Mortgage products and advertising

Journalist: Anna Sagar, Mortgage Solutions / Specialist Lending Solutions

ended 05. May 2022

Looking to speak to mortgage brokers about adverts for mortgage products. 

  1. Have you seen adverts for mortgage products that no longer exist? What platforms are you typically seeing them on? 
  2. Has this become more common as products change more frequently? 
  3. What would your advice to customers be around mortgage product adverts?

7 responses from the Newspage community

"Social media is the scourge of financial promotions. It's like the Wild West out here. There are so many adverts that are misleading, inaccurate or disingenuous, mainly across Facebook and Instagram in my experience, and almost exclusively about debt consolidation. For most consumers, the best thing to do is take them with a pinch of salt and if you think it sounds too good to be true, remember that it always will be."
Adverts for specific mortgage deals are very rare in the main, for this very reason, the rates can change quickly and make the advert obsolete. So fortunately, I've not been noticing many adverts showing deals that no longer exist. Adverts for mortgages (or Financial Promotions in FCA speak) are very strictly defined in the regulator's handbook; they are very clear on what you can and cannot say and what supporting wording and figures need to appear, as well as what size font you can or can't use for the 'small print' too. What I do find really frustrating is when adverts, usually on social media, blatantly ignore rules. Getting really good quality mortgage advice is always going to pay dividends, but customers should be aware of anything that looks too good to be true, with mortgages or any other deals they see, because often these will be scams at worst or unscrupulous rogues at best. My advice would be to do some research, go to their website via a browser (don't just follow a link in the advert), look up reviews and you can even go and check them out on the FCA register too. That way you can feel confident you are dealing with a genuine, trustworthy, professional who has your best interests at heart.
When lenders like Santander are changing rates not once but twice in a week the public should take any advert they see with a bucket of salt. Blink and you've missed it. My advice to any member of the public is that it's completely illogical to try to keep up with rates yourself because even professional, qualified brokers with advanced tech, who do this for a living are working round the clock to keep up with rate changes. And guess what, plenty of brokers, like Peak don't even charge a fee for that service. Those that try to sort a mortgage themselves are very probably going to end up on a worse deal than if they'd been to a broker by the time they've waited a number of weeks which seems to be the norm to see a bank or building society advisor. My advice to the public is try not to stress about something out of your control. Go on Google , search for 'mortgage advice' near you and pick who has the best 5 star Google Reviews.
"I have had a couple of experiences where I have sourced a mortgage on Mortgage Brain, and when I have gone on the lenders website to obtain further details, the lender had increased their rates the previous week but not provided this to Mortgage Brain!"
I have seen a few adverts recently advertising rates that no longer exist - these have been mainly on Instagram and Facebook. With the market rising as it is, it is currently very difficult to be confident in putting out specific product information. So perhaps such firms could be given the benefit of the doubt at being 'caught out' with sudden rate withdrawals. However it is their responsibility to make sure that adverts are not misleading and the cynic in me might think it is sharp practise to hoover up enquiries.
It can happen, the lenders are under obligations whether by the FCA or Advertising Standards to be sure adverts are up to date and reflective of a true offer but things move quickly. There is a significant difference in the degree of sophistication by a lot of firms as well. There are large banks with whole marketing divisions and smaller bridging lenders where the MD is taking out the adverts themselves personally. Now that isn't to say the higher the sophistication the more professional - I've dealt with banks that have out of date products (or non-existant) on their own websites that you only find out about when you get in touch with them, or worst case they withdraw the product in the middle of a case, requiring embarrassing moments with clients and a rush to move to the next best thing. Often with a smaller firm, they may have forgotten when they advertised or that they need to take it down or have an only tombstone forever more especially if the adverts get syndicated out across multiple platforms. I myself have advertised in a number of publications and I remain faithful to my obligations to keep the information live and up to date but have since focussed purely on brand building, because to advertise lender products or even just rates, would mean changing the document daily to ensure the rates were always representative of the best deals in the market. It's a full time job in its own right, but one that requires a knowledge of compliance and not just a creative mind.
As I complete my usual morning constitutional whilst sitting on my porcelain throne, I scroll through Facebook and see mortgage products being advertised that are clearly out of date. Rates from 0.99% are available, really, where!! On YouTube lenders are advertising that you can get a decision in principle in 5 minutes, great, go for it, I hope you are not self-employed or had a credit blip. As I see these adverts, I clench harder than an underwriter about to release funds. Currently most sourcing tools are struggling to keep up with the changes, so how Dave down the pub or Tracy on Facebook is managing to keep up, I don't know. Always try and speak to a broker, some a fee free, some charge, most will give good service. Look at reviews, look at their social media and have a chat with them to find out who you would like to work with. You would do the same for a babysitter, so why not do it when it comes to your finances.