How are you enjoying your role at West One?
Everyone has made me feel very welcome and I am fortunate to be part of a highly experienced team who have been hugely successful within the bridging space. We now want to build upon this success particularly as we move into other areas of specialist lending.
You’ll soon be launching a second charge proposition with West One, are you excited to be getting back into the market?
Having worked in the second charge sector for over 15 years, I am passionate about delivering products which will give brokers the opportunity to contribute to market growth, and provide greater options for borrowers underserved by the mainstream mortgage market.
How different will it be to be on the lender side rather than the master broker side?
I will actually be going back to my roots. Prior to running a second charge brokerage for the last nine years, I have always worked for sizeable lending operations offering mainstream and specialist lending products. I am thrilled to have the opportunity to be part of a dynamic business, and very much looking forward to working with our broker partners, many of whom I have worked with closely over the years.
How will West One set itself aside from the competition?
The knowledge and experience gained by operating a brokerage will undoubtedly give us a unique understanding on how best to deliver a proposition that best meets the need of the consumer, as well as offering streamlined processes and support to our broker partners. We have designed our portal through the eyes of a broker and our detailed knowledge of the areas of the market which are underserved will be crucial in shaping our range of products and services. Finally, we bring our strong reputation from bridging, for taking time to understand individual borrower’s needs. This means we can cater for those underserved borrowers who require a bespoke approach to lending, like the self-employed, older borrowers and those with less-than-perfect credit histories.
How will it galvanise mortgage brokers?
We will work hard, as other second charge lenders and brokers have done, to promote the benefits of second charge options for those borrowers who have a need to capital raise.
‘giving control back to mortgage intermediaries’
There have never been more options available to mortgage intermediaries as to how they choose to submit second charge applications, whether that is working with second charge specialist brokers to own or outsource the advice process or submit applications directly to the lender.
It is about giving control back to mortgage intermediaries to decide which is the best fit for their business. Key distribution partners in the mortgage sector and trade bodies also have significant influence over their member firms, and while I believe confidence in this sector will continue to grow and develop there is always more that can be done.
What challenges do you think the second charge sector is facing most right now?
Last year saw an unprecedented level of regulatory change and this required a period of adjustment which temporarily slowed growth in this sector, but we have recently seen much more positive indicators that the market is returning to growth. This is borne out by anecdotal evidence from some specialist master broker firms which are currently experiencing peak application volumes.
With an estimated 70% of mortgages being offered on an intermediated basis, the key challenge is how to engage better with mortgage intermediaries when it comes to second charge mortgage options. We must try and foster a wider acceptance among brokers that there are many instances when a second charge could be the most appropriate product to meet borrowers’ needs, and importantly, which is the best way for that broker firm to meet that need.
Where do you see the market going for the rest of this year?
The Finance and Leasing Association reported a 15% growth in volumes in the second charge market in March 2017 compared to the same month last year. This is significant given March 2016 figures will have included the final push to include CCA regulated loans prior to the implementation of MCD and the rush to beat the buy–to–let stamp duty changes which came into effect in April last year. If this momentum can be maintained throughout the remainder of 2017 then this will be great news for the second charge industry.