The master broker has launched its service with a panel of nine lenders but expects to grow this to around 12 as it is completing due diligence on further additions at the moment.
Crystal managing director Jo Breeden (pictured) told Specialist Lending Solutions that the firm had been handling ad-hoc enquiries for some time, but that these had begun to grow over the last year.
“We are getting more specialist residential enquiries, it’s becoming a new normal,” he said.
“For example there are more borrowers with county court judgments against them (CCJs) and many mainstream residential brokers don’t have a panel for those types of cases.
“We were happy to pick these cases up to support our broker partners, but we never really had dedicated a team for it.”
Crystal had been receiving around 10 to 12 enquiries per day prior to forming the team with little promotional work, but Breeden is aiming to reach four times that number by the year end.
A dedicated team with an underwriter and two administration support staff have been put in place already, and if the growth targets are reached this is likely to expand to near double figures.
“It’s all about having the right members of staff and we’re increasing our risk and compliance function as well,” Breeden added.
The level of enquiries about later life lending “has been the surprising growth area” for Crystal.
However, Breeden was clear that there were no plans to expand into the equity release market.
“I would never say never, but that’s not our area of expertise and there are plenty of people who do have that expertise,” he said.
Panel lenders have been sourced from existing partners and new arrangements.
They include Foundation Home Loans, Masthaven, Pepper Money, Precise Mortgages, The Mortgage Lender and Together, with new additions Family Building Society, Market Harborough Building Society and Tipton & Coseley Building Society.
“We do have more lenders coming on board, we’re just finalising the due diligence on those,” Breeden continued.
“We see 12 being the number we want to get to and in that mix every lender to add something different.”
Crystal will continue to support its bridging, commercial, development finance, second charge loans and fee arrangements will follow the firm’s standard approach.