Aldermore’s intermediary distribution head Nick Parker to depart
In a LinkedIn post, Parker said that he had been “incredibly honoured” to lead a “fantastic team full of some seriously talented colleagues across field, telephony and distribution”.
He added that the leadership team had been “outstanding” and demonstrated their “commitment” everyday to make Aldermore a great place to work, with the customer, colleague and broker at the heart of it all.
Parker continued to extend his thanks to distribution partners, who he said had been a “pleasure to engage with day in and day out”.
He added that he was “actively seeking a new opportunity” but would be spending time with his family and was “looking forward to a much needed holiday in the sun”.
He has worked at the firm for around three years, and before that was regional corporate sales manager at Bank of Ireland for nearly three years.
Before that he worked North View Group as an intermediary oversight manager for just under a year and before that was a senior technical decision maker at Barclays Wealth and Investment Management for just over two years.
Aldermore declined to comment.
Recognise Bank promotes James Meigh to business development director
In the role, he will oversee the bank’s regional hubs in London, Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds.
He has worked with the firm for around two years and before that he worked at Santander UK Corporate and Commercial for just over 11 years.
The lender gained its banking licence in November 2020, and provides commercial property loans, bridging loans, professional practice loans and SME working capital loans.
Recognise gained permissions to collect deposits from the Prudential Regulatory Authority in September and launched into professional buy-to-let market in November last year.
Earlier this year, the bank reached its £100m lending milestone as its founder chief executive Jason Oakley left the business.
Bryce Glover (pictured), chief executive of Recognise Bank, said: “James has been an important part of Recognise, even before we got our banking licence, and he has helped shape and drive the relationship model we have today.
“I am delighted that he now has the national role as I know he will continue to inspire his team and help grow our lending even further.”
Meigh said: “It’s been a fantastic start for Recognise, and it’s great to have such supportive partners in the brokers we work with.
“Having hit a major milestone with our £100m target, the team is really energised to build on that foundation for the future. The feedback we have had from brokers and borrowers alike has helped us fine tune our proposition, so we look forward to continuing to support Britain’s SMEs with their funding needs.”
BSLS2022: High street banks eye specialist lending sector
Speaking at the British Specialist Lending Senate, Damian Thompson, group managing director for retail finance at Aldermore, said that whilst high street banks had been “skeptical” of the market at first, they now saw opportunities and strong returns.
“They are coming. They will be on our doorsteps I suspect by the end of the year and that will be a challenge for us because you will see the occurrence of current account funding in our industry,” he said.
According to collated figures from specialist lenders and high street banks, between 2015 and 2021 the compound annual growth rate for specialist lenders was 13 per cent, compared to 1.5 per cent for high street banks.
Thompson said specialist lenders have better returns on equity than high street lenders and have been “key players” following the 2008 financial crisis.
He said during the crisis, specialist lenders were able to create “really strong savings products” which helped fuel growth.
He added that reasons for specialist lenders’ success included high level of insight, no legacy system and demand for specialist expertise.
“We were really focused as an industry and as a group of lenders. The high street suffered from an identity crisis, they wanted to do everything. We were very clear and very focused on what we wanted to do,” Thompson said.
He said specialist lending market had “proven that we are not a short-term fix” and indicated there was “longevity” in the market.
“We don’t lend money. We create dreams and realities for families that don’t believe it’s possible for them and unlocking that opportunity is really important,” he said.
Key challenges are consumer duty, customer retention and changing work habits
The FCA is currently consulting on consumer duty with the aim to set clearer and higher expectations for firms’ standards of care towards consumers.
Thompson said this would be the “paradigm shift” in his lifetime, adding that brokers and lenders would have to rethink how they sell and create products.
Thompson added that one of the “biggest challenges” for specialist lenders was customer retention, adding that previous models around this had to change.
“Our customers come to us, and they get clean very quickly. They start making the payments, they start understanding what they have to do,” he said.
He continued that it was vital to listen to the customer, brokers and colleagues which serve them.
“If the industry continues to do that, and works with brokers, it’s going to make a real big difference, particularly in this economic environment.”
Thompson pointed to inflation, ongoing fallout from the Ukraine crisis and rising energy costs as causes for concern and said if it was a harsh winter these problems could be amplified.
He added that changing work habits with the “great resignation” and remote working also raised questions for lenders.
Thompson explained that a lot of people had decided to retire or resign from their roles post-pandemic.
He said some of those people may come back but they would “need specialist lending services” as their new role may not be aligned to their original career.
Thompson added: “Don’t underestimate this [remote working] as lenders, how our affordability models are going to work for customers who are working two days a week, three days a week from home what are we going to do own utility bills, what are your affordability changes is going to mean for them.”
Bluestone Mortgages expands Right to Buy to whole of market and cuts rates
Right to Buy is a government scheme where council tenants can buy their homes at a discount.
The product was previously only available via limited distribution through selected Sapphire Partners and will come into effect from 17 May.
It added that loans will be available up to 100 per cent of the discounted purchase price, and up to 75 per cent LTV open market valuation.
Five-year fixed rate terms are available, starting at 3.9 per cent and can be accessed at all the lender’s credit tiers.
The lender added that its buy-to-let, Help to Buy and Right to Buy products rates would be reduced by up to 1.57 per cent and will start from 3.85 per cent for a 60 per cent loan to value (LTV) product. Bluestone added that it can lend up to 85 per cent LTV.
Reece Beddall (pictured), sales and marketing director at Bluestone Mortgages, said: “By reducing our rates and expanding our proposition we hope to reinforce our commitment to support the growing number of customers with complex credit who are struggling to climb up or onto the property ladder.
“We believe it is our duty as a specialist lender to help those who have been traditionally underserved, giving them the opportunity to achieve their homeownership dreams.”
Top 10 most read mortgage broker stories this week – 13/05/2022
The equity release market also came under scrutiny following a research paper by The Financial Services Consumer Panel, and Habito and Perenna said that the affordability stress test and loan to income limit was “not fit for purpose”.
The Queen’s Speech, brokers’ biggest careers lessons and insights from Coreco’s Andrew Montlake also caught readers’ interest.
The British Mortgage Awards 2022 finalists announced
Equity release borrowers lack understanding and feel pressured to buy – report
Coreco sets sights on commercial, new build and equity release ‒ Montlake
‘Shovel through the dung to find a gem’ – brokers share their biggest career lessons
Habito and Perenna say current affordability stress test and LTI limit ‘not fit for purpose’
HSBC launches emerging talent event to support rising star brokers
Nationwide ups LTI to 6.5 on like-for-like remortgages
Planning system to be reformed ‒ Queen’s Speech
Brokers ‘frantic’ after BoE rate rise as borrowers worry over mortgage costs
Rate increases announced by HSBC and Nationwide – round-up
Broker Tembo takes down test page suggesting students pay off study loans via remortgage – reports
First investigated by Money Saving Expert, the broker said that it had several customers and families that had asked about paying off student loans, given uncertainty of tuition fees, so it created a test page on its website to “gather some user insights and speak to some potential customers as part of a market research exercise”.
The test ran for around three weeks and some of the adverts suggested that people could pay off their loan with a remortgage and save £20,000 in interest. The broker said that the remortgage could be taken out against the borrowers or a family member’s property.
Undergraduate tuition fees are currently £9,250, with government plans to freeze them until 2024 to 2025. However, student loan interest rates for upcoming loans this autumn are expected to sit at around 12 per cent, which has raised concerns around how or if they will be repaid in full.
Richard Dana (pictured), chief executive of Tembo, said: “This was the first test we’ve run in this way, and unfortunately there was a breakdown in our usual compliance process which meant the test went live without formal approval.”
He added that in light of the error it had “re-evaluated” its internal processes so it could not happen again and future user research and tests would be “subject to our usual stringent compliance checks”.
Dana said that around 25 per cent of graduates were expected to repay their student loans during their lifetime and that people who would benefit from considering early repayment would be “higher earners with a stable income and a property”.
“It’s not for everyone, but for certain people there is the potential for significant interest savings,” he said.
He continued that student financing was not a core focus at Tembo and to finish the test it was collating all of its feedback and user insights.
Dana added that Tembo had informed the Financial Conduct Authority on the oversight.
The British Specialist Lending Senate 2022 in pictures
Virgin Money ups rates and withdraws products
The changes come into effect from 8pm today.
In its core range select products between 65 and 80 per cent LTV will rise by around 0.11 per cent.
On the product transfer side, certain products at 80 per cent LTV will be increased by around 0.04 per cent.
This includes its two-year fixed rate with £995 fee, which will be priced at 2.44 per cent. Its fee-saver equivalent will go up by 0.01 per cent to 2.69 per cent.
Its five-year fixed rate fee-saver product at the same LTV will go up by 0.04 per cent to 2.77 per cent.
The lender said that select exclusive purchase products will be withdrawn. This includes its two-year fixed rate at 75 per cent LTV with £495 fee, which had a rate of 2.49 per cent.
Its five-year fixed rate at 80 per cent LTV at 2.42 per cent will also be removed, along with its 85 per cent LTV equivalent at 2.53 per cent. Both come with a £495 fee.
Virgin Money is withdrawing its five-year fixed rate exclusive remortgage product at 2.3 per cent. It is subject to a £1,295 fee.
Beverley BS to host cycle challenge and tea party for community centre fundraiser
The events will occur in its Saturday Market branch in Beverley between 16 May and 20 May.
The team is aiming to cycle 211 miles over the course of the week on an exercise bike, and progress will be shared on the company’s social media feed.
Once the cycle challenge is completed the team will host a Jubilee tea party, which will take place between 9am and 5pm on 25 May. As part of the event there will be a Jubilee-themed cake raffle to raise funds.
On the day, manager of the community centre, Jo Ramsey, and Beverley’s mayor Linda Johnson will visit the branch, along with young children who use the centre.
The community centre, which is the chosen charity of the year for the mutual, has been serving the area since 1993 and provides a lifeline to vulnerable local people.
It receives over 1,000 calls a month from locals and services include a pantry for affordable food, Little Gruffalo’s Pre-School, a youth club and free advice on money, housing and employment.
Beverley has already donated £3,000 to the centre so far, which includes £1,000 raised via donation for every vote cast by its members at its recent annual general meeting.
The mutual has also given every member two days’ volunteering time, pro rata, so they can help at the community centre and other charities.
Leeds BS Ukraine appeal raises over £100,000
The mutual said that it had matched fundraising and donations from colleagues and members, and that the majority would go to the Disasters Emergency Committee appeal.
It added that a £10,000 donation would go straight to Leeds Together for Ukraine, coordinated by Leeds City council, to support plans to house and settle Ukrainian refugees in the city.
Richard Fearon (pictured), chief executive of Leeds BS, thanked those who had donated, adding that they had responded with compassion and generosity to the humanitarian crisis.
“When we announced our intention to help, our members and colleagues stepped forward swiftly as we knew they would.
“I want to thank everyone who has come together to support this appeal for relief efforts in Ukraine and to help Ukrainian refugees in the UK,” he said.
The mutual is also redeveloping an office space above its Peterborough branch to serve as emergency accommodation for refugees.
Other actors in the mortgage market have raised money for the Ukraine crisis, including The Cumberland, Yorkshire Building Society, Conveyancing Foundation, Skipton Building Society and Paradigm.