Black & White Bridging appoints head of underwriting
McLaren joins from loan review firm Rockstead, where she specialised in advising on short-term property finance portfolios for corporate clients. She also has over 15 years of underwriting experience with Bank of Ireland and Bath & West Finance.
McLaren will oversee the underwriting team and work with Nicholas Goss, the lender’s head of investment and capital markets, to develop products in line with funding demand.
Damien Druce, commercial director at Black & White Bridging, said: “With Lyn’s arrival, our senior management team is now complete for the next phase of Black & White’s development.
“Lyn brings with her an immense knowledge of the bridging and development market and we and our introducers will benefit hugely from her experience and expertise.”
McLaren (pictured) added: “I see this as a fantastic opportunity to contribute to the growth of Black & White Bridging.
“My skills are particularly well suited to the position based on my experience built up over many years in the lending industry. I am excited by this new position and look forward to helping Black & White become one of the pre-eminent lenders in this market.”
HTB Specialist Mortgages launches broker portal
The new portal, PUMA for Intermediaries, has been rolled out to all brokers following a trial period and will be used for all new applications.
Complete FS was one of the firms invited to trial the portal.
Phil Jay, director at Complete FS, said: “We’ve been very impressed with the new portal; how easy it was to set up and use, the quality of the support and documentation and the way it has enabled us to streamline doing business with HTB.
“There are no more lengthy email chains or need for multiple applications – once the case is registered, it’s all systems go, and we receive updates at each stage of progression.”
Marcus Dussard (pictured), sales director at HTB, added: “The HTB way of doing business is very much about a personalised approach: it’s how we’ve earned our reputation for being a truly specialist and award-winning lender.
“So, whilst the new portal is, of course, a great facilitator to even better turnaround and service, I want our brokers to know the full team: BDMs; lending managers, lending assessors, underwriters and completions officers are just as accessible as before to discuss and support each case.”
Self-employed mortgage shortage likely to be a short-term blip, brokers say
The aftermath of the pandemic has led lenders to scrutinise the income of the self-employed, particularly if they have taken out a government support loan or seen a dip in income.
This has resulted in self-employed borrowers believing they have been shut out by the market, with a majority saying lenders were not doing enough to help them.
Although borrowers may be feeling dejected, Dale Jannels, managing director of Impact Specialist Finance, said this would be a momentary problem as lenders assess the markets self-employed borrowers work in as well as any drops in income.
Jannels said: “I would expect the evolution of the mortgage market to catch up quite quickly and I think by early 2022 most self-employed borrowers will continue to enjoy parity in the mortgage market with their employed counterparts.”
Rob Jupp, chief executive of Brightstar, echoed these thoughts saying he was positive the issue was “highly likely to be a short-term blip”. He said the real problem was lenders not working fast enough to update criteria to reflect challenges of the pandemic.
“Certain sectors may still look and feel vulnerable for a time and lenders may require a deep dive and forensic look at these businesses in such sectors until they are perceived to have returned to normal,” he added.
Other brokers feared a long-term effect would be the case, such as Christopher Hall, mortgage adviser at Mortgage Guardian.
Hall said: “The pandemic is going to heavily impact the self-employed for the next few years as post-pandemic income will look different for many and lenders will continue to be cautious.”
Hall also said self-employed workers’ tendency to be savvy with their tax could hinder their options.
He said: “To exacerbate the situation, the self-employed by nature often want to be tax efficient which conflicts with their mortgage interests time and time again. It seems that for many, the more skillful the accountant the less can be borrowed.
“Lenders are often heard saying that they can’t have their cake and eat it.”
Hall suggested this could lead to a change in how borrowers try to bolster affordability. “The use of dividends to increase borrowing capacity is likely to increase,” he added.
Jannels intimated that change would have to be led by specialist lenders as this was where intelligent solutions to lending emerged, before being replicated by the mainstream.
Hiten Ganatra, managing director of Visionary Finance, said any changes in attitudes towards the self-employed would improve the image of the mortgage sector.
He said: “While I understand why banks and major lenders are doing this as they want to mitigate risks, I think it is important that they remain open and transparent with brokers and clients about their risk appetite to ensure that the best advice is given to clients at the outset.
“This will help to maintain integrity in the sector.”
Opportunities for specialist market
At the moment, self-employed borrowers are being treated similarly to those with adverse income resulting in them having to go to specialist lenders, Hiten said.
However, Jannels said he did not see this as a concern but an opportunity.
He said: “If the high street won’t change, the specialist market will always evolve to help those who may be short-term affected, and rates won’t be that different.”
Jannels also said current issues would not have an equal impact on everyone, as “a number of lenders already accept just one year’s accounts, even though the company could have been trading for longer”.
Jupp added that the UK mortgage market was “extremely receptive” to change and said specialist lenders were already working to adopt resources in order to help borrowers with mortgage finance.
“We’ve seen a considerable influx of business in 2021 thus far. Many of these clients I wouldn’t have historically expected to see but they’ve been turned down by the high street including – in many cases – their existing lender,” he added.
Hall also said mortgage brokers who specialised in self-employed with access to the specialist market would be more sought after.
Starling Bank acquires Fleet Mortgages in £50m transaction
This is the first acquisition by the bank and means Starling will become the sole funder of future originations for Fleet Mortgages.
Fleet Mortgages will gain access to Starling’s deposit customer base through the deal.
The specialist lender has originated £2.3bn of mortgages to date and has reported no credit losses. It currently has £1.75bn mortgages on its loan book.
Fleet’s management team will still run the lender and daily operations remain unchanged.
The deal marks Starling’s entrance into the mortgage market. The deal is also part of the challenger bank’s plan to expand its lending through mergers and acquisitions and forward-flow arrangements, where it will purchase loans originated by other providers.
Bob Young, chief executive at Fleet Mortgages, said: “We are very pleased to be announcing the acquisition of the business by Starling Bank which will deliver a significant benefit to our company, our intermediary partners and their landlord clients, particularly in terms of reduced cost of funds providing us with the ability to deliver highly-competitive products.
“It is certainly exciting times ahead for everyone associated with Fleet and, with new, ambitious shareholders on board, it allows us to potentially move into new product sectors and further grow our market share. This acquisition opens up a range of opportunities that otherwise wouldn’t be available to us.”
Young added: “This is a natural progression for our lending business, with both Starling and Fleet sharing a very similar cultural fit and provides us with a very strong lending base from which to work from and to deliver for our staff, our adviser partners and our landlord customers.”
Anne Boden, CEO of Starling Bank, said: “The acquisition of Fleet Mortgages is the start of our move into mortgages as an asset class and builds on a number of forward-flow arrangements that we’re doing with leading non-bank lenders.
“Fleet’s existing management team will remain in place and Fleet will continue to operate as a stand-alone company, keeping the original name and brand. We’re buying Fleet because it is very good at what it does, not because we want to change it.”
Starling Bank was advised by Rothschild and PwC as its financial adviser and TLT as legal counsel. Fleet Mortgages enlisted West Hill Corporate Finance as financial adviser and Humphries Kirk as its legal adviser.
TSB raises rates on five and 10-year fixed product transfers
Across its buy-to-let offering, the two-year fixed options up to 60 per cent loan to value (LTV) have been reduced by up to 0.15 per cent.
The fee-free option now has a rate of 1.84 per cent, while the £995 fee paying option is priced at 1.44 per cent.
The five-year fixed alternatives have been increased by 0.05 per cent, now at 2.14 per cent for a fee-free product and 1.89 per cent for the £995 fee paying mortgage.
For residential borrowers, two-year fixed products at 0-75 per cent LTV with a £995 fee have been reduced by up to 30 basis points (bps).
At 0-60 per cent LTV, the product has a rate of 0.94 per cent while the 60-75 per cent LTV product has a rate of 1.09 per cent.
Two-year fixes at 75 to 85 per cent LTV have had rates reduced by 20 bps, as well as the five-year fixed product transfer at 0-60 per cent LTV with a £995 fee.
The fee-free five-year fixed option at 0-60 per cent has seen an increase of 0.25 per cent to 1.94 per cent.
At 60-75 per cent LTV, the five-year fix with a £995 fee has been reduced by 0.45 per cent to 1.34 per cent.
Elsewhere, 10-year fixes with five years’ early repayment charges (ERCs) at 0-75 per cent LTV have risen by 0.20 per cent. Meanwhile, 10-year fixes at 0-60 per cent LTV with 10 years’ ERCs have increased by up to 0.45 per cent.
TML adds cohort of deals to BTL range and reduces minimum loan size
The minimum loan value is now £25,001 across most of its BTL range.
Some 15 new products have been added to the lender’s offering at 80 per cent LTV with a mix of fee and rate combinations.
These include a two-year fixed rate mortgage with a rate of 4.35 per cent and a 1.5 per cent product fee. There is also a five-year fixed rate priced at 4.4 per cent with a 2 per cent fee.
The products are available to the whole of market for individual, limited company and LLP applicants for purchase and remortgage.
Steve Griffiths (pictured), sales and product director at The Mortgage Lender, said: “This is one of a number of enhancements we’ve made to our BTL range in recent weeks as we evolve to meet market demand and demonstrate our commitment to real life lending.
“We’ve made these changes with portfolio landlords very much in mind as smaller deposits enable them to grow more quickly by allowing them to distribute their funds across more properties.”
Platform makes rate cuts across high LTVs and product switches
Reductions include to select two-year fixed rates between 80 to 90 per cent LTV, which also come with a £999 fee. These have been cut by up to 0.36 per cent.
The deal at 80 per cent LTV is priced at 1.49 per cent and the 85 per cent LTV product has a rate of 1.82 per cent. The lender’s 90 per cent LTV option has a rate of 2.29 per cent.
Equivalent products fixed for a five-year term have had rate reductions of up to 0.42 per cent.
Five-year fixed rate products at 80 to 90 per cent LTV with a £1,499 fee have seen cuts of up to 0.43 per cent.
Rates now vary between 1.64 per cent at 80 per cent LTV and 2.79 per cent at 90 per cent LTV.
These products are available for both purchase and remortgage.
Across its product switches range Platform has reduced the rates on mainstream residential products between 80 to 90 per cent LTV.
Two-year fixed rate with a £749 fee have been reduced by up to 0.36 per cent, while five-year fixed rate alternatives have been cut by up to 0.42 per cent.
The lender’s five-year fixed rate product switch option at 80 to 90 per cent LTV with a £1,249 fee have been reduced by up to 0.43 per cent.
Secure Trust Bank exits resi market with £54.6m loan book sale
The portfolio will be acquired for £54.6m by financing vehicle Jacqali Designated Activity Company.
The purchase price took account of the net book value of £77.7m as of 31 December 2020. The portfolio contributed £1.95m, including allocated costs, to profit before tax in 2020 on an unaudited basis.
The buyer was “a financing vehicle established by a global financial institution,” with the “purchaser’s obligation to pay backed by the institution,” STB’s statement said.
The sale was in line with a strategy to focus on specialist lending segments offering higher yields, and capital released will be invested into the business.
STB said in January 2019 that it would withdraw from residential lending, citing competition and pressure on the housing market, and stopped taking new mortgage applications a month later.
It has continued lending in the commercial, development and real estate finance spaces.
David McCreadie (pictured), chief executive at STB, said: “The disposal is in line with STB’s strategy of maximising value, simplifying the group and focusing on the areas of the business that have the strongest prospects for delivering sustainable and profitable medium to long-term growth.
“The proceeds will be used to strengthen STB’s capital position, provide additional financial flexibility to deliver its growth strategy, and ultimately enhance returns for shareholders.”
The sale is subject to agreement.
Newcastle Building Society launches First Homes mortgages
The products are amongst the first under the initiative which was launched last month. It offers first-time buyers a discount of at least 30 per cent on a new-build property’s market value.
Prices for properties must not exceed than £250,000 outside of London, or £420,000 in Greater London.
The mutual’s two-year fixed rate is available at 2.89 per cent while the five-year fixed rate is available at 2.99 per cent.
Stuart Miller, chief customer officer at Newcastle Building Society, said: “We’re pleased to launch our First Homes products, which will give brokers and their clients a competitive option on the pilot developments.
“By participating in First Homes, we’re delivering on our commitment to support first-time buyers, especially those without access to the bank of mum and dad. It’s one of several innovative initiatives we’re involved in to help low-deposit borrowers get on and up the property ladder.”
House price growth to decline by autumn – Reallymoving
Conveyancing comparison website Reallymoving analysed the quotes it receives alongside data from Land Registry, and predicted September will record a -0.1 per cent decline in average house prices.
Before this happens, house prices in England and Wales will rise in July, with a 3.8 per cent month-on-month increase. This is based on deals agreed in June which missed the initial stamp duty holiday deadline.
Prices will then decline to 0.4 per cent growth in August.
Annual growth is also set to fall to 6.3 per cent in September, ending the run of double-digit price hikes.
Buyer demand will also wind down as the website recorded a decline in the volume of conveyancing quotes, which decreased by 13 per cent and 18 per cent in May and June respectively.
Rob Houghton, CEO of Reallymoving, said: “A slowdown in the remarkable rate of growth we’ve seen over the last few months was inevitable and looking ahead over the next three months, the data indicates that the market is softening which will be reflected in completed sales data heading into the autumn.
“With the influence of the stamp duty holiday now largely expired alongside early signs that buyer demand is returning to more normal levels, we can expect prices to follow suit and return to a more stable trajectory.”
“Despite this period of readjustment, we believe the market will continue to perform well over the longer term.
“There will be a contingent of buyers who realised pretty quickly that rising prices were wiping out any tax savings and decided to hold off until the market cooled, who, along with first-time buyers who largely didn’t benefit from the stamp duty saving, may decide to make their move later this year,” he added.