Equity release lender, more2life, has launched an online lending criteria tool to help advisers determine the likelihood of a successful application for equity release.

By entering basic information about a homeowner and their property, such as the type and value of the property, advisers will be able to see which of more2life’s five product ranges would be best suited for their client within minutes and before they begin the application process.

Stuart Wilson, corporate marketing director at more2life, comments: “Applying for equity release on behalf of a client and having this rejected at a late stage due to a lending criteria issue can be costly and time-consuming for advisers and disappointing for their customers. It’s for this reason that we’ve created our pioneering lending criteria tool – to make the equity release journey more efficient for everyone and take the administrative burden off advisers.”

The online tool compares customer data against more2life’s lending criteria and outlines which of its plans borrowers are likely to be accepted for based on details about their property. By providing advisers with access to the tool even before the application stage, it aims to streamline and improve journey times by reducing any delays due to underwriting challenges and eliminating unforeseen lending criteria issues.

“More people are switching on to the idea of using the wealth in their homes to help meet their financial plans in later life.”

In addition, for any cases where there is an unclear outcome using the tool, advisers will be able to refer the case to more2life’s dedicated expert underwriting team who will help to resolve any queries and consider these harder to place cases in more detail. In 2019, this team managed to get a positive outcome with a loan offer in around 80% of cases that did not meet initial lending criteria checks.

Equity release – popular option

Releasing equity from your home if you are approaching retirement or are retired has become a popular option in recent years and for some, has been a way to fund their retirement other than a private or State pension. But shouldn’t be taken lightly as an option.

At the end of 2019, the equity release market on a strong note with its second highest quarterly sales, according to fourth-quarter figures released by the Equity Release Council (ERC).

Stephen Lowe, group communications director at Just Group, said : “More people are switching on to the idea of using the wealth in their homes to help meet their financial plans in later life – whether that is for extra income, lump sums to help with bigger ticket purchases such as home improvements or giving financial support to their family.

“Equity release is among the most closely scrutinised area of financial services but we welcome the Equity Release Council’s continued focus on pushing up standards further in order to give customers the confidence they need when considering how releasing equity should be part of their retirement planning.”