Yes, we have had some hard times in the not so recent past that many of us would like to forget (although we never should) but today’s market is robust, growing and bursting with talent.
Ever since smashing the £1bn annual lending barrier a few years back, we have gone from strength to strength and last year was our seventh straight year of growing annual lending.
In fact, in the last three months of 2018, £1.08bn of property wealth was released by customers throughout the land – nearly matching the annual lending for the whole of 2014.
But how far can we go and, more importantly, how much does this really matter?
Do customers care?
According to research from Canada Life Home Finance, most advisers believe 2019 will be yet another record year.
Of those surveyed, 40% believe that a whopping £6bn is possible by the end of 2019.
That’s a 50% jump from 2018 – not too shabby – but what does this really tell us?
For me, it shows that equity release may be breaking records, but there’s still tons of room for even more growth.
Eight straight years of growing equity release lending is of course fantastic, but does the average customer care?
The main goal should always be creating products that our customers truly desire and giving them the advice they need. Everything else is secondary.
As we look forward to the rest of 2019, and indeed a new decade on the horizon, let’s start focusing on the things that will take us to a whole new level.
Focus on customer care
Record-breaking years should be celebrated, but what that means for the customer is more important.
New lenders, new products, new opportunities to cure the crises many people are staring at in their retirement.
Any figure could be possible in the future, and I wouldn’t be surprised if the next decade is a truly ‘Roaring Twenties’ for equity release, with sums like £10bn often released in a 12-month period.
But if we are going to deliver what our customers truly care about, the bottom line must only form a part of the broader target.
Focusing on things like product innovation, adviser training and customer care is what will make equity release a truly mainstream retirement finance option.
Breaking records should just be a happy coincidence.