Covid-19 has shifted customers’ borrowing priorities, Masthaven survey reveals

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  • Eight in ten brokers say that flexible lending criteria has become more important for borrowers post-lockdown
  • 28% of brokers expect to see more business from borrowers financially impacted by Covid in next 12 months
New research from Masthaven Bank has found that the pandemic has shifted customers’ priorities when looking for a lender. The survey of 186 brokers found that eight in ten (79%) say flexible lending criteria is now a bigger priority for customers compared to pre-pandemic times. Other factors which have significantly increased in importance are speed (56%), flexible product features (54%) and customer service (52%). Only 26% of brokers said low rates were more important now than pre-Covid.
The greater emphasis on the importance of flexible lending criteria is also highlighted by the fact that over a quarter of brokers (28%) expect to see more borrowers financially impacted by COVID-19 in the next 12 months, including customers who took mortgage payment holidays, have been furloughed or have been put on the government jobs support scheme. Indeed, as government support schemes begin to wind up over the coming months, it’s likely these types of borrowers will require more personalised and flexible lending solutions. A further 19% said they expected more business from borrowers with an impaired credit history.
These latest results reinforce the findings of Masthaven’s last ‘Broker Beat’ survey, conducted at the end of 2020, suggesting that the changes brought on by the pandemic might prove more long-term, shaping the market for some time to come. The 2020 survey also found that one in four brokers (25%) expected to see more customers financially impacted by Covid and that flexible lending criteria was already a key concern for borrowers.
Rob Barnard, Director of Intermediaries at Masthaven, said:
“Today’s findings show that borrowers no longer just want low rates from their lenders. They want flexibility, efficiency and good customer service and there’s no doubt that the pandemic has been a major driver behind this shift in priorities. With so many borrowers financially impacted by Covid-19, many of these individuals are now looking for lenders who have a personal and flexible approach to lending to help them meet their needs.
“While lockdown restrictions may have come to an end, the future still looks uncertain and the full extent of the impact of the pandemic is yet to be felt. However, the housing market has proved itself to be resilient, and by working together, lenders and brokers can ensure borrowers have access to the flexible products they want and need.”
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About the research   
The research was conducted by Masthaven, with 186 individuals working within the specialist lending industry. Respondents were asked questions regarding thoughts on the mortgage market and direction their company will be moving in over the next twelve months.   
About Masthaven Bank
Masthaven launched as a retail bank in 2016 and offers award-winning saving and lending products. Prior to that, Masthaven Finance has provided a flexible and personalised approach to bridging loans and secured lending since 2004.
Today, the bank’s knowledgeable and experienced specialists are committed to providing customers with flexible and fixed term savings accounts, bridging loans, development finance and mortgages. 
Masthaven was recognised as Specialist Lender of the Year (Southern Regions) in the 2021 MoneyAge Mortgage Awards. In 2020 the bank was named the Most Innovative Digital Retail Bank UK by CFI, the third consecutive win for the category. Masthaven won Best Second Charge Mortgage Lender in the Your Mortgage Awards 2018/19 and Customer Service of the Year in the Money Age Mortgage Awards in 2019. It was also awarded Best Specialist Lender in the Moneynet Personal Finance Awards 2019. 
Masthaven Finance has featured in 2015’s The Sunday Times’ Virgin Fast Track 100 (at number 81) and the bank ranked 240 in Financial Times’ FT1000 list published in 2017. In 2020 it featured in Forbes as one of the top 10 fastest growing companies in the UK.
The bank is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and Prudential Regulation Authority.