Whether its apples or airplanes, giving people choice is always the key to providing customers with the best products possible.
Within equity release we have travelled down a somewhat rocky road toward attracting new lenders to the market, but I feel like we are now in the strongest position we have ever been and much of this is down to the current crop of lenders.
Making a splash
From those who have been with us for years like Aviva, to lenders who have only been in the market a short time like OneFamily, or firms like Legal & General who have made a real splash, the more new lenders we attract to the market the more choice we can deliver for our clients.
In L&G’s case, their arrival and conduct within the market has been mightily impressive as they have gone from a standing start to market leaders in just two years.
Last year, L&G completed £600m worth of lifetime mortgage completions and have now raced to a leading market share of 29%. They are living proof that a lender can go from zero to hero in double-quick time in this segment of the mortgage arena if they put their minds to it.
What’s more, the appeal of joining the equity release market should be as high as ever as recent data released by the Equity Release Council has revealed that we are now the fastest growing sector of the entire mortgage market.
Once new lenders do decide to join the party, the rate of growth and choice should be exponential.
The important thing now is of course ensuring that we continue to make the market as attractive to new lenders as possible, but I do believe that the government and press have a role to play here too.
Until the zeitgeist on equity release shifts toward a more positive outlook, new lenders will always approach the market with trepidation. But with a record 2016 in the bag, and Q1 of this year expected to match or even better last year’s first three months, how much longer can we be ignored?