Southend-based packager, ICMG, aims to double the number of its retail outlets over the next year and will move to a franchise model to drive the expansion.
Following an announcement earlier this month, the ICMG retail operation has been hived into a separate company called Essex and Capital Mortgage Company.
Managing director for this retail operation, Chris Gardner, said there were currently six outlets and this is expected to have risen to 12 by the end of 2003. He said operations in the Southend area would be managed inhouse by the Essex Capital Mortgage Company, while those further afield would be rolled out on a franchise model. In time, he expects a national distribution network to be in place, but would not be drawn on a specific timeframe.
Gardner said there was still some refinement to do on the model but commented: ‘We want new people coming into the market. People in related businesses that are interested in the mortgage market.’ He said he was looking to almost double business from around £55m in completions this year, to £100m next year. ‘It is imperative to have a retail distribution, especially with the up and coming changes in the regulatory environment,’ added Gardner.
Other expansion plans from ICMG have seen an operational link-up with new lender, Commercial First, to offer introducers an outlet in the commercial market. Rather than target existing commercial introducers, ICMG has chosen to bring its existing retail broker bank into the market, and is offering training to help introducers make the switch to the commercial market. With the commercial market remaining unregulated, Gardner said such a move was likely to prove popular for brokers who do not gain the qualifications requisite for continued existence in the residential market. ICMG is also a part of the newly founded Mortgage Distributors Co-operative and expects to put 40% (£100m) of its business through the operation. Gardner commented: ‘This year has been one of consolidation and next year should be very exciting for us.’