Uncovering the Strictness of Santander Underwriters: A Comprehensive Guide

Navigating the mortgage application process can be daunting, especially when dealing with the stringent underwriting practices of lenders like Santander. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll delve into the intricacies of Santander’s underwriting process, shedding light on their level of strictness and equipping you with the knowledge to increase your chances of mortgage approval.

Santander’s Lending Criteria: Strict or Flexible?

According to Online Mortgage Advisor, Santander is just as strict as other high street banks and building societies when it comes to their mortgage lending criteria. However, their level of strictness may vary depending on certain factors, such as:

  • Bad Credit: Santander can be particularly strict with applicants who have severe adverse credit, such as a default in the last 12 months or a recent County Court Judgment (CCJ).
  • Self-Employed Applicants: If you’re self-employed with declining profits, you may face increased scrutiny during the underwriting process.
  • Non-Standard Construction Properties: Santander may decline applications for properties with non-standard construction types, such as single-skin or non-repaired prefabricated reinforced concrete.
  • Age Limits: Applicants aged 70 or over may find their mortgage application declined due to Santander’s age restrictions.
  • Gambling History: Like many high street banks, Santander takes a cautious approach to applicants with a history of frequent and recurring gambling transactions.

It’s important to note that while Santander’s criteria may seem strict in certain areas, a knowledgeable mortgage broker can help navigate these challenges and potentially secure approval from alternative lenders with more flexible criteria.

The Underwriting Process: A Closer Look

To better understand Santander’s underwriting process, let’s examine the insights shared by a mortgage advisor on the Money Saving Expert Forum:

  1. Initial Document Check: The first stage involves verifying that the documents submitted match the requested documents. This step ensures that all necessary paperwork is in order before moving to the next phase.

  2. Underwriting Stage: The second stage is the actual underwriting process. Santander uses a risk modeling system to determine the level of underwriting required for each application. Factors such as self-employment, large loan size, undisclosed debts, and other risk indicators are taken into consideration.

  3. Random Review: In rare cases, even after an application has been approved, Santander may conduct another review. However, this is typically done randomly to assess the underwriter’s work rather than reevaluating the applicant’s case.

It’s worth noting that the underwriting process can be expedited for straightforward applications, while complex cases involving adverse credit or unconventional income sources may take longer to process.

Tips for Navigating Santander’s Underwriting Process

To maximize your chances of success when applying for a mortgage with Santander, consider the following tips:

  • Be Transparent: Provide accurate and complete information from the outset. Withholding or misrepresenting information can lead to declined applications or withdrawn offers.
  • Gather Supporting Documents: Ensure you have all necessary documentation ready, such as proof of income, employment history, and credit reports.
  • Seek Professional Advice: Consult with a reputable mortgage broker who specializes in dealing with Santander’s lending criteria. They can guide you through the process and increase your chances of approval.
  • Address Potential Hurdles: If you have adverse credit, are self-employed, or have any other factors that may raise concerns, be prepared to address them proactively and provide supporting evidence.
  • Be Patient: While Santander aims for a quick turnaround, complex cases may require more time for underwriting. Remain patient and responsive to any additional requests for information.

Remember, even if Santander declines your application, there are alternative lenders and options available. Working with an experienced mortgage broker can help you navigate these challenges and find the best solution for your specific circumstances.


Santander’s underwriting process is indeed strict, especially when it comes to certain factors like bad credit, self-employment, non-standard construction properties, age limits, and gambling history. However, by understanding their lending criteria, gathering the necessary documentation, and seeking professional guidance, you can increase your chances of a successful mortgage application.

Ultimately, being prepared, transparent, and working closely with a knowledgeable mortgage broker can make all the difference in navigating the strictness of Santander’s underwriters and achieving your homeownership goals.



Are Santander mortgage lenders strict?

Santander is an established lender with a reputation for providing competitive mortgage rates – often at rates below the market average – as well as potentially generous income multiples for those with higher earnings. That said, the bank is unlikely to offer you a mortgage if you have a history of bad credit.

How long do Santander underwriters take?

How long does it take Santander to process a mortgage application? On average, it takes around three weeks for Santander to process a mortgage and provide you with an answer.

How likely is it to get denied during underwriting?

A mortgage underwriter typically denies about 1 in 10 mortgage loan applications.

Are Santander easy to get a mortgage with?

If you have a good credit score, you may find it easier to get a mortgage with Santander than if you have bad credit. Santander also takes into account the amount of credit you have access to when making decisions over whether to lend.

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