Hope Capital unveils customisable bridging loans
Six different products can be combined with different features and options within the range to create a personalised loan, the lender said.
The launch is “imminent” but the lender does not yet have a set date.
Under the range, borrowers will be able to manage cashflow and control their day-one loan amount by balancing the amount borrowed, rate, loan to value (LTV), fees and payment.
Hope Capital said through the range it hoped brokers could offer their customers a loan that meets their needs.
All parts of the collection are specifically for loans secured on residential property.
At the core if the range are three loan sizes to choose from, each with a range of rates and LTVs.
Borrowers have the option of a discounted rate loan where the initial six months is at a reduced rate.
The range also offers a part-serviced and part-deducted loan – allowing for monthly interest payments that are significantly reduced for the borrower.
Another product combines the Hope Flexi with the discounted rate loan and a payment holiday period.
It is suitable for customers wanting to optimise the loan amount they receive on day one and service their loan, but who need a payment holiday for a period during the loan term.
A zero per cent lender arrangement fee and no upfront solicitors’ costs is another option within the range.
Gary Bailey, managing director of Hope Capital (pictured), said: “We’re excited to have created the custom collection for our brokers and borrowers.
“In the current market, we believe it is more important now than ever to provide tailored products which prioritise affordability and flexibility to meet the needs of the customer.”
Octane Capital hires senior BDM from Shawbrook
Shrena Patel has started as senior business development manager (BDM) after joining from Shawbrook Bank where she was a BDM.
Prior to that Patel was a corporate relationship director at Santander. She will report to managing director Mark Posniak.
Chris Harrison has joined as senior credit manager from West One Loans where he was a senior lending underwriter.
He was previously an underwriter at The Loans Engine and will report to director of credit and risk Matt Smith.
Smith (pictured) noted that despite the Covid-19 pandemic, the lender had set itself big goals for 2020 and growing our sales and credit teams was vital to achieve them.
“Shrena has a huge amount of experience and strong relationships with countless introducers, while Chris is one of the most sophisticated credit managers in the market,” he said.
“I’ve got no doubt that both will hit the ground running and prove invaluable members of the team.”
Patel said she was excited to be joining the firm.
“Having worked at a challenger bank, I see Octane as a challenger to the challengers,” she said.
Harrison added: “Everyone in the industry respects what Jon, Mark and Matt have achieved over the years and I leapt at the chance to work with them.
“The team here is more experienced than any I have worked in and thrives in the kind of climate we now find ourselves in.”
Barnard: Bridging growth at Masthaven an unexpected trend of lockdown
The bank has also introduced an income declaration for pipeline customers who submitted cases prior to the outbreak and subsequent economic impact, along with vastly reducing the number of people working in offices as it adapted to the sudden changes.
Director of intermediaries Rob Barnard (pictured) told Specialist Lending Solutions he was cautiously optimistic following an increase in sales over the last three weeks since property market restrictions were eased.
As is typical across the market, Barnard explained the key weeks of lockdown had seen lower business volumes than would usually be expected.
But he noted this was now recovering and Masthaven was able to able to dedicate time to pro-active outbound sales activity and this was gaining traction.
“We’re starting to see green shoots which is encouraging but we have to tread very carefully,” Barnard said, adding that it was good to see lenders opening out into the 90 per cent loan to value (LTV) area.
One of the more unexpected trends to come though this period is a growth in bridging activity at Masthaven, Barnard noted.
“Bridging has remained really robust and we have picked up some business from that,” he said.
“We introduced an automated valuation model (AVM) at up to 50 per cent LTV, were pleased with it and have since increased it to 60 per cent LTV – that has been successful.”
He added that in the unfortunate situation where some lenders had been forced to pause their operations, Masthaven had been able to pick up new deals and relationships.
“It is interesting to see where the support comes from and it’s not always the common brokers – we have seen a spike in new registrations,” he continued.
“I think people normally register when they’ve got a bit of business to write with you.”
And having previously worked at non-bank lender Pepper, Barnard was sympathetic to those lenders that have been hit hardest in the crisis.
“The non-banks have been hit three ways: the securitisation markets have been closed, the cost of funds has gone up, and a good chunk of borrowers might have been hit by payment holidays,” he said.
“We have been able to stay open right the way through, but in non-bank lenders you do have to work to meet funders’ requirements.”
Prudent income approach
As with many others, introducing AVMs was one of the key changes the lender made to navigate the situation – this enabled it to process new applications and also go through its pipeline.
However, given the significant changes over the few weeks, the lender emphasised a cautious approach when underwriting its pipeline, but noted that borrowers were also being prudent.
“We’ve taken a bit more caution with applying the AVM regime to checking income and did introduce a standalone form to check with people,” Barnard said.
“I think people are sensitive in the main and they know that if their finances have been affected is it the right time for them to take on a mortgage?”
As far as practical operational changes and adaptation, Barnard explains that the lender had only moved into new offices in central London towards the end of last year.
This had prompted it to test business continuity plans and other scenarios, which resulted in a serviced office space being introduced in Reading as well.
He says this served the bank well and there are typically fewer than 10 people combined working in these two locations at present, with the whole operation being able to work remotely when needed.
Broker confidence remains
Barnard concluded by discussing the lender’s broker research which found there still remained a decent level of confidence in the market.
Of more than 200 intermediaries quizzed by Masthaven in May, 71 per cent said they were either confident or very confident in the market’s prospects for the next 12 months. A quarter said they were unsure.
The survey also found that half of specialist intermediaries were now using video calls to liaise with customers, while 42 per cent were sending regular email updates.
Only four per cent of brokers have introduced live chat platforms on their websites while just two per cent extended opening hours since the start of the pandemic.
But notably, a third of specialist intermediaries said they were recommending lenders based on their access to reliable funding.
“I think it’s made brokers think about making the most of their business, to make sure their clients don’t go back to the lender direct,” Barnard said.
“I think the confidence is still there, it’s the market that’s been taken, not the confidence.”
Mint Bridging launches lockdown development products
For firms looking to continue with developments while following safety guidelines relating to the pandemic, Mint has released a new development product.
This is based on a maximum four-house scheme with a loan value of up to £750,000, and a rate of 0.89 per cent. The product is available up to 55 per cent loan to gross development value (GDV).
Alternatively, for those impacted by building delays or unable to offload their premises due to market changes, Mint is offering a development exit loan which is available to those seeking up to £750,000.
It is based on a maximum six-house scheme and has a maximum loan to value ratio of 65 per cent with a rate of 0.89 per cent.
Sinead Moynihan, head of sales at Mint Bridging, said: “We have, like others in the market, to this point offered solely new bridging loan products, with Covid-19 in mind.
“However, we noticed a gap in the market for development-specific products and knew that it was necessary to widen our product portfolio with development loans that measure up to the needs of our brokers and borrowers at this difficult time.
“We hope these two new loans will help many who’ve found themselves in a difficult situation amid the coronavirus crisis yet are eager to keep Britain building,” Moynihan added.
Pepper limits all lending to 80 per cent LTV and withdraws BTL purchases
Lending at 80 per cent LTV is also being removed across buy-to-let, limited company buy-to-let, debt management plan and select residential ranges.
Due to the coronavirus, all applications to Pepper are currently being manually underwritten.
It comes as the lender restarts full physical valuations in England for pipeline cases and new business.
Full risk assessments will be carried out to ensure the safety of residents and surveyors.
Pepper is currently not using automated valuation models (AVMs) or desktop valuations.
The lender took all products off sale last week to make way for its new ranges.
Applicants who had county court judgments (CCJs) or defaults as recently as six months ago will be considered, but only at a maximum LTV of 70 per cent.
Pepper is also taking applications from borrowers in debt management plans at a maximum LTV of 75 per cent.
Rates on offer from the lender start at 3.15 per cent.
Paul Adams, sales director at Pepper Money, said: “Our approach to lending remains fundamentally the same as it did prior to the Covid-19 crisis, with hands-on underwriting to provide easy and affordable solutions for clients with complex circumstances.
“It’s important that we are able to deliver this in a sustainable way and continue to provide options for brokers to serve their clients. So, with an uncertain economic outlook, we are taking a prudent stance regarding some criteria and LTVs.
“The launch of our new range demonstrates our ongoing commitment to lend to customers with a range of circumstances throughout this difficult environment and we continue to explore opportunities to build our proposition in a way that suits the market conditions and the needs of borrowers.”
Roma and Aspen increase LTVs and lending limits – round-up
This is a five per cent increase on previous products following the reintroduction of physical valuations in England.
The maximum LTV on its buy-to-let range will remain at 75 per cent.
Roma Finance returned to the market in May with automated valuation model and desktop valuation products which will remain available.
Scott Marshall (pictured), managing director at Roma Finance, said: “We are delighted we are taking another important step in this challenging time.
“The pandemic has given businesses a new perspective on continuity and innovation. Adaptation is essential and we will continue to be proactive and support brokers, customers and the overall industry.”
Roma Finance was also recently added to the Right Mortgage and Protection Network’s lending panel giving network members access to all the lender’s products.
Hedd Richards, national account manager at The Right Mortgage and Protection Network added: “This partnership is a great opportunity for both businesses and our clients, and I am looking forward to a future full of success.”
Aspen ups LTVs and loan amounts
Aspen Bridging has increased its maximum LTV to 75 per cent and raised its maximum loan amount to £3m net.
The lender will make use of physical and desktop valuations to process applications.
In its new rate card, the lender’s Flat and Stepped Rate Products include residential and light refurbishment, residential and medium refurbishment, homes in multiple occupancy, prime semi-commercial and prime commercial property.
An underwriter will visit each property and either meet the client in person or over a video call.
Aspen will also lend on residential properties for loans up to £1m net and a maximum 75 per cent LTV using desktop valuations where necessary.
All Flat Rate Products have a rate of 0.89 per cent, with terms running from 12 to 14 months while Stepped Rate Products have an initial rate of 0.59 per cent for six to 12-month terms.
Jack Coombs, director at Aspen Bridging said: “During the crisis we stayed true to our bridging market commitments, a decision which was warmly welcomed by the broker community and as such applications have continued to be submitted at exceptionally good levels.
“We have also learnt how to further streamline our processes during lockdown, and that is why physical and desktop valuations will continue to be utilised, which mark another exciting step forward.”
Beneficial Network adds Aspen Bridging to panel
The network has 120 advisers who will now be able to access the lender’s bridging range.
All members will have access to the lender’s introduction technology via a dedicated web portal which will give brokers a decision in minutes on any bridging case.
The company will also deliver training with webinars, one-to-one support and eventually broker visits all planned to further promote expertise in the sector.
Aspen Bridging director Jack Coombs (pictured) said: “Now more than ever, bridging has a vital role to play in assisting brokers and their customers as a core financial solution to their current plans.
“We will work closely with the Beneficial community to relay this message and meet their needs in a timely manner.”
Beneficial managing director Jason McDonald added: “Beneficial welcome a new innovative lender to our panel. Aspen Bridging will be well received by our network advisers and we look forward to our future synergistic mutual relationship.”
Masthaven increases bridging LTVs and maximum loans
The lender will now allow a maximum LTV of 60 per cent, up from 50 per cent, while loans will of up to £1m will be considered on single or multiple properties – up from £500,000.
Properties need to be habitable and the lender said its confidence level needs to be five or higher.
“In response to changing times, last month we launched our new automated valuation model (AVM) service so we could continue to support you and your customers during this challenging time,” Masthaven said.
“Since then we’ve listened to your feedback and are pleased to announce that we’ve made more positive changes to this service.”
Complete FS adds Roma Finance to panel
The bridging, development and buy-to-let lender has just launched automated valuation model (AVM) and desktop valuation products to help the market access its bridging finance.
Both businesses are continuing to provide a service to borrowers during the coronavirus outbreak and lockdown.
Scott Marshall, managing director at Roma Finance (pictured), said: “It’s a great move for us to join the panel at Complete FS.
“Service and innovative technology are at the heart of our business and we look forward to working with Complete FS, whose values are very much aligned with our own, to make our specialist finance solutions available to their customers.”
Phil Jay, director at Complete FS added he was looking forward to seeing how the relationship grew.
“We are delighted to be working with Roma Finance as a leading and forward-thinking lender. It is a natural progression for Complete FS as we are seeing positive growth in our bridging business and investors still want to borrow and progress.”
Three options for stamp duty cuts to stimulate market – Oblix
Richard Payne (pictured), director of development at the specialist property lender said such changes would give buyers the confidence to continue to transact on properties and keep the market moving.
Although the loss of these receipts could result in citizens having to make up for it with other taxes, Payne said a temporary reduction in rates across the board or an increase in the tier threshold would allow the state to continue bringing in revenue just at a lower level.
“This option could be modified to include or exclude the additional rate properties, as government feels appropriate,” he added.
Payne also suggested a temporary stamp duty holiday similar to the payment break that was introduced during the 2008 financial crisis.
He said this should exclude transactions covered by additional buy-to-let, second home and overseas buyer fees, as well as properties above the £925,000 or £1.5m thresholds to allow the incentive to be “targeted where it is most needed”.
Help to Buy
Not all reforms will be realistic however, Payne said, as although increasing the nil-rate band for first-time buyers could “invigorate the bottom of the market”, this would have a limited effect on potential buyers who have been financially impacted during the crisis.
Instead, he said making improvements to the Help to Buy scheme would be more beneficial.
Payne said: “While the lending industry’s underlying financial position was much stronger going into Covid-19 crisis, it’s still too early to know how hard the housing market will be hit, and how quickly and easily it might recover – if any material impact is felt at all.
“The longer the lockdown goes on, the more likely it is that some stimulus will be required to get the market and the construction industry moving again.”