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Vulnerability and your customers – why it’s time to reassess

Andrea Roberts
21st July 2022

Let’s set the scene, you’ve got an affluent fifty, sixty or even seventy-year-old client, they’ve got a mortgage, pension, investments and the last time you spoke all things finance, everything looked rosy. Things can’t have changed that much in the space of a few months right? Wrong.

We know we don’t have to tell you we’re in the midst of a financial crisis and with the cost of living sky rocketing, interest rates going up and off the back of the Covid crisis, relatively minor events and situations could have devastating consequences.

It’s never been more important to revisit vulnerability in all its forms, especially for your older clients. There are some really obvious things like regular check-ins you’ll do as standard, but what other things could you consider?

Firstly, look through a new lens and reassess potential vulnerability.

If your client approached you to take out an interest only mortgage because they didn’t have the means to repay the capital on their existing mortgage, at that point you’ve already helped them overcome a vulnerable situation.

They potentially chose a two, five or even ten year fixed rate, meaning you’ll have diarised regular reviews based on when their rates are due to expire, but have you now considered that at the point their rate ends they may become vulnerable?  

Those who have taken mortgages on fixed term rates might in the past have happily sat on their providers standard variable rate with no issue when their fixed rate ended. But now, belts are tightening, energy bills, food bills and everything in between is costing more, suddenly you have older clients in a potentially vulnerable situation due to big changes in their outgoings. Their pension isn’t stretching as far as it used to, investments and savings are being eaten away with many people working longer or returning to work just to make ends meet.

Little things can make a huge difference and among other things, making sure your customers are aware their fixed rate is coming to an end, as well as what to do next - including the option to re-fix could potentially save them a decent amount of money and stress.

Hodge and vulnerable customers.

What can we do to help? As a lender, we’ll let you know 30 days before we contact your customer that their rate fix is coming to an end so you’ll have chance to get in touch and discuss things with them. From there you can visit our website, download and complete our rate switch form and we’ll then send a mortgage offer to you and your customer. Once we’ve had it returned, we’ll action the rate switch and let you both know that it’s complete.

Benefits for you and your customer

  • No valuation needed – speeding up the process
  • No legal fees – saving time and money
  • No credit checks – no unnecessary waiting
  • No supporting documentation – saving time on admin
  • Procuration fee 0.25% – additional fee for you.

Of course, it’s not just about securing a new rate, when you’re talking them through their options you can use the opportunity to check in on other aspects of their life, if they’re worried about their finances, as the expert you’re in a great position to help.

Pension and benefits is another area you could visit, with clients potentially being unaware they could be eligible for Pension Credit if they have a disability, they care for someone, they have savings or they have housing costs. With Age UK recent research showing three-quarters of older people in the UK – 9.4 million people – are worried about the rising cost of living*, now is the time to make sure your revisiting vulnerability and reassessing what you can do to help.

Talk to a Hodge expert on 0800 138 9109 and see how we can help you support your clients.

*Three-quarters of over-65s worried about cost of living rise | Press release | Age UK.

Andrea Roberts
21st July 2022

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