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Exclusive: The Mortgage Mum Specialist Finance on ‘recruitment drive’

  • 15/02/2024
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Exclusive: The Mortgage Mum Specialist Finance on ‘recruitment drive’
The Mortgage Mum Specialist Finance discusses the market and its upcoming developments in the years ahead.

Speaking to this publication, Shelley Walker (pictured), director of The Mortgage Mum Specialist Finance, said that there was a “lot of positivity” since its launch, with clients coming to the company directly, and brokers and brokerages referring into it as well.

“We’re having a decent number of leads come forward for secured loans, bridging and commercial enquiries, and there’s an emerging market now for developers as well. So, it’s really positive strides in the first six months.”

Regarding referrals, she said it was a “complexity and expertise issue” that led brokers to refer cases to it, and it has expertise on self-build projects and around foreign investors.

“It’s an area where other brokers might be more restricted about who’s on their panel and what their permissions are under their network. We can give that more personalised touch and service,” she said.

She said that, on the back of this demand, it was about to launch a “recruitment drive” to bring brokers and support staff on board.

“We need to now get in new brokers and additional support staff to really take us forward,” she said.

The Mortgage Mum launched its specialist finance arm, The Mortgage Mum Specialist Finance, in October last year. At the time, the firm said it would focus on development finance, commercial buy to let (BTL), bridging finance, adverse credit, complex BTL and loans for high-net-worth individuals.

The company currently consists of three brokers in the specialist arm, with Walker adding that she would like to have another three brokers in the 12 months, along with para-planning and administrative support as well.


Developers will be a big opportunity

Talking about what the firm was seeing on the ground, Walker said that it was “very mixed”, with a mixture of longer-term and shorter-term deals.

“You can have a lot of conversations with people about their plans for their businesses, but then that takes quite a long time, but then when they need it, it converts really quickly at the end,” she explained.

“The completions we’re having are obviously more around secured loans and bridging because that is the faster end of the market, but certainly the enquiries are largely around development, self-build and bridging.”

Walker said that it was developing a “niche” around foreign investors with a lot of enquiries coming from this area, as well as specialist BTL.

“The areas of growth and the opportunities that I see are around developers, so whether that’s commercial conversions, houses in multiple occupation (HMO) conversions or leading on to the much larger development sites,” she said.

When asked about lender innovation, Walker explained that aspirational investors can face hurdles, as sometimes upfront fees in areas like bridging can be quite “challenging”.

“For people who are asset-rich and cash-poor, for them to raise £4,000 to £5,000 to complete a transaction can be a big challenge. So, a bit more innovation around that, maybe some shared risk, rather than that all being a risk for the client,” she said.

On the BTL side, Walker said that she would like to see a fall in fees, adding that, as rates were falling, so was the risk for lenders. She suggested fixed-fee-type deals.

Within development, she said that there could be challenges around loan to value (LTV) restrictions, so “some flexibility on that as the risks become lower across the market”.


Collaboration will be the focus this year

Walker said that “this year will be a year of collaboration and looking at other women that are working in this sector, what their offer is and how we can complement each other and work together”.

“We see collaboration, not competition, so we want to work with other women to support them and develop their businesses as well while we’re developing ours,” she added.

Walker said that it also has a “keen eye on aspirational investors”, so people at the “start of their journey”.

“I’ve had several clients already that have come to me saying other brokers won’t help them because they might be at that lower end. As a business owner, it would obviously be great if everyone came with a multimillion-pound development on day one, but it’s that nurture journey that we take people on, so wanting to really hold their hand or support them through that process,” she added.

Walker continued: “I think it is all about partnerships here, because I think it’s easy to be the jack of all trades and the master of none and you can become a busy fool in this space. I think better to have some really good quality lenders with some good quality brokers that can offer that really personalised service to clients and who can look at them as a person, not just a deal.”

She said that, for clients with quite complex portfolios, they need a “strategic review of their whole investment strategy”.

“That’s the role of a specialist broker as far as I’m concerned, it isn’t about a ‘wham bam, I’ll get your bridge and we’re done’ kind of scenario. It’s really that ‘What are you trying to achieve here? What’s your investment plan and your journey and, what’s the endgame that you’re trying to get to?’” Walker added.

She said sometimes that story could get missed if brokers were more “deal-led”, so the culture around specialist lending was important to include that.

“We’re invested in people, not each individual deal,” Walker said.

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