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We’ve hosted a series of webinars in the past to enhance the knowledge of Second Charge Mortgages. The purpose of them was to give us a real understanding of how we could help and what are the biggest challenges with placing a second charge mortgage.

These are the six most common challenges we identified: 

The absolute basics – “I have never done second charges before”

The unknown is always a little daunting. So, if you have no experience with placing second charge mortgages and have no idea where to begin – you’re not alone. This is something we hear regularly and it’s clear that there are plenty of brokers out there starting from scratch. The biggest challenge for many is actually when to introduce second charges. Also, for those completely new to broking in general, just learning first charge mortgages is already enough to think about – let alone getting to grips with second charges. 

You may have also been a little put off from learning the basics if all you’ve heard are negative things about second charges. Previously known as ‘Secured Loans’, second charges no longer live up to their reputation as a high-risk, high-rate and heavily sub-prime option, with a side of PPI mis-selling. Second charges offer competitive rates at a small premium to first charges, prudent lending with LTVs averaging 59%, with full affordability and income verification. And they are fully transparent, MCOB regulated, with clear terms aiming to treat customers fairly. 

Second charges are used by a variety of mainstream borrowers, for different reasons such as debt consolidation, home improvements, tax debts clearance, 2nd property deposits, school fee payments or business financing.

When to use a second charge mortgage – “Not knowing how to do this or when it is appropriate. I might be missing opportunities”

This is the most regular feedback we received – knowing when a second charge could be suitable as a capital-raising alternative to first charge options, and when they may be missing opportunities.

For experienced brokers, you will likely remember when second charge mortgages became FCA regulated as part of the implementation of the Mortgage Credit Directive (MCD) in 2016, and we’re sure you’ll agree this has improved awareness of the second charge mortgage proposition across the mortgage broking community.

In principle, the MCD means mortgage advisers like yourselves have a duty to consider second charges in situations where it may prove the best option for your client. 

But it’s not easy if you’re not sure how they work and when they are right for the client. So, the awareness may be there, but why and when to use them is a completely different story.

In our first stage of the introductory Second Charge webinar, we start by answering ‘When would you look at a second charge over the first charge options?’

Well, the most obvious situations are ones where a first charge option simply isn’t an option.

That could be because the borrower’s circumstances don’t permit a bigger first charge. For example, they’re self-employed and their lender has tightened lending criteria since they got their first mortgage. Or maybe they’re credit impaired, at salary multiple limits – or need funds in 4 to 6 weeks.

But there are also solutions where a second charge may prove less costly than a re-mortgage, such as substantial ERCs on the existing first charge, or if their first charge is a really good deal that wouldn’t be available if re-mortgaged.

Placing a second charge – “Processing and who to place a case with”

Sometimes just knowing the key steps makes it easier to approach doing your first second charge. Here will illustrate how to place a second charge by working in partnership with a Specialist Finance Distributor like Aria Finance.

1st stage – Client enquiry for raising capital – This stage is entirely in your hands:

  • Listen to your client’s capital-raising enquiry
  • Review first and second charge options
  • If you decide the second charge option is most suitable, inform them, that they are being referred to Aria Finance, who are Specialist Finance Distributor (SFD)
  • Refer to your chosen SFD – Aria Finance

2nd stage – Advising stage – Initial contact

At this point, Aria Finance typically works directly with your client to take them through the advice process, for identifying the best second charge product on the market – still keeping you in the loop as much as you want. 

Steps include: 

  • Initial suitability assessment 
  • Indicative terms

3rd stage – Advice stage – fact-find & sourcing

  • Conduct fact-find with client 
  • Client supplies second charge specific information
  • Reassess case based on full information
    Source and recommend the best fit product
  • Recommended product terms to the client

4th stage – Packaging stage – Processing

  • Sending paperwork with ESIN and checklist of supporting documents to client
  • Reviewing returned paperwork with support documents
  • Instructing valuation and getting first charge consent

5th stage – Packaging stage – Submission

  • Package case submit to the lender
  • Reviews and underwrites case
  • Assessing and receiving any additional requirements and information
  • Conducts security call and confirm security details

6th and final stage – Completion stage

  • Preparing and receiving a signed binding offer from the client
  • Forwarding the signed offer to the lender
  • Confirmation of completion
  • Client receives funs
  • Introducer fee paid to you within 48 hours (and network if appropriate)

In summary, working with a Specialist Lending Distributor means they do a lot of heavy lifting for you. Once you’ve done the primary advice and made the initial referral. If you take a little bit of time upfront to prepare your client before referral, that gives you three key benefits – less client hassle, easier for you, and faster completions.

Positioning to clients – “Getting clients to understand the benefits of a second charge”

This is, to a certain extent, a challenge that can be solved by getting a full grasp of factors 2 and 3 above – how a second charge can meet your client’s needs (better) and what the client can expect as an experience when they go through the process of getting one.

However, added to that is the fact that clients are almost always less experienced with financial products in any form. It’s harder to explain a second charge mortgage to someone who doesn’t even know what a charge is.

To alleviate any fears or worries, it’s also highly recommended to be clear and transparent about the process to improve the chances of it being the smooth experience you suggest it will be. 

Our top tips always include:

  • Setting your clients’ expectations of the involved costs, fees and charges
  • Setting client expectations of documentation required
  • Explain the importance of transparency from the client
  • Explain the importance of completeness of the information
  • Getting consent for credit-checks upfront and sharing the client’s personal data with Aria Finance. Unlike a first charge, second charges use soft credit checks, only leaving a hard mark at the completion stage. This is done at the full application stage by the lender. Aria Finance will do a soft credit search which doesn’t leave a footprint at the initial stages. The hard search will be completed at the application stage and will show on the CRA whether the loan completes or not.
  • Sharing fact-finds with Aria Finance if available, to avoid repetitive questions for your client.

A second charge, if suitable for your client, should solve their needs. But you should be able to explain this in simplified language.

Fees – “Higher rates that first charges and high fees”

This is a frequently raised barrier. The reality is that both fees and interest rates have fallen dramatically in the second charge world, especially post-MCD. Nevertheless, it is important to explain that, as these loans are secured on a second charge, with a lower legal priority than a conventional first charge, they will carry higher interest commensurate with the higher risk that lenders are taking. Further, we also explain that many SFD gives the option for clients not to pay charges such as valuation fees upfront, unlike the first charge world. 

Compliance – “The Paperwork Trail”

This is always something of a challenge across the regulated mortgage world. Aria’s Finance response to this has been to build into our IT systems both process workflows, and system generated and recorded paper trails for searches, sourcing and placement, to aim for a complete-first-time approach to Compliance. In addition, our message to you is that second charges are regulated under the same regime as first charge mortgages, so the paperwork requirements are similar – there isn’t necessarily anything new or different to learn, to participate in the marketplace. Moreover, where Aria Finance is providing advice on any case, we take responsibility for getting the compliance right and making it easy for you.

Although the relatively basic themes still exist as challenges in the marketplace, it’s encouraging to know that the educational programme we are pursuing is addressing the challenges that brokers are facing, and we realise that education is both ongoing and long-term process to which we remain committed.

For more information, contact Aria Finance on 020 3839 9998

Over 20 years of experience

Why choose Aria?

With over 20 years of experience in bridging finance and the specialist distribution industry, our expert team works on your behalf to provide access to market-leading rates with rapid loan completion as standard. We offer one point of contact from enquiry through to completion, always aiming to make the process as smooth as possible.
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