Family BS celebrates 10 years in business

Family BS celebrates 10 years in business

The Epsom-based mutual was established on 14 July 2014, and since then has more than doubled the amount lent to families and other borrowers to get them onto the property ladder. 

The Family Building Society has also seen savers double the money deposited with the mutual. 

Since launching to market, the mutual has increased its membership from just over 51,000 members to 63,000 in 2024.

It has received over 50 industry awards and volunteered 1,000 hours to local charities since launching its charity volunteer day for employees in 2017. 

The Family Building Society also launched its Windfall Bond in 2014, and to date has paid out more than £5.1m in prizes. 

In its 2023 results, Family Building Society posted an underlying group profit before tax of £20m, up from the previous year’s £16.4m. 

Mark Bogard (pictured), chief executive of Family Building Society, said: “When we started, I was a bit worried that some families really don’t like each other. But despite the inevitable tensions here and there, most families get along pretty well and know that they have to work together across the generations to help each other and make the most of their money. 

“Launching anything new is always pretty hairy and you just don’t know if it’ll succeed. We have succeeded. We have grown, got more customers, improved what we do and we still treat people as individuals, which is what they want, something that is getting rarer and rarer nowadays.”

He added: “Our biggest opportunity is that lots of people still haven’t heard of us.” 

This year, Family Building Society revealed its intention to launch a limited company offset buy-to-let (BTL) mortgage and the mutual has said there was “plenty of opportunity” in the later life lending market. 

Know Your BDM: Ginny English, Residential by Foundation

Know Your BDM: Ginny English, Residential by Foundation

Which locations and how many advisers and broker firms do you cover in your role at Residential by Foundation?

I work within the Residential by Foundation brand, covering the East of England and approximately 800 brokers.

 

What personal talent/skill is most valuable in doing your job?

Approachability, reliability and the desire to help.

 

What personal talent/skill would you most like to improve on?

Pretty much anything to do with technology.

 

What’s the hardest part of your job?

Having to say to a broker that we can’t help them. Thankfully, this is a reasonably rare occurrence.

 

What do you love most about your job?

Talking and engaging with brokers and being able to offer solutions to meet such a wide variety of borrowing needs.

 

What’s the best bit of career-related advice you’ve ever been given?

There is some debate on whether Mahatma Gandhi actually said this or not, but I’ve always been inspired by the quote: “Be the change you want to see in this world.” It helps me be bold enough to be different and to make a difference.

 

How do you keep up to date with developments in the market?

I do lots of reading and also get the inside scoop from speaking directly to brokers and colleagues.

 

What is the most quirky/unique property deal you’ve been involved in?

This tends to be more customer-led than property-related. We get a lot of people who have been rejected by high street lenders but, thanks to their mortgage broker, they connect with us. We have helped many self-employed people who have made the jump to start their own business but don’t fit mainstream criteria. I get an enormous amount of joy from helping someone to get onto the property ladder or be able to continue to afford their family home.

 

What was your motivation for choosing this career?

I wanted to make the change from being an internal business development manager (BDM) to a regional area manager because I wanted to be able to connect with more intermediaries, meet them in person, and really understand the drivers behind their business growth plans.

 

If you could do any other job in the property sector, what would it be and why?

I’d love to be involved in interior design to channel my creative streak.

 

What did you want to be growing up?

A TV presenter, which would lend itself nicely to hosting an interior design TV show, I think.

 

If you could have one superpower, what would it be?

Teleportation. Imagine how many more brokers I’d be able to help if I could just pop between meetings with the snap of my fingers.

 

What is your strategy for tackling challenges?

Keep calm and remain focused.

 

What is your greatest skill(s), either work or non-work related?

Empathy and care.

 

And finally, what’s the strangest question you’ve ever been asked?

“Haven’t I seen you on the telly?”

Average mortgage rates drop modestly week-on-week – Rightmove

Average mortgage rates drop modestly week-on-week – Rightmove

The Rightmove weekly mortgage tracker revealed that the average two-year fixed rate came to 5.35% on 11 July, down from an average of 5.37% last week. The average five-year fixed mortgage rate also fell marginally from 4.99% to 4.97%. 

Both averages were lower than rates seen a year ago, when the average two-year fix was 6.42% and the average five-year fixed rate was 5.91%. 

 

Mortgage rate changes at LTV tiers 

As of 11 July, Rightmove’s data found the average two-year fixed mortgage rate for a 60% loan to value (LTV) deal was 4.78%, while the five-year fixed rate came to 4.35%. 

This compared to averages of 4.82% and 4.39% last week respectively. A year ago, the average rates came to 6.24% and 5.78%. 

At 75% LTV, the average two-year fixed rate fell from 5.22% to 5.18% week-on-week, while the average five-year fixed rate dropped from 4.86% to 4.82%. 

This time last year, the averages were 6.24% for a two-year fix and 5.73% for a five-year fix. 

The average two-year fixed rate at 85% LTV sat at 5.36% on 11 July, down from 5.38% last week, while the average five-year fixed mortgage rate was 4.97% compared to 4.99%. 

Both averages were lower than the respective rates of 6.4% and 5.9% last year. 

At 90% LTV, the average two-year fixed rate declined from 5.65% to 5.63% over the week, while the average five-year fixed rate dropped from 5.16% to 5.14%. Last year, the averages were 6.51% and 5.99% respectively. 

The average two-year fixed rate for a deal at 95% LTV was 6.12% and the average five-year fixed rate was 5.67%. The average five-year fixed mortgage rate was flat on last week, while the average two-year fixed rate had fallen from 6.11%. 

These were down from the respective average rates of 6.93% and 6.23% a year ago. 

Rightmove calculated that the typical monthly mortgage payment on a first-time buyer property worth £227,757 with a five-year fix at 85% LTV over a 25-year term would be £1,128, down from £1,128 a year ago. 

How do you stay motivated as a mortgage adviser? – Flavin

How do you stay motivated as a mortgage adviser? – Flavin

I personally got to a stage where I just didn’t want to climb into the car to drive to work. Once I’d dragged myself in, “motivating staff” was almost impossible when I couldn’t even motivate myself. Why should they feel engaged in their roles just for job satisfaction when the person with the most to gain didn’t even want to be there? 

I’m sure many of you reading this understand what I mean, so how did I overcome it? 

After some reflection, I decided that it was being a mortgage adviser that I’d had enough of. The meeting clients was great, but the paperwork and potential issues that the job generated was just sucking the life out of me.

 

Finding out where you stand 

That’s when I decided I’m faced with two options; am I a mortgage broker who owns a business? Or am I a business owner whose company sells financial services? 

I decided on the latter and, from that point on, I knew that I had to commit 100% to my decision. 

Step one in this process: de-authorise as a mortgage broker. 

Yes, step one is taking away your safety net. Without doing this, it’s almost impossible to build your dream company as you’ll fall back into the default thought process of: “I like this client, I’ll write the business”, or “This is a big case, I’m not passing this across”.

Or, the most dangerous of all: “Business is getting quiet; I’ll get rid of a few advisers and write the business myself”. 

Obviously, you can’t deregulate until you have a team. I estimate this as five advisers and the appropriate administration team before considering de-authorising. But anything below this is not yet a business but still an extremely busy job. 

 

After the first step 

So, what does life look like when you deregulate? The “business is getting quiet” suddenly is answered by “I need to generate more leads for my advisers”. 

The first response solves a problem in the short term, the latter solves the problem over the long term. 

Still not convinced? 

If you spend 30 hours as a mortgage adviser and 10 hours as a business owner – and I’m guessing that first figure is on the low side, while the second is on the high side – how fast are you going to build a successful company that can supply you with that elusive “passive” income? 

After all, a successful company needs to have a great marketing department, successful sales team, a slick and fully systemised operations system and needs to be in total control of the numbers. 

How much more successful would you be if your 40-hour week was now 100% devoted to growing and developing these four areas? How diverse does your day become and how much more engaged are you with your business?

It becomes easy to motivate your staff when both you and they understand what the purpose of the company is, and everyone understands their commitment to achieving that goal. 

Scroll back up and look again at the two questions that face you, it’s time for you to decide. 

Are you going to take control of your destiny or are you going to be just a bit player in the story of your own life? 

A third of homebuyers want better access to long-term fixed mortgages – Bloomberg Intelligence

A third of homebuyers want better access to long-term fixed mortgages – Bloomberg Intelligence

The Bloomberg Intelligence survey of 1,000 people found that although respondents desired this, just 8% were willing to take out a 10-year fix now. 

The firm suggested this could be because of the high level of rates rather than an unwillingness to lock in a rate for a long period. 

Bloomberg Intelligence said what respondents wanted was at odds with the government’s plans around homeownership, as just 26% said they wanted to see more support for first-time buyers. 

Just a quarter said they wanted the government to build more homes. 

These sentiments go against Labour’s proposed plans for the housing market, which includes the building of one-and-a-half million homes and the Freedom to Buy initiative, which will see the mortgage guarantee scheme made permanent. 

There was more support for a stamp duty cut and grants for energy-efficiency improvements, as shown by the 45% and 28% of respondents respectively who wanted to see the government bring these in. 

Iwona Hovenko, senior real estate analyst at Bloomberg Intelligence, said: “Almost half of respondents in our survey seek a cut in stamp duty from the government, but we don’t see this as likely in the near term. The desire was strongest among movers and buyers in Southern England, due to disproportionately high taxes on pricier homes.” 

 

Homebuyers adjusting to higher rates 

Bloomberg Intelligence’s survey suggested that buyers were getting used to higher mortgage rates and going ahead with purchases. 

Some 37% of respondents said their buying plans were unchanged, compared to 29% in February. 

The firm said this would support housing activity and housebuilder sales. 

However, the poll did reveal that buyers were worried about house prices rising, as this was the most cited concern by people who had brought purchase plans forward. 

There was a decline in the share of buyers waiting for rates to fall before going ahead with purchases, dropping from 35% of respondents in February who cited this as a reason to delay to 28% in June. 

The high cost of living was the main reason people were putting off buying a home, as identified by 30% of respondents. This compared to 27% who named this as a reason in February. 

When asked what the biggest hurdles to buying a home were, 57% of respondents said high house prices, 45% named increased mortgage rates, and a third said stamp duty costs. 

Some 23% said a lack of homes to buy was a barrier to purchasing, while 22% cited the “stressful” process. 

Hovenko added: “Buyers getting used to high rates and proceeding with purchases as planned may support housing activity and sales of homebuilders, who’re dependent on wider housing market sentiment, given new builds account for only about 15% of annual transactions.

“That’s as a growing proportion of our survey respondents said in June that their buying plans were unchanged, more than offsetting the decrease in the share of those who brought their plans forward. Notably, though, the fear of further price rises was by far the most often cited reason for respondents who brought their plans forward.” 

London Credit builds team with three hires

London Credit builds team with three hires

Jake McCausland has been hired to lead London Credit’s launch into development finance lending, which is pegged for later this year. 

He previously worked at Wellesley Finance and Fiduciam. 

London Credit has also appointed Wesley Hawthorn as a senior business development manager (BDM) to support the lender in establishing its development finance division and growing its market presence. 

Hawthorn also has experience in the sector and previously worked at LendInvest as a portfolio manager, Lendhub, and most recently at Fiduciam as head of development finance. 

Drena Gashi has also been made senior BDM and is originally from New York City. She has held a number of roles at the likes of JPMorgan Chase as a lending specialist, Crystal Specialist Finance as a corporate sales director and Catalyst Property Finance as its London key account manager. 

Gashi has worked in roles relating to commercial and residential lending, investments, property transactions and client relationship management. 

Marios Theophanous (pictured), credit manager at London Credit, said: “We are delighted to welcome Jake, Wesley, and Drena to the London Credit team. Their exceptional backgrounds and proven track records in the finance industry signal our ongoing growth and ambition in the UK bridging and development market. With their expertise, we are confident in our ability to expand our service offerings and deliver even greater value to our clients.

“This is an exciting time for London Credit, and we look forward to the contributions our new team members will make in driving our success.” 

London Credit currently offers bridging loans from £100,000 to £3.5m on residential, commercial and semi-commercial properties in London, the South East and major cities, with terms from three to 18 months. 

Last month, it added a hybrid buy-to-let (BTL) product option to its range to help investors with the uncertainty in the market. 

The biggest changes with Consumer Duty have already happened – analysis

The biggest changes with Consumer Duty have already happened – analysis

When asked how mortgage lenders were preparing for the duty to be applied to closed book products by 31 July and how this might affect the market, Paul Broadhead, head of mortgage and housing policy at the Building Societies Association (BSA), said: “The big systems and process changes to reflect the requirements of the Consumer Duty vis-à-vis lenders and brokers happened last year, when the duty came into force for all on-sale products and services.”

He added: “Lenders are now overlaying the same principles to their back-book products.” 

A spokesperson for TSB reiterated this, saying: “We are fully compliant with Consumer Duty requirements and have been engaging with our intermediary partners over the course of the implementation.” 

A Barclays spokesperson said: “Ensuring customers receive good outcomes is something that Barclays strives to deliver. 

“Consumer Duty has provided a useful framework and is something that we have put significant effort into implementing over the last two years. As a result, we don’t expect there to be major changes to our offering on 31 July, as many of our updates have already been implemented.” 

Broadhead there would be little impact on a mortgage broker’s role, as they would mostly be dealing with on-sale products. 

He said: “Lenders already have processes and systems in place to communicate with brokers and ensure they remain updated on products, pricing and criteria, which will continue.

“We continue to liaise regularly with both lenders and brokers, and have not heard of any concerns or issues regarding the closed book deadline next month.” 

Brian Pitt, chief executive at Rockstead, said the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) had not given regulated prescriptive information on Consumer Duty, and rather it had been “based on principles”. 

“It’s an extension of Treating Customers Fairly principles, more than anything,” he said, echoing the views of Broadhead. 

 

Financial market considerations 

Considering how this could affect the transacting of mortgage portfolios, Pitt said sellers would need to ensure they were giving buyers as much information as possible on how they were treating customers. 

He said purchasers acquiring a mortgage portfolio would need to make sure what the seller told them was appropriate and correct. 

Pitt said buyers needed to apply Consumer Duty on an ongoing basis from the point of sale. 

He added: “The information that the buyer needs includes understanding how the product was designed in the first place; the basis on which it’s been assessed.” 

 

Spirit of Consumer Duty running through a firm 

Pitt said buyers also needed to confirm practices complied with fair value expectations, although the FCA’s definition was “vague”. 

He said: “Consumer Duty needs to be embedded in firms. It’s got to be that everybody employed understands the rules and their responsibilities.” 

It was good to have policies in place, Pitt said, but firms also needed “practical examples” and “a definition of fair value [that] applies across the life of the product and length of the relationship with the client”. 

He said that could be a challenge. 

The FCA is expecting firms to have policies and principles in place, while also going further with evidence of how they monitor Consumer Duty within their firm, Pitt suggested. 

He said Rockstead had come across “great policies” at certain firms, but in some cases they had been “stuck on a shelf, [with] no proper application of them at the coal face”. 

“In order for people to avoid regulatory attention, it’s quite critical that firms conduct external assessments,” Pitt added. 

Pitt said it was too easy for firms to “check their own homework and come up with the right answers”. 

He said what would change would be the application of the evidence of how lenders are monitoring ongoing responsibilities. 

The FCA will look for evidence of this in spot checks, reviews and quality assessments. 

“Although it complies with Consumer Duty in principle, they [also] need to be evidencing it in practice,” he added. 

 

Applying new standards to old practices 

Pitt said it would not be feasible for lenders to view legacy mortgage accounts through a Consumer Duty lens, but acknowledged that some “trapped” customers such as mortgage prisoners were paying higher rates than others. 

He added: “If I’m buying a mortgage portfolio, I can’t go back and change the terms that those people signed up to.

“You can’t really go back and say the standards that apply today must apply to what happened in the past. But what you can do is look at characteristics of particular groups. Did it meet the principles at the time? Clearly the market changes all the time. Unfortunately, that doesn’t help mortgage prisoners.” 

However, for those acquiring a mortgage portfolio, Pitt said they could make a “judgement call” on how to integrate any new borrowers into their new or existing portfolio. 

“They need to be considering that. What they can’t do is continue to just isolate that one group of borrowers and continue to disadvantage them. What they have to do is carefully think about how they will deal with the customer going forward,” Pitt added. 

 

Impact on funding lines and specialist lenders 

When asked if Consumer Duty could change how some lenders approached financing smaller and specialist lenders who may not be regulated, Pitt said it was already standard practice to ensure the lender being funded “does what it says on the tin”, by carrying out appropriate due diligence. 

He said this might include factors such as their credit policy and how they complied with other regulations. 

Pitt said regardless of whether a specialist lender was regulated or not, “the FCA was likely to want to see the principles applied more broadly” in relation to its principles of business. 

He said these considerations already overrode most existing measures. 

Pitt said some unregulated products like buy to let (BTL) would fall “in a completely different category”, but the FCA would still look at the firm as a complete entity and determine if unregulated products were treated differently.

“As a business, that mortgage company would probably want to apply the same rules to everything,” Pitt said. 

MPowered Mortgages trims two-year fixed rates

MPowered Mortgages trims two-year fixed rates

MPowered Mortgages’ two-year fixed rates at 60% loan to value (LTV) with a £999 arrangement fee now start from 4.93%, down from 4.76%. 

With no arrangement fee, pricing begins at 4.89%. The products are open to borrowers moving home or buying their first property. 

Data from the lender, sourced by Twenty7tec, showed that for the first half of 2022, 21% of people moving home chose a two-year fixed rate mortgage. This rose to 38% in 2024. This echoed findings from Twenty7tec that showed a month-on-month rise for two-year fixed rate searches through its platform.

Stuart Cheetham (pictured), CEO of MPowered Mortgages, said: “We’re pleased to be reducing our two-year fixed rates further, having already reduced them at the end of June, further supporting people making their first steps on the ladder and those moving into their next home.

“Demand for two-year fixed rates has doubled since summer of 2022. Growth in demand for two-year fixes is in part due to people becoming more optimistic about the prospect of rates coming down in the future.”

He added: “However, we would urge borrowers to remain cautious about the future direction of mortgage rates, as there are no guarantees what rates will do, and history has taught us this. Speaking to a qualified financial adviser or a broker is crucial before making any decisions.” 

The Exeter appoints Payne as CFO

The Exeter appoints Payne as CFO

Payne joined The Exeter as its commercial director in October last year and is taking over from John Gunn, who is retiring. Payne has more than 30 years of experience working in insurance, asset management and wealth management. 

He is a qualified actuary and has held numerous senior positions during his career. At The Exeter, he will be responsible for finance, actuarial functions, and the newly formed insurance solutions team. 

The announcement was made at the firm’s annual general meeting, where it also revealed a year-on-year growth in written premium income. 

This comprised premiums from new policies sold over the year, as well as historical sales. 

The Exeter’s health insurance division saw premiums rise to £21.3m in 2023, while life insurance increased 18% to £4.1m. Its income protection premiums also rose to £5.5m. 

Over 2023, The Exeter gave £51,600 to charitable causes.

Isobel Langton, CEO of The Exeter, said: “Our AGM highlighted another strong year for The Exeter. We have continued to grow our membership numbers and new business volumes, continued to invest in our colleagues through training and development and supported a number of charitable causes at a time of continued cost-of-living and healthcare challenges in the UK. 

“The results that we continue to deliver are a testament to the hard work and dedication of our colleagues, who continue to be our biggest asset.” 

Langton added: “Our people drive The Exeter forward, and with this in mind, I would like to congratulate Michael on his appointment and look forward to working closely with him to achieve our future strategic goals. 

“I would also like to take this opportunity to thank John Gunn for the contribution that he has made to the success of The Exeter since he joined in 2017. John has been a key member of our board and executive team and has been pivotal in delivering significant growth to The Exeter, helping to establish our position as one of the UK’s leading health and life insurance providers. 

“John has dedicated his entire career to the life and health insurance industry and his support and commitment have been invaluable since I joined The Exeter at the start of 2021, and I wish him all the best for the future.” 

Perenna reduces resi and RIO rates; Hodge cuts later life pricing – round-up

Perenna reduces resi and RIO rates; Hodge cuts later life pricing – round-up

Perenna’s 40-year fixed rate mortgage at 95% loan to value (LTV) is now priced at 6.61%, following a 0.34% reduction. This has a £1,999 fee and a five-year early repayment charge (ERC) period. 

The lender’s products do not have maximum age limits, allowing borrowers to spread their mortgages over a longer period. 

Perenna’s RIO products have also been reduced in rate and now start at 5.88% for a deal at 60% LTV with a £1,999 fee. 

The lender recently broadened its distribution by joining the Air lending platform and being onboarded onto the Quilter network. 

John Davison, head of product, proposition and distribution at Perenna, said: “With Perenna, age is no more than a number. The Perenna mortgage is attractive to over-50s, having no maximum age and acting as a great bridge between a traditional mortgage and equity release. For customers who may still have plans to sell in the future but can’t access a traditional mortgage due to their age or term restrictions, Perenna offers an innovative solution. 

“We continue to identify ways to offer increased value to our brokers and their clients, and we will continue to do so with the Perenna mortgage.” 

 

Hodge cuts rates 50+ and RIO product rates 

Hodge has reduced rates across select mortgages for borrowers aged 50 and over and its RIO products by as much as 0.26%. 

Reductions will apply to two- and five-year fixes for new and existing borrowers. 

Emma Graham, business development manager at Hodge, said: “We’ve implemented these changes to give our brokers and their customers greater choice as the market settles and rates continue to fall. 

“We’re hoping these latest rate reductions will help our intermediary partners serve customers requiring specialist mortgage solutions, with competitive rates on our market-leading 50+ and RIO mortgages.” 

Hodge has made a series of changes to its later life lending criteria, including an increase to the age of first death stress for over-50 mortgages and a change to accepted property features on its RIO products.