Ipswich Building Society reaches out to ‘mortgage misfits’ on zero hours contracts

Richard Norrington, chief executive of Ipswich Building Society.

Richard Norrington, chief executive of Ipswich Building Society. - Credit: Archant

Ipswich Building Society has changed its lending terms to offer workers on zero hour contracts access to its mortgage products.

Zero hours contract workers often face difficulty in securing a mortgage due to the absence of a fixed number of hours in their terms of employment and, therefore, the lack of a guaranteed regular income.

Ipswich Building Society has long championed the cause of so-called “mortgage misfit” – would-be borrowers whose circumstances don’t meet the standard underwriting criteria of most lenders – and has now moved to include those on zero hour contracts within this approach.

The change in lending criteria is effective immediately and applies across all products to direct applicants and selected brokers.

Richard Norrington, chief executive of Ipswich Building Society, said: “Zero hour contract workers have limited choices for mortgage borrowing.

“We are continuing to improve our products and introduce new programmes to help those who are creditworthy, yet marginalised by mainstream mortgage lenders.

“We believe that ‘mortgage misfits’, such as those who are on a zero hour contract and can demonstrate a consistent income, should have the same level of options and access to the mortgage market as any other applicant.”

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A review of the mortgage market in 2014 introduced new affordability tests which have made made it more difficult for a number of groups to get a home loan, also including those on below-average incomes, the self-employed, single parents and those close to, or beyond, normal retirement age.

The Ipswich Building Society takes the personal situation and income circumstances of each applicant into account by applying manual underwriting procedures, as opposed to “automatic” underwriting systems used by many banks and building societies.

Based on official data showing that more than a third of zero hour contract employees actually work full-time, and that two fifiths have been with the same employer for least two years, the society will now consider mortgage applications from those who are creditworthy in other respects.

In order to be assessed for a loan, zero hour contract workers need to have a minimum of 18 months’ history of working within their role and be able to supply their P60 and three months of payslips along with the other supporting documents required by the society as standard. Further details are available at www.ibs.co.uk/mortgages/for/zero-hour-contracts.