TSB introduces ten-year fixes and shared ownership deals
Pricing on home mover and remortgage ranges have also seen rates changed by up to 0.25%, with some rates hiked by 0.20%, and others dropped by 0.15%.
The bank has also introduced a number of new products, including:
- Five-year fixes ranging from 2.04% to 2.69% at up to 90% LTV, with £995 product fee for remortgage borrowers;
- Ten-year fixes starting at 2.54% for 60% LTV and £995 product fee, with early repayment charges for remortgage and purchase.
TSB is also launching shared ownership and shared equity products for remortgage and purchase, including a shared ownership home mover two-year fixed from 1.69% at 0-95% LTV, with fee and fee-free options.
How the role of packagers is changing in specialist lending
With this changing landscape of growing regulatory and product complexity, Specialist Lending Solutions asked about the evolving role of master brokers and packagers in specialist arenas.
Dale Jannels (pictured), All Types of Mortgages (AToM) managing director said the increasingly specialised market means packagers are “coming back with a vengeance”.
Jannels told Specialist Lending Solutions that packagers’ value lies in specialist knowledge of how lenders operate, and the distribution through broker channels to push specialist products – arguing that their expertise gives them a unique position to place complex deals.
“You ask a lender what’s the conversion rate from a broker compared to a packager, I guarantee ours would be double what the broker’s is,” he said.
“We know how to deal with lenders on a day-to-day basis, we know what they want, what they will and won’t accept.
“Lenders are realising the value that packagers bring to the market. We’re saving time and effort, everything is tickboxing a quicker referral.”
A matter of time
On top of the expertise, brokers simply do not have the time to scrutinise specialist cases, Jannels continued.
“You’re under a lot of pressure as a broker to get things through, because that’s going to put the bread and butter on your table at the end of the month,” he said.
Jane Benjamin, head of relationship management at Sesame and PMS, added: “As mortgage business has become more complicated to advise on and process, mortgage advisers have been weighed down with time pressures.
“There are only so many hours in a day, so if something is outside of an adviser’s comfort zone then it could be in everyone’s best interests for that customer to be referred on to a specialist.”
Stick to their knitting
However, while David Copland, director of TMA Mortgage Club, acknowledged the utility of packagers to deal with niche cases, he cautioned against their over expansion, saying packagers should “stick to their knitting”.
He said: “As the market began to come back [after the credit crunch] the risk-rewards equation began to change, and as competition returned to the market lenders began to look for niches that would return them a good margin.”
“My worry is that [packagers] all seem to be expanding into other fields, which is great if they have the specialist personnel on their team, but dangerous if they are branching out too early.”
Copland added that packagers could improve by clarifying the area of client hand-off, and defining who is responsible for the advice, or where it is non-regulated.
Impossible to cover it all
Jo Breeden, managing director of Crystal Specialist Finance, said that packagers provide a net for covering all bases in a growing and complex market, but it was not for the lack of skill from brokers.
“The market is now much more diverse, so by turning to a specialist distributor the broker can ensure they have covered all bases,” said Breeden.
He continued: “I don’t think it’s so much that brokers lack the expertise, simply that the market is so large and varied that it is almost impossible to be an expert in everything all the time.
“The client is looking for a solution, the broker’s job is to find that. A specialist distributor widens that product offering meaning a full service can be realised.”
Recruiting young talent: Industry must shift perceptions of ‘boring’ broker – poll result
The results showed that 33.3% said yes, 58.9% said no, with 7.8% unsure.
Spreading the word
An image change is necessary, according to Leamington Spa mortgage consultant Rachel Dixon, to make the job more attractive to the younger generation, and to encourage more women to enter the industry.
She said: “When you’re 16, 17, if you hear about [being a broker] you’ll think it’s all about numbers. They think it’s boring.
“But that’s only a small part of it. It’s also about building a relationship with your clients and talking to people, and being someone who can listen.”
On top of shifting perceptions of what being a broker is about, Dixon said the industry also needs to be more welcoming of female talent.
“It’s also a male dominated industry, I still go to events and roadshows and there aren’t very many women in the room.
“There has been times when people asked me ‘whose secretary are you?’, that needs to change.”
Dixon argued that the image shift needs to start with education at schools, such as having stands in career fairs, to bigger promotion campaigns.
Dixon continued: “If you want to recruit young blood, they need to know about the options.
“We can’t complain that we don’t have people in the industry if we don’t have education in the very early stages.
“So you need to have the banks and building societies coming out and promoting that it’s a great career, and encourage more women to enter the industry.”
Alastair McKee, managing director of One 77 Mortgages, said recruitment issues do not stem from image concerns – but rather is a matter of funding and resource shortages.
McKee commented: “The industry has probably got a good image, most people have an interest in property and how you finance the property.
“So I don’t think it’s the industry per se that fails to attract, it’s more the lack of resources or funds.”
While bigger firms are starting to regain the confidence after the credit crunch to go on recruitment drives, McKee said smaller firms with more limited budgets struggle to accommodate for hiring costs – especially as networks tend to require newcomers to be qualified.
McKee continued: “Most brokers in the UK are in smaller firms, and that tends to mean one, two, or three-man bands.
“But if you’re a small firm you probably won’t have the funding to pay for someone to go through CeMAP, the product training, and pay close supervision to see that they’re fit and proper for the job.”
He added: “Lots of networks won’t allow firms to take on a trainee, they require you to take on people with full CeMAP and with x amount of experience, so you have your hands tied behind your back.
“Don’t underestimate the amount of time and energy that goes into the [recruitment] side.”
In contrast, Trinity Financial communications director Aaron Strutt argued that the industry is not facing a recruitment problem for fresh talent, and is in fact an attractive option for many.
Strutt commented: “The mortgage industry might look boring from a younger person’s point of view. But when it comes to finding a career, it’s still quite a good route for a career and an attractive option.
“If you go to the road shows with one man bands, then they may not have the need to take on younger people.
“Whereas if you’re going through a lot of the firms in London, they’re quite keen to attract younger staff then train them.”
Strutt added that recruitment programmes such as apprenticeships schemes have been successful, and stressed the career attraction in being a broker.
He continued: “At the minute there are a lot of people who are keen to learn to get a career, and we still get lots of emails from people looking for broking roles.
“The apprenticeships schemes have worked quite well for us. It’s not necessarily a quick route, but you get there in the end.
“If you do your qualifications and do your CeMAP then there’s a lot of opportunity out there.”
Precise announces second charge deals with Legal and General and Simplybiz
The product tie-up with L&G includes a Bank Base Rate (BBR) + 4.40% lifetime tracker, and a 5.30% one-year fixed deal.
Both products are available at 75% loan to value (LTV) and include a year’s early repayment charges (ERCs).
Advisers will receive up to an 1.25% procuration fee payable as L&G Mortgage Club members.
Alan Cleary (pictured), managing director of Precise Mortgages, commented: “We’re pleased to be able to work with Legal & General Mortgage Club to give this exclusive offer to their members.
“We’re committed to supporting customers with a variety of borrowing needs to offer them flexibility and choice as well as competitive products.”
Danny Belton, head of lender relationships at Legal & General Mortgage Club, added: “Advisers are increasingly looking towards the second charge market for solutions for their customers and as this sector of the market continues to grow, we are bound to see more product innovation and criteria development from lenders.”
“This is a really positive step from Precise Mortgages in the second charge market.”
Additionally, Precise is partnering with Simplybiz Mortgages on two second charge deals, with similar features including a BBR + 4.40% lifetime tracker, and one year ERCs.
Both products have a max 75% LTV plus a £300 lender fee, with the one-year fixed at 5.3%, and the tracker at 4.9%.
However, the Simplybiz deal offers a 1.35% proc fee.
Simplybiz chief executive officer Martin Reynolds said: “Deals such as these only enhance a firm’s ability to compete in a wider market, providing more options to their clients, and we are pleased to be able to offer this in partnership with Precise Mortgages.”
Cleary added: “As a specialist lender, our aim is to provide customers with a variety of products that allows them more choice and flexibility when it comes to meeting their borrowing needs.”
The product announcements also come as the second charge sector has witnessed a period of turbulence in previous months, with the Financial Conduct Authority sending ‘Dear CEO’ letters to all seconds providers earlier in March.
By 1 May, all lenders must review all processes, systems, and controls to confirm to the regulator that they are lending responsibly.
Principality appoints BDM, Platform expands service team – roundup
Peter Caldicott (pictured) has joined Principality as a field based BDM for the East Midlands.
Caldicott has 25 years’ experience in financial services, and his new role will involve brand building and broker support in the region – assisting with individual applications and service quality monitoring.
Caldicott commented: “As Principality’s first dedicated BDM for the East Midlands, I am looking forward to getting out and about and building trusted long-term relationships with our broker partners.
“I’m excited to join the team as we grow our intermediary proposition to be best in class across England.”
Frances Hayter, national account manager at Principality, added: “Thanks to a focused growth strategy, our intermediaries arm is expanding, allowing us to target key markets across the UK.
“Peter’s wealth of experience means that he understands what is important to intermediaries and I am confident he will provide our brokers with the service they have come to expect from the Principality.”
Platform, the intermediary mortgage brand of the Cooperative Bank has expanded its service team to support broker partners.
The 14 new roles are spread with five on the BDM team, three on the telephony based team, five positions added to the mortgage desk, and a further position appointed in the corporate service team.
On top of the existing 30 staff, the latest expansion bumped the total support crew to 44 people.
Platform said the expansion aims to maintain service levels as demand for its propositions grows.
Neil Wyatt, head of intermediary distribution at the Cooperative Bank, commented: “We plan to increase our broker customer base throughout 2018 with increased levels of telephony and field based activity while maintaining the high levels of customer satisfaction our existing intermediary firms are receiving.”
Wyatt continued: “We want to ensure that our brokers get the best level of service from us and investing in our team has been a focus for us to ensure all brokers are getting the right support from Platform.”
Mint Bridging launches price match guarantee
To qualify for the offer, brokers need to submit the credit approved terms from a direct competitor to the head of sales, Sinead Moynihan (pictured).
A list of Mint Bridging’s direct competitors is available upon request.
A spokesperson for Mint said that credit approved terms constitute a decision in principle from a lender that has been approved by their credit team.
“Different lenders do things differently, but what we’re looking for is a full breakdown of the approved credit costs – such as the interest and cost per month, the legals and valuations,” she said.
The promotion is available to new and existing introducers, and will be initially available until 30 April 2018.
Mint added that pending results and feedback, it may continue the offer indefinitely.
Under the terms and conditions, the offer is applicable for loans under £1.5m, with heavy refurbishment and development loans excluded.
Mint defines heavy refurbishment as structural change, such a knocking down support walls or moving staircases.
While Mint Bridging said it will beat the terms of interest charged by its competitors – it added that it may not provide the same loan to value (LTV) nor term for the client.
In addition, the guarantees are subject to underwriting and do not constitute an offer, and are subject to borrowers meeting Mint Bridging’s lending criteria.
The deal may also be changed or withdrawn at any time, and cannot be combined with any other Mint Bridging offer.
Moynihan commented: “We have a lot of money to lend and want to aggressively continue to grow our loan book. To do that, we’re going head-to-head with our direct competitors on price.
“The market is evolving every day,” she continued. “We do not want to lose deals purely on price. It’s about maintaining market presence and moving forward at all times.”
Founder and managing director Andrew Lazare added: “At Mint Bridging we provide great rates and service consistently, but we don’t want price to be a reason introducers shop elsewhere.”
Cambridge BS strengthens shared ownership, Hanley launches into self-build – round-up
The new shared ownership product range from the Cambridge includes:
- A two year-fixed at 2.24% and 80% loan to value (LTV) with a 3% early redemption charge (ERC), and 3.59% at 95% LTV with a 2% ERC
- A two year-fixed discount with no ERC at 2.14% (2.85% off SVR) at 80% LTV, and 3.39% (1.60% off SVR) at 95% LTV
- A five-year fixed at 2.49% and 80% LTV, with ERC ranging from 5% to 1%
All deals come with a £199 application fee, and maximum loan amount of £400,000.
The building society added that there is no requirement to have 100% staircasing within the lease, and the range is also available to shared ownership borrowers looking to remortgage.
Head of lending at the Cambridge, Tracy Simpson (pictured) commented: “Helping first-time buyers remains one of our key priorities and during 2018 we are fully committed to finding a range of solutions to support the needs of this very important group.
“We’ve canvassed opinion from intermediaries on our proposition over the past few months to get feedback on what we offer, and this has led to these improvements to our criteria.”
Hanley Economic’s intermediary deal includes a self-build product with an initial pay rate of 4.49%, fees of £1,000 and is available on an arrears basis up to 80% LTV.
The building society added that an intermediary team and underwriters are able to assess each application individually.
In addition, Hanley added that an online self-build hub has been developed to guide advisers through the self-build process – including information on criteria, submission and assessment, fund release, completion, and service standards.
David Lownds, head of marketing and business development at Hanley, commented: “Self-build is a key market for the society and is a growth sector which is providing an increasing number of opportunities for intermediaries.
“However, this is a sector which can often be a complex and onerous one without the right support network in place.
“This is why we launched our self-build direct to intermediaries offering and, after initial feedback in its pilot stage, added a self-build hub to make the process even simpler for our intermediary partners.
“We are looking forward to engaging with more intermediaries to see how they can help clients turn their self-build dreams into a reality.”
Robo-advice may offer a good mortgage deal, but what about protection? – Phillips
The digital version of a broker – ‘robo-advice’ – has been around for years now, and, as all technology does, has evolved and got smarter over the years.
Experts have long predicted that robo-advice will impact the mortgage market the way online shopping has impacted the retail sector, and brokers have been warned to embrace the technology or risk being left behind.
And don’t get me wrong, I am not an old dinosaur determined to pretend the online revolution isn’t happening, but digital demands vary, not only from customer to customer but also from sector to sector.
Not quite the same
While one person might be quite happy buying all their clothes online, booking hotels and doing online banking, there will be another that wants human interaction at every step – demanding a real-life shop assistant, a hotel receptionist, or their own bank manager.
But even the most digital savvy among us still prefer human interaction when it comes to a mortgage application. When a customer wants advice, getting it from a computer is not quite the same.
While getting a car insurance quote or a gas or electricity deal may be quite a simple case of comparing like-for-like, with mortgages it is not quite that simple.
For most people, taking out a mortgage will be the single biggest financial commitment of their lives. And for many, it is a very emotional one, too. So it’s not one they want to discuss with a machine.
And what about protection? One of the most important jobs of a mortgage broker is to ensure the customer understands the debt they are taking on and that they have the right protection in place should anything happen to prevent them from being able to pay the mortgage.
All those buying a house know they need a mortgage, but they may not know they need protection. Customers in the UK need to be sold protection and using an app or a PC is not going to do that.
We already have a situation where around 14.5m people have a mortgage, but only half have protection. This means around 7m people in the UK are at risk of losing their homes if something were to happen to the main breadwinner and this is worrying enough.
But if robo-advice starts to take the place of brokers across the UK, this number will grow.
Quite frankly when treating customers fairly is one of its central tenets, I am astonished the FCA is allowing robo-advice to evolve without this very important issue being dealt with.
Fleet Mortgages appoints two new BDMs
Andrea Gizzy (pictured top) has been made BDM for Central London. Gizzy has been with Fleet for two years working as a telephone BDM for the North London region.
Rob Abdur has been appointed BDM for the South, also after two years with Fleet. He was a telephone BDM for the past year covering both the South East and Central London. Prior to Fleet, Abdur worked in the protection market for ten years.
Familiar to advisers
Gizzy and Abdur (pictured left) will be joining the external BDM team, looking after face-to-face relationships with intermediaries across the regions.
They will report to Ross Turrell, sales director.
Turrell commented: “We are very pleased to announce the internal promotions of both Andrea and Rob to the external BDM team here at Fleet Mortgages.
“Having spent a number of years as telephone BDMs, working at head office, both should be very familiar to advisers already and have proved over that time they have the drive, determination, and skill-set to move seamlessly to these new roles.
“I’m sure both will hit the ground running and make a very positive impact for us as a lender, but more importantly to all those advisers they are there to support.”
Just Mortgages completion volumes rise 40% with further expansion planned
Compared to the £900m of business conducted in 2015, the 2017 figures showed a 79% rise over the two year window.
Turnover also increased by 14% with profits rising by 62%, Just Mortgages said this was owing to a “huge” investment in infrastructure and efficiency gains.
However, a spokesperson for Just Mortgages declined to give the turnover and profit figures.
Staff numbers have also seen expansion, with broker numbers rising from 155 in 2016 to 200 by the end of 2017.
More so, having recruited aggressively in the first three months of this year, broker numbers now stand at 240.
John Phillips (pictured), group operations director of Just Mortgages and Spicerhaart, commented: “The fact that we are committed to the customer-facing, old-fashioned customer service and advice model but are also open to technological developments in the industry is instrumental to our success.
“We have a strong employed division, and have also enjoyed huge success within our newly launched self-employed division, which has grown six-fold in just 12 months.
“We are looking to expand further with two new financial services directors, and we will also be creating a new operations manager options within our head office to support further growth of the businesses and the Just Mortgages brand.”
Phillips added that he expected total broker numbers from both the employed and self-employed divisions to reach 500 by 2022.