How we make your mortgage application straightforward

How is Saffron different from other building societies and mortgage lenders? It’s one of the most common questions I am asked, so I thought I would put pen to paper with an explanation. The simple answer is that we have developed a way of working which minimises the frustration of applying for a mortgage. Whether you are a first time buyer, a landlord looking to expand your portfolio or own your own business, I am confident that you will struggle to find a lender able to compete with our service.

Sarah Howe. Chief Customer Officer.

And here’s why…

We find the most appropriate way to help you

I believe that many financial institutions have lost touch with their role in house buying. A house purchase is the biggest investment a customer is ever likely to make, and as prices continue to rise, with the average now just over £210,0001, people want a straightforward conversation with someone who can provide a well considered response.

We don’t have a standard process or a ‘one size fits all’ approach. Our mortgage advisers will take the time to identify the most suitable way to handle your mortgage and re-mortgage requirements. We have different types of customers coming to us with very different needs. For example, if you are an experienced landlord needing a quick yes or no answer on an investment opportunity, we can provide you with an efficient service. If you are a first time buyer, unsure how the process works, then we’ll give you more time and provide guidance on anything you need to know about getting a mortgage.

We aim to make things easy, simple and straightforward.

For example, in March last year we received an enquiry from a landlord wanting to buy another property. Within five working days we were able to complete the application and offer a mortgage, allowing him to move quickly in a competitive market.

We also know that other people want more than a quick transaction, particularly if this is their first property purchase. If that’s the case, we’ll always take time to answer your questions and help you through the process of securing your mortgage.

How we make mortgages as painless as possible

I feel that too many organisations make it easy for themselves but not for their customers. They design a process which enables them to handle lots of applications as efficiently as possible, but the result can be that different elements of the application are handed to different teams, and customers find it difficult to get answers to their questions or updates on where they stand. It can become too distant and too disjointed.

Adam King. Mortgage Adviser.

We don’t work like that

Providing mortgages to our customers is the most important part of our work. Your mortgage adviser will be your dedicated point of contact and will take complete responsibility. You won’t get tossed around like a rag doll and you won’t be left feeling as if you’ve been shoehorned through a process with little thought about the outcome. All the technical stuff will happen behind the scenes and you’ll only be speaking to a person dedicated to finding you the right solution. There will be no handoffs, no chasing forms and no unreturned calls.

We make commitments to you and take away the pressure

We understand First Time Buyers

The barriers to buying your first home are well documented. Although more first-time buyers got onto the property ladder in 2016 than in any year since 2007, those looking to buy their first property now need to find over £32,000 on average for a deposit2. When you have set your heart on a house you need people who are prepared to be flexible and supportive. You don’t want any surprises, or costs arising that you may not have budgeted for.

We have developed our product range with first time buyers in mind. For example, we have 95% loan-to-value (LTV) products and accept gifted deposits, which makes it easier for your family to help you out. In addition, our website has lots of material designed to help you through the process. Our eight step guide takes you through the house buying process from beginning to end, and we include helpful hints, tips and guidance.

And if you have more questions then your mortgage adviser will be there to help.

We will be honest with you and help you out

Our mortgage advisers will review your finances and not rely solely on a computer credit score. We look at your circumstances and will always lend responsibly. If we don’t feel it’s right we’ll explain why, and look at other ways to help you achieve what you are looking for. We have had customers who have followed our guidance, come back to us after six months in a better position, and were then able to get their foot on the property ladder.

Once, we had a customer who was considering a property with a Japanese Knotweed problem. For those who don’t know, this is an invasive plant which can damage buildings and construction sites if left unchecked. After examining the property we decided that we would be unable to provide a mortgage on this occasion. The customer eventually found another solution and they were able to purchase their new home. They felt that we dealt with the problem in a considerate and professional manner and they recommended us to their friends and family, even though we couldn’t lend them the money.

It’s always disappointing to say no, but we make sure we offer support wherever we can.

Happy First Time Buyers

How is Saffron different from other building societies and mortgage lenders?

As a mutual, Saffron Building Society is owned by you, the members, and exists solely for your benefit. We put all our surplus money back into the Society for the benefit of members, enabling higher interest rates for savers and lower rates for borrowers. What makes us different is that we always try to provide the most flexible, honest and straightforward service available. As some mutuals grow, their focus can sometimes shift to efficiency rather than service. However, our values are rooted in the community and we know it’s our job to support you in your pursuit of a home. We’re not perfect and like everyone, we do make mistakes. But we aim to correct any errors as quickly as we can. If you are having problems, then let us know straightaway and we’ll try to fix them.

I hope the above has helped to explain why Saffron is different, but if you want to know more, please contact us directly.

Sarah Howe
Sarah Howe
Chief Customer Officer


  1. UK House Price Index, Feb 2017.
  2. Sky News, Jan 2017.

Talk to us today

If you want to find out more about how we can help you buy your home, please call us free on 0800 072 1100 to arrange a mortgage appointment

Find out more about our
first time buyer mortgages