We’re working through the most urgent cases to ensure extensions are provided where needed. So, please only contact us if you’re within 30 days of your client’s offer expiring.

You’ll be able keep up to date with any changes on here, our social channels and via our emails.

If you’ve any further queries about your case, please contact 0345 166 9208 (Residential) or 0333 414 1100 (BTL)

What is the current Land Registry situation and what does it mean for my client's mortgage application?

England and Wales

The Land Registry is open but experiencing delays in completing any changes to the register. In most cases, this will not impact the time it takes the mortgage to complete. On a very small number of cases, something may need to be updated on the register prior to completion which results in completion being delayed.

Scotland

The Land Registry in Scotland remains closed, however alternative measures have been put in place to allow solicitors to submit registration applications electronically. In most cases, there will be no impact on the time it takes the mortgage to complete. On a very small number of cases something may need to be updated on the register prior to completion which results in completion being delayed due to slower turnaround times at the Land Registry.

Northern Ireland

The Land Registry is open but experiencing delays in completing any changes to the register. In most cases, this will not impact the time it takes the mortgage to complete. On a very small number of cases, something may need to be updated on the register prior to completion which results in completion being delayed.

Do you accept Local Authority Search Indemnity Insurance?

Yes, our underwriters continue to accept Local Authority Search Indemnity Insurance. Whilst Local Authority searches are an essential part of the home buying process, these can sometimes be delayed. If, after discussing the situation with their conveyancing solicitor, your client decides to take out this type of insurance, we will accept it* to enable us to proceed with your mortgage application.

* Subject to the provisions laid out in the UK Finance Lenders handbook which your conveyancing solicitor will confirm.

What about product transfers and additional loans?

If you have a client whose current deal is coming to end and wants to transfer to a new product, they are able to proceed as normal. Our full range of products across all LTVs is still available.

Click here to view our current product transfer range.

Click here to view our current additional loan range.

 

Mortgage payment holidays guidance

 
Latest update on mortgage payment holidays (also known as payment deferrals)

Payment holidays (deferrals) can be taken for up to 3 months at a time, cannot be longer than a total of six months, and must have been applied for by 31st March 2021 and has finished by 31st July 2021.

If your client's account is in arrears, they may be eligible but will need to talk to us to assess this.

 

Payment holiday (deferral) FAQs

Do you have a payment holiday (deferral) policy in place for borrowers who cannot make their mortgage payments due to Coronavirus?

If you have clients who are worried about meeting their mortgage payments, we can offer a variety of solutions to them, including payment holidays (deferrals). We need to make sure the solution we offer is right for your client, so if they are having difficulties and are concerned about their next payment, we would ask that they visit the Accord existing customer website in the first instance to find out the latest information and access our contact details.

Due to extremely high call volumes we are only able to speak to customers in the most vulnerable situations, and who cannot make their next mortgage payment. If clients can make their next mortgage payment, please allow those who need emergency help to receive it. Please ask them to call us when they are facing immediate difficulty. If customers do need to get in touch for urgent support, they should call 0800 138 2401 (Residential) and 0345 848 0225 (BTL).

Do you have a defined policy or is each instance dealt with on a case by case basis?

All cases will be reviewed on a case by case basis.

Would you prefer direct contact or can an intermediary act on a clients’ behalf?

To ensure we can provide the best support, we would advise that customers contact us directly.

How long can payment holidays (deferrals) last for?

The option of a payment holiday (deferral) for up to three months at a time (six months in total) is available for customers who are experiencing issues with their finances as either a direct or indirect result of coronavirus.

Your client must be up-to-date with your payments to be considered for a payment holiday. If their account is in arrears they may still be eligible but we will need to talk to them to assess their circumstances.

If your client has already had a payment holiday but is still experiencing difficulties paying their mortgage due to coronavirus, they can request a further payment holiday for up to three months. They will receive a letter from us which will arrive within 15 days of the payment holiday end date. This letter will outline the impact of the original payment holiday and the other options of support available to them. If your client can afford to re-start their mortgage payments it’s in their best interests to do so.

How quickly can a decision typically be reached?

We are doing our best to support all customers during these unprecedented times. However, the spread of COVID-19 is likely to have an impact on staff levels and applications will be dealt with as quickly as possible. We would urge advisers to encourage their clients to only contact us if they have concerns about immediate payment, not to ask the question speculatively. This ensures we can help those who are in most need.

Once the payments are rolled onto the main balance, will the term be automatically extended or the monthly payments increased?

Customers will still owe the money where a payment holiday (deferral) has been granted and interest will still accrue, so if they are able to make part of their normal mortgage payment to reduce the money they owe or the interest charges then they should consider doing so.

How will the non-payment be recorded with credit reference agencies?

The unpaid interest from your payment holiday (deferral) will still be recovered later, but individual credit ratings will not be affected. However, it’s important to know that credit files aren’t the only source of information which lenders can use to assess creditworthiness.

My client’s mortgage payment holiday (deferral) is ending soon

If your client has taken a mortgage payment holiday (deferral), they will receive a letter in the post from us which will outline all the options available to them.

These letters are being issued a month before the payment holiday is due to end, but allowing for any postal delays, we would expect the letter to arrive 15 days before their next payment is due. To ensure our contact centres can support those customers who need it most, please advise your client that they do not need to contact us unless they have not received a letter and their payment holiday is due to end within the next two weeks.

The letter will confirm:

  • The mortgage payment holiday end date
  • The new monthly payment and how it has been calculated
  • The projected mortgage balance at the end of the payment holiday

It will also outline what next steps they can take, including what to do if their employment status has changed, if they think you might have difficulty making their next payment or if they feel a payment holiday wasn’t the best option for them and they would like to pay back the missed payments by a different means.

Throughout the letter, contact numbers are listed to ensure customers can speak to the right department to discuss their chosen next steps.

If your client can afford to re-start their mortgage payments it’s in their best interests to do so.

How can customers get in touch with you?

As the situation is changing very quickly, please visit the Accord existing customer website in the first instance for the latest updates and if customers need to get in touch for urgent support, they should call 0800 138 2401 (Residential) and 0345 848 0225 (BTL).

We would urge advisers to encourage their clients to only contact us if they have concerns about immediate payment to ensure we can help those who are in most need.


 

New applications and payment holidays (deferrals)

Will a client who is due to complete in the near future be able to take a payment holiday (deferral) after completion?

Yes, provided their income is affected by Covid-19, they will be able to take an immediate payment holiday (deferral) on completion.

Will you require any additional information to support a BTL application?

We are asking brokers to supply a bank statement evidencing rent received and a copy of the tenancy agreement for the property to be mortgaged on every case in order that we can deal with the application as quickly as possible.


 

Product transfers and payment holidays (deferrals)

Do you allow product transfers for clients in an agreed payment holiday (deferral)?

Yes, providing your client is not in arrears and meets our usual criteria, we can arrange a product transfer.

If a client takes a payment holiday (deferral) will this affect future product transfers?

No, providing your client is not in arrears and meets our usual product transfer criteria, they will be able to go ahead with the transfer.

Will I be able to login to my client’s record and complete a product transfer online if they’ve had a payment holiday (deferral)?

We’re currently working on this. In the meantime please use this manual online form to submit a request.


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