Press releases

Complex cases on the rise as advisers complete record number of searches in March

Legal & General’s SmartrCriteria tool tracked a record number of searches last month after volumes jumped 17% between February and March. However, while overall activity continued to increase, the proportion of searches for borrowers with financial complications, such as credit impairments, continued to rise.

11 May 2021

Link to full press release

SmartrCriteria also tracked a 40% uplift in searches for lenders willing to consider borrowers with previous repayment defaults.

Activity in the housing market continued to increase in March, with Legal & General Mortgage Club’s SmartrCriteria tool tracking a record number of searches after volumes jumped by 17% compared to the previous month. This follows HMRC’s latest property transaction data which revealed that residential transactions doubled year on year in March 2021.

However, while activity volumes reached new heights, data from SmartrCriteria searches showed an increase in searches for borrowers with financial complications, such as credit impairments, furloughed income, or multi-stream income. This is reflective of the continued impact of the pandemic in complicating borrowers’ personal finances.

SmartrCriteria’s most searched criteria point last month related to mortgages suited to borrowers with a satisfied default, indicating that many borrowers have retrospectively settled missed payments recently. These searches increased by over 40% between February and March whilst searches for borrowers with outstanding missed payments (unsatisfied defaults) also jumped by 28%.

Similarly, demand for furlough-friendly mortgages remained high and, despite overall volumes having dipped by just over 9%, this was advisers’ second most searched criteria point in March. Furthermore, searches for applicants with a second job increased by 51% last month, a further indication of financial strain on customers.

SmartrCriteria was launched by Legal & General in 2019 and has over 8000 registered advisers, around a third of the intermediary market. The service is free to use, regardless of whether an adviser is a Club member or not.

Clare Beardmore, Head of Mortgage Transformation and Operations, Legal & General Mortgage Club: "While it is clear that various government incentives are driving many to push ahead with their homeownership plans, the rising number of searches for lenders who will accept applicants with credit impairments and multiple income streams shows that the economic impact of the crisis continues to be felt by many. While activity in the housing market may be high, advisers are increasingly needing powerful tools to help them progress complex cases.

Our sourcing technology continues to be an ally to intermediaries, helping them match clients with lenders no matter their borrowing needs. We remain committed to introducing further improvements to the proposition and look forward to delivering additional product enhancements to help intermediaries through this current busy period and beyond."

Notes to editors

Established in 1836, Legal & General is one of the UK’s leading financial services groups and a major global investor, with £1.2 trillion in total assets under management (as at FY23) of which c40% (circa £0.5 trillion) is international.

We have a highly synergistic business model, which continues to drive strong returns. We are a leading international player in Institutional Retirement, in Retail Savings and Protection, and in both public and private markets through our Asset Management division. Across the Group, we are committed to responsible investing and dedicated to serving the long-term savings and investment needs of customers and society.

As at 7 June 2024, we estimate the Group’s Solvency II coverage ratio to be 224%.

As at 11 June 2024, Legal & General has a market capitalisation of £14.6 billion.

Legal & General Insurance (LGI) has been offering life insurance cover since 1836 and is the UK’s number one individual life insurance provider. Our group protection business in the UK offers life insurance and income protection products to individuals through their employers and we offer term-life insurance in the US. We now have over 5.5 million UK life insurance customers, 1.8 million people in group protection schemes and approaching 1.3 million US term-life insurance policyholders. Here in LGI, we protect our customers and their loved ones throughout life and death.

*at 31 Jun 2021