Maintaining 'business as usual' during the coronavirus pandemic

Bob Young | Fleet Mortgages
20th March 2020
Bob Young Fleet
"We often talk about the resilient nature of the advisory profession and I suspect we will see this in spades over the coming weeks and months."

I suspect that many minds might be elsewhere at the moment because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and what that might mean to all of us personally and in a business sense.

We can’t get away from that however it’s such a fast-moving situation that to write about it in any detail here risks me being out of date before such a piece has even been published. Look at how quickly things have changed in Continental Europe and you’ll perhaps understand what might be coming down the track for the UK – we shall have to wait and see.

However, what we should all know is that while there are inevitably going to be short-term bumps and obstacles to overcome, over the medium- to long-term the requirements of the mortgage market should not change.

We of course will have to consider the situation of our borrowers (and their tenants) when it comes to their mortgages, but that has always been the case and, as a specialist lender, we believe it’s our duty to look at individual circumstances rather than operating a one-size-fits-all approach which might be wholly inappropriate for many.

And of course we have to continue to work with our advisers, distributors, networks, packagers, and the like, because I’m 100% confident that they’ll be seeking to operate business as usual, or as near as damn it, in the weeks and months ahead. We often talk about the resilient nature of the advisory profession and I suspect we will see this in spades over the coming weeks and months.

One of the true positives of the profession of mortgage advice is that it need not be a face-to-face service provision, and while many advisers would obviously like to continue meeting with clients in such a way, if that’s not possible, then there are plenty of ways and means to continue giving advice and to continue placing cases and securing mortgages for their clients.

At our end, the challenge of course is to maintain all our channels to provide advisers with all the services they are used to receiving from us, and for a lender to keep operating a business as usual model when it might be the case that significant numbers of staff are not working within the office itself.

Again, technology will be utilised to its fullest here and we’ve run a comprehensive review and have in place a contingency plan should staff members need to work from home.

Lenders like ourselves have always had employees working remotely anyway, with our regional BDMs, etc, away from the office, so we’re ensuring that all others can work in this manner if need be, and we’ll work as per usual via phone and email to ensure that we’re fully available to deal with advisers‘ queries, questions, and cases, regardless of whether individuals are working within our office environment.

We’re also setting up WhatsApp groups for each regional BDM and advisers can join those to speak with their peer group, or to ask questions/seek information and support from their specific contact.

I don’t think anyone here underestimates the significant challenges that will be presented over the next few months. It is clearly not ideal by any stretch of the imagination and is unprecedented, but our paramount concern has to be everyone’s health and safety, and that of their families. We don’t want to take any undue risks and I’m sure everyone will understand what that might mean in terms of the business and workplace going forward.

However, rest assured, we’ll continue to be fully operational and available to work with our adviser partners – one suspects that they won’t stop advising and working and neither will we. If you would like to discuss any aspects of existing and future casework, then please do not hesitate to contact either your regional or telephone BDMs – we will be happy to help and talk you through our process and the next steps. We are most definitely here to help and support you.



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