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Jeremy Duncombe, Accord’s managing director, shares his thoughts on the New Year:

Happy New Year! It’s probably been one of the most unusual starts to a new year, but following the year that was 2020, we should hardly be surprised!

However, things are different this time. We are much better prepared, in all aspects, to manage this third lockdown and whilst I’m not suggesting it will be easy, we should have confidence in our resilience and know that we will get through this and emerge even stronger.

To start, unlike back in March, the housing market is still very much open. Estate agents are working, physical valuations are taking place and all those who work within the sector; brokers, lenders, conveyancers etc have all evolved their processes to fit with the change to working environments. This means for the majority of us, it should be business as usual.

From an Accord perspective, as a team we now have tried and tested methods of working in this new environment. All our field-based teams are fully adapted to virtual broker meetings and are continuing to offer support by phone and email. The move to webchat has transformed the ability of our (normally) office-based business development advisers to respond to broker queries on lending and we’ve been able to boost our underwriting teams to ensure we can keep service levels at their highest despite the increased demand we’ve seen in recent months.

We’ve also increased the self-serve options for brokers. MSO allows you to check the status of your case at any time and our website and social channels are regularly updated to reflect all the latest information. Webchat also means you can get the answers you need without having to wait on hold, as well as having a transcript of your conversation for your files.

We’re also constantly reviewing our criteria and product range to ensure we’re offering brokers a range of options for their customers. We know these are challenging times and so we’re standing by our commitment to common sense lending, with a flexible approach to ensure we can support your clients in the best way possible. Things like maintaining our approach to self-employed applicants, accepting indemnity insurance to keep to deadlines, and providing offer extensions for those who may experience delays as a result of the latest lockdowns.

There’s still more we can do to keep improving so keep watching these pages for the latest updates. We have to continue working together to ensure we can help support each other and our customers. We rely on feedback from you, so please do share any thoughts you have with us via your BDM or contact me directly. If we can do things better, we will. Our Growth Series is a key example of this, which has evolved into the award-winning resource purely by the input of brokers on what we should be covering and the topics we should be supporting brokers with. Most recently we have covered the changes to the Help to Buy scheme as well as top tips on client retention, business resilience and supporting first-time buyers in the current climate. Talk to us. We are listening.

So, thank you for your continued support and whilst we know 2021 will have its own set of challenges, we will get through them. Use the tools available to you to focus on looking after your clients, your business and, most importantly yourself.

Good luck for the coming months and here’s to a brighter and better year.


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