December 19 could be biggest settlements day in history

December 19 could be biggest settlements day in history

Brokers, banks and processing companies have been “inundated with mortgages” as pressure builds to convert spring sales into pre-Christmas settlements.

ME Bank’s national manager of brokers, Stewart Saunders, said the mutual had been a little surprised by just how many loans started arriving on Monday 1 December.

“The first week of December for us was an all-time record week, which would’ve been 30 per cent more settlements than we’ve ever had in a week,” he toldThe Adviser.

“We’re expecting very strong settlements this week, with the 19th of December geared to be one of the historic days in the history of settlements.”

First Mortgage Services’ general manager of sales and relationships, Chris Evans, said the mortgage processing company had experienced a surge from the last week in November.

“December gets really busy because everyone wants to go on holiday, so they want to get rid of as many files as possible and bring settlements early,” Mr Evans said.

“Also, people want to move in while they’re having holidays, so we’ve been inundated with mortgages and queries.”

Mr Evans said December volumes are usually about 20 per cent above First Mortgage Services’ monthly average.

“That puts a lot of pressure on, because there are only so many staff to go around. We’re doing overtime almost every night and weekend work to keep up,” he said.

“But keep in mind we’ve got to prepare the documents, the documents then have to be signed by the customers, returned to us and then we’ve got to book it in. So we get really busy from the beginning of November.”

Smartline executive director Joe Sirianni said the Christmas deadline puts enormous pressure on brokers.

“They’ve just got to work harder and longer. There are no shortcuts. It’s a difficult time of year, because you’re trying to balance family things with work,” Mr Sirianni told The Adviser.

“These days, most banks are clear about what has to be lodged by what date to settle prior to Christmas. They have clear cut-out dates, so if it hasn’t been lodged by a certain date then it won’t settle.”

Mr Sirianni said if previous years are anything to go by, activity will slump after Christmas and remain subdued until the Australia Day long weekend.

Acknowledgement: Story by Nick Bendel From: The Adviser