It’s why we badged yesterday’s email that went out to our incredible staff as ‘This is good news!’ just to ensure they did not worry unduly before we held our internal meeting.
The ‘good news’ that we were able to announce, and as I hope you have already heard, is that Fleet Mortgages has been bought by Starling Bank – it’s first acquisition – and as such, sets us off on the next stage of our journey which started just seven years ago from suitably shabby offices for a start-up.
So, what does this mean? Well, from our perspective, it’s the most positive news we could possibly have announced today and provides a series of benefits for all Fleet stakeholders, particularly you the adviser reading this and your clients.
As mentioned, this is Starling’s first acquisition, and as Anne Boden, CEO of Starling, put it, the start of its first move into mortgages. As you may know Starling predominantly offers current accounts and business banking, also overdrafts and business loans. It has an excellent track record in securing customers and has been hugely successful in this market.
Up until now, it has not offered mortgages. Its acquisition of Fleet perhaps tells you the high regard it has for our business, for the lending we have carried out in the last seven years, the service we offer and the potential we have to go further and faster with our lending proposition.
First it is important to point out that it is business as usual. The management team we have remains in place and so will all our staff. Our commitment to the buy-to-let sector remains unchanged as does our full focus on intermediary distribution and the service levels we offer to you.
What will change is the way we fund our loans. Up until now we have originated our loans to separate funders, but in three months’ time that will shift and all our mortgages will be funded by Starling’s deposit base which as you will have guessed is significant.
Essentially, this is a much cheaper source of funds for Fleet. This will be reflected in our pricing but also potentially in terms of the sectors we’re active in and the ambitions we have to grow and develop our product offering.
It’s too early to say what that might look like. But Starling is positive about what we can achieve and it too is hugely ambitious for where we might take Fleet from a lending perspective.
So, as I mentioned to our staff (and now to you), there are exciting times ahead. A great many of our intermediary partners have already responded positively to this news and we couldn’t be more pleased with this outcome and what it will mean for everyone involved with Fleet.
As you would expect, we’ll continue to communicate with you all as we progress into this new alliance, and you’ll begin to see the benefits of this very shortly. We’re looking forward to working with you all and to showing you exactly what our new shareholders will offer this business.