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We want to offer products throughout the mortgage lifecycle, says West One Loans’ Grundy

  • 15/04/2024
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We want to offer products throughout the mortgage lifecycle, says West One Loans’ Grundy
West One Loans has a vision of offering products to fit various stages of the financial lifecycle and needs, the lender’s managing director of residential mortgage and second charge has said.

Speaking to this publication, Marie Grundy (pictured) spoke about West One Loans’ expansion into residential lending following its launch into the shared ownership and Right to Buy spaces last week. 

Grundy said that, in the 18 months since the specialist lender branched out into first charge residential lending, its focus had been on “evolving the proposition”. 

“The timing was right in the middle of the fallout from the Liz Truss era, and last year was very much around building up distribution and listening to brokers in terms of what they wanted to see from a specialist lender,” she added. 

Grundy said West One Loans wanted to differentiate itself from other similar lenders and product offerings. 

She said the latest shared ownership and Right to Buy launch was “a very clear example” of this, as it enabled West One Loans to target parts of the market that are “not necessarily served as well as other areas”, particularly within specialist lending. 

Grundy added: “My job is to continue to do that, to make it a very compelling proposition, and to give borrowers who otherwise wouldn’t necessarily have mortgage options available through lenders such as West One.” 

Grundy said this was the first version of the product and the lender would be testing and learning as usual. 

So far, the range has had a “really positive reaction”, Grundy added. 

Grundy said: “Hopefully we can continue to develop and the options not only for Right to Buy and shared ownership customers, but for other borrowers either looking to get onto the house ladder for the first time, all the way through the lifecycle through to homemovers, remortgage customers and older borrowers.

“We want to have a product that covers off as broad a reach as possible in terms of borrowers that fit our target profile.” 

She said the lender would still aim to cater to borrowers with more complex needs.


Building on the West One Loans proposition 

Grundy said she took a lot of her learnings from the second charge market over to the first charge division, saying “one of the big takeaways for me is always to get that feedback to understand what you’re doing well and what you can improve on”. 

She added: “Process and customer experience is just as important as the products and the interest rates, so it’s really about refining our processes as we go along.” 

Grundy said West One Loans was making “big investments” in its technology and was also thinking of broadening its remortgage legal services to other borrowers. 

The lender has on-site legal services, which means the process starts when an application is submitted. 

She added: “We don’t wait till the offer has been issued. The idea being that once the offer has been issued, their customer is in complete control of when they want to complete their remortgage. 

“Last month, for example, we had two cases where we completed a remortgage within four days of receiving the application. It massively speeds up the process.” 

She said brokers “loved” the concept, and that the lender had plans to extend this across different products. 


More confidence in the market 

She said the rate cuts made by major banks at the start of the year sent out a good message to borrowers, which boosted confidence, as well as some of the products aimed at first-time buyers. 

“First-time buyers play such an important role in the housing market, and I think it’s always great to see lenders trying to innovate and support that sector of the market,” she added. 

Grundy said it was positive that there had not been a huge crash in the property market, saying this was one of the fears the market had around two years ago. 

She said purchase activity had held up well as borrowers adjusted the perceptions around rates and the cost of borrowing. 

“We’re certainly seeing relatively strong demand in the purchase sector for our products. We want to develop even more products to kind of support that area of the market,” she added. 

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