Be in it to win it – call for nominations
The nomination process for the 13th annual Mortgage Finance Gazette Awards is drawing to a close with a deadline of 28 September 2012. Readers are invited to put forward organisations, and individuals, that deserve recognition
It’s time for readers to start thinking about nominations for the Mortgage Finance Gazette Awards. There are a variety of awards for organisations to put forward their nominations, which will then be independently judged by a panel of industry experts.
Although mortgage lending is subdued, and has been for some time, there is still plenty going on in the industry. Mortgage lenders and suppliers have been working hard and the MFG Awards aim to acknowledge the efforts of people and companies.
There are some good stories out there, so why not share them with us and the mortgage lending industry.
We are seeking those lenders and financial services companies that have some positive news to share. We want to find those organisations that deserve to be recognised for attributes such as innovation, community services, customer service, environmental credentials, best use of arrears management, best use of technology and best anti-fraud service.
From an individual perspective there are two awards - the Leadership/Ambassador Award is for a stalwart within the industry who is at the forefront of business; and the other is the Individual Achievement Award for anyone within the sector who goes beyond the call of duty.
As they say down at the national lottery, “you have to be in it to win it,” so to be considered for the Mortgage Finance Gazette Awards you must place an entry explaining why you think you should win the award or awards you are interested in. The criteria for each award are explained over the next couple of pages.
In addition to the nominated section there are also awards for best lenders in various categories – banks, building societies, online providers, buy-to-let, equity release and intermediary lender. These awards will be based on detailed statistics from independent financial research company Defaqto.
Some of the categories are divided into ‘large lenders’ and ‘small to medium-sized lenders'. As a guide we are suggesting that larger lenders are classed as those with total assets or total mortgage balances outstanding of £5 billion plus. This means the large lenders are likely to be among the top 25 in size.
But you don’t necessarily have to be a mortgage lender to enter some of the categories. For the past three years we have opened the awards out to non-lenders, which can be any company involved in the mortgage sector. So this could be mortgage intermediaries, law firms, IT companies, insurance companies and other suppliers.
We encourage organisations to put themselves forward backed up with good reasons for your entry. You only need to supply a page or two of A4, please don’t send in reports that are 50 pages long!
The awards will be presented at an evening celebration in London in November and all finalists will be invited to attend.
The categories for the awards are described here. A list of the categories can be found at the end of this article or click here.
Innovation of the Year Award
The Innovation of the Year Award is open to lenders and non-lenders. Innovation can relate to mortgage products, delivery channels, the use of technology to improve business efficiency and customer relationships, and ways of working with and managing people.
Last year’s large lender winner was Nationwide in conjunction with dbda who developed an interactive, online First Time Buyers’ Guide.
Highly commended was Yorkshire Building Society’s intermediary lender Accord Mortgages for its Hybrid Tracker to Fix Mortgage developed in partnership with Concordia.
In the small to medium size lenders’ category the winner was Newbury Building Society for its Friend of First-Time Buyers range of initiatives for local first-time buyers.
Highly commended was Darlington Building Society for its free to download iphone app.
The winner in the non-lender category was myhomemove for its interactive eWay conveyancing service - a secure online casefile that contains copies of all relevant conveyancing documentation.
Countrywide Conveyancing Services was highly commended for its separate representation service to mortgage lenders where cases go through a workflow-based case management system.
Also highly commended was xit2 for its Arrears Management Portal - a secure web based communication system that allows lenders to send bulk electronic instructions to field agents.
Community Services Award
This award recognises work in the voluntary sector, to which many financial services organisations are very committed. Both lenders and non-lenders can enter this category.
Although financial contributions and fundraising are important criteria, so is staff involvement, voluntary activities and community spirit. Your entry could refer to one really worthwhile project or it could be a series or selection of credible, or indeed incredible, events. Judging may not necessarily be based on one particular project but on the sum of the parts and the role community service plays in the corporate identity of the organisation.
It’s hard to beat Darlington Building Society in the small to medium size lenders’ category, as it has picked up this award numerous times. Last year Darlington won the award for its support of the Armed Forces including an exclusive mortgage product for service personnel, supporting the Durham Light Infantry Memorial Appeal, and coming to the financial rescue of a Memorial and Thanksgiving Service for soldiers returning from Afghanistan.
Leeds Building Society picked up the large lender award for its wide ranging, non-stop support within the communities where the society operates. While the sums generated are in millions, it is the contribution of staff who give their time and expertise that really makes the difference.
Customer Service/Treating Customers Fairly Award
Treating Customers Fairly is a major initiative of the Financial Services Authority. It was introduced five years ago so by now organisations should have their TCF policy embedded within their culture. Therefore we are changing the title of this award to incorporate customer service in general. This category is open to mortgage lenders and non-lenders.
Customer service can cover many aspects of how an organisation interacts with the people it does business with. This could be about innovative ways of working with customers, how do you enhance the level of customer satisfaction, do your products and service levels meet customer expectations? Or you could just explain how you live and breathe your TCF policy.
The lender winner last year was Teachers Building Society which has TCF ingrained into its culture with on-going training, a special mailbox for confidential emails so staff can give feedback; and TCF forms part of the personal development review process, against which all staff are rated.
In the non-lender category LSL Corporate Client Department demonstrated how its TCF policy is part of the culture of the company from staff training to systems, auditing and complaints handling. It was also the first asset manager in the UK to secure ISO 9001:2008 accreditation.
Best Debt and Arrears Management Strategy Award
We are resurrecting this award and opening it up to lenders and non-lenders, which could include asset management firms, or even a joint entry from lenders working with suppliers.
Arrears and repossessions are a problem but many lenders are doing their best to keep borrowers with a roof over their heads. If you have a good arrears management or forbearance strategy that’s helping people, share your success with us.
This award can be for anything to do with the environment from green mortgage products to organisations improving their carbon footprint, recycling schemes or climate change initiatives.
Last year the winner was Ecology Building Society for its C-Change Retrofit discount mortgage scheme, which offers discounts for improvements achieved in a home’s Energy Performance Certificate.
The year before Leeds Building Society picked up the award for its head office refurbishment programme which includes a roof top garden and beehive.
Best Use of Technology
This award is open to both lenders and suppliers, either individually or as a team. For example, it could be a joint nomination from a lender and a technology provider who have worked well together. Alternatively, perhaps a supplier has been successful with a number of lenders because of its systems.
What the judges will be looking for is evidence of a positive outcome through the use of technology. This might mean the best use of technology has resulted in business growth or customer service has excelled or processes have become easier. These are just examples as this award covers the whole spectrum of IT within mortgage finance.
The winner of the Technology Providers category last year was Phoebus Software who had developed its migration and integration mortgage solution so clients can take on new portfolios very quickly.
Avelo and Nationwide for Intermediaries won the Lenders and Technology Providers category. They worked in partnership to build a replacement solution for all Nationwide’s mortgage sales and origination systems (MSO). It was then phased in across the society initially through the Nationwide intermediary mortgage business, then the branch network, call centre and online consumer channel.
Best Anti-Fraud Service
Fraud is a huge problem in today’s world, especially since the start of the credit crunch when the extent of mortgage fraud became more visible. But financial organisations are trying to combat this growing menace and we want to hear about the best solutions to tackle fraud.
This could be mortgage fraud or phishing or ID fraud or any other type of financial fraud where organisations have put in measures to reduce fraud or stamp it out. Again this could be a joint nomination between lender and supplier or separate entries.
The winner last year was Quest for its Q-Guard fraud detection and prevention suite that forms part of a lender’s risk management strategy. Q-Guard applies intelligent pattern-matching techniques and data analysis to assist in alerting the lender to potential areas of risk.
Best Law Firm
All lenders need legal advice so this category is aimed at law firms that work in partnership and offer excellent service to their lender clients.
Last year’s winner was Optima Legal, which specialises in property and secured debt recovery services for the lending market. It has piloted and tested a number of initiatives with lenders. Identifying the failure of legal firms to register charges before its clients, Optima established a Title Rectification Service software programme that carries out due diligence with the Land Registry. This checks whether the client's lending and their borrowers were registered correctly.
Individual Achievement Award
This award is open to anyone, irrespective of where they are employed in the hierarchy, who has succeeded in their work or career in difficult circumstances or undertaken an individual challenge or challenges that are out of the ordinary. In the past it has been won by people who work tirelessly for their local community through fund raising or giving of their time to helping others or have been brave in the face of adversity.
There are individuals out there who truly do some amazing things, so why not nominate a colleague who has gone beyond the call of duty.
This is in recognition of diplomatic and spokesman skills which have reflected well on the industry generally, as well as on the recipient’s own organisation. It also incorporates leadership qualities where the nominee can focus their organisation on its corporate goals and direct the management team and business effectively. Nominees for this category are likely to be quoted frequently by the media and seen addressing conferences and other events.
HOW TO NOMINATE
If you would like to nominate someone or an organisation for the MFG Awards - and you can nominate your own organisation - here is what to do:
- Send in your name, organisation, postal address, phone number and email address.
- State the award you are nominating for.
- Give the reasons for the nomination. We want to make the nomination process simple, so there is no need for a lengthy explanation, although any background documentation may be helpful. We suggest keeping your reasons quite short, within a page or two of A4 will suffice.
Getting your nominations to us
Email your nomination to the publisher Dan Miller at email@example.com.
Or post your nomination to Dan Miller, Publisher, Mortgage Finance Gazette, Metropolis Business Media, 6th Floor, Davis House, 2 Robert Street, Croydon CR0 1QQ.
The closing date for nominations is Friday 21 September 2012.
If anyone wants any more information on the awards please feel free to email the editor, Joanne Atkin at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 0208 253 8618, or the publisher, Dan Milller at email@example.com or phone 0208 253 4608.
You can see more detailed descriptions of last year’s winners and highly commended organisations here.
How the awards work
The judging panel will include journalists from the national press, industry experts, and the editors of What Mortgage and Mortgage Finance Gazette. Statistics will be provided by Defaqto, the independent financial research company. The judges’ decision is final.
The December edition of Mortgage Finance Gazette will feature full coverage of the awards presentation and the winners.
The closing date for nominations is Friday 21 September 2012.
MFG AWARDS – AT A GLANCE
Mortgage lenders and product providers – call for nominations
The following awards are for readers to nominate organisations or an individual.
Innovation – lenders and non-lenders
Community Services – lenders and non-lenders
Customer Service/Treating Customers Fairly – lenders and non-lenders
Best Debt and Arrears Management Strategy – lenders and non-lenders
Environmental Award – lenders and non lenders
Best Use of Technology – lender and/or supplier
Best Anti-Fraud Measure - lender and/or supplier
Best Law Firm – law firms
Individual Achievement– an individual within the mortgage lending industry
Leadership/Ambassador– an individual within the mortgage lending industry
Product provider awards
The product provider awards do not require nominations, they will be chosen from statistics compiled by independent financial research company Defaqto.
Best Overall Lender
Best National Bank
Best National Building Society
Best Regional Building Society
Best Local Building Society
Best Lifetime Mortgage Provider
Best Buy-to-Let Mortgage Provider
Best Adviser-Only Lender
Best Online Lender
Best Insurance Provider