Know Your BDM: Roger Churaman, Paragon Bank

Know Your BDM: Roger Churaman, Paragon Bank

What locations, and how many advisers and broker firms do you cover in your role?

I am based in North London and will predominantly be covering this area and across the surrounding Home Counties.


How have you changed the way you establish and maintain a good relationship with brokers in the pandemic?

The pandemic forced me to develop relationships through different means in terms of broker interactions. The ‘new post-pandemic world’ will see me interacting via face-to-face visits and telephone, as usual, but will also see more use of media technology, like Teams and Zoom, to enhance message delivery.


What personal talent/skill is most valuable in doing your job?

Time management plays a big part; getting the balance between the number of broker visits I do, yet still being able to have enough time to deliver on enquiries via phone and email continues to be the key.


What personal talent/skill would you most like to improve on?

Professionally – the ability to retain information on every broker conversation I have so that I can instantly help when a broker starts a call with “You remember that case we were discussing….”.

Personally – the ability to hit a 300 yard drive down the middle of the fairway every time … or even once.


Where would you rather be stuck, in bumper-to-bumper traffic or back-to-back Zoom calls?

Back-to-back Zoom calls all day long. At least you are interacting and dealing with business; and when it’s over you are at home and free to continue with your personal life rather than on a motorway, miles away from home.


What’s the best bit of career-related advice you’ve ever been given?

Do the right thing, even when no one is watching. It’s the definition of integrity and covers everything.


What is the most quirky/unique property deal you’ve been involved in?

I recall working in commercial banking as a relationship manager where I had to review existing lending on the portfolio. I had to have some tough conversations with a borrower who decided to convert our commercial security to residential without planning permission. He ran out of funds and we were left with a nil value security, no planning, no rental income to support the debt. The client ended up in court and serving time for losing his temper at the judge.


What was the greatest lesson you learned during the pandemic?

Apart from the importance of a great broadband connection, the value of face-to-face interactions cannot be replaced by any IT. Spending less time with loved ones was painfully challenging.


What was the first social event you attended once restrictions were eased?

My golf club seemed to benefit the most once we were able to play, even though my handicap didn’t improve.


What was your motivation for choosing business development as a career?

Like many, I fell into my first sales role and immediately fell in love with the varied interaction with many different people from many different paths. Being tied to a desk all day fills me with dread.


If you could do any other job in the property sector, what would it be and why?

Maybe an architect for the rich and famous – it will allow me to design fabulous properties in a hot exotic location.


What did you want to be growing up?

I was always decent at maths and recall my parents saying accountancy was a good route. As I still feel like I’m yet to grow up, I still harbour ambitions of living the lifestyle of a professional sportsman to be honest.


If you had one superpower, what would it be?

I guess it would be time travel – to go back and meet the people I didn’t have lots of time with; and to go forward to see what becomes of family and friends when I’m long gone.


And finally, what’s the strangest question you’ve ever been asked?

Apart from the questions here, I once recall in a job interview some years back, the interviewer ending the interview with one of those analytical, mind game questions. “There is a brick wall 15 feet high. You need to get to the other side, how do you get there?” I just thought it was one of those sales guys trying to be too clever.

Rising UK house prices have propelled international interest – MFS video debate

Rising UK house prices have propelled international interest – MFS video debate


During a Specialist Lending Solutions TV debate in association with Market Financial Solutions (MFS), Richard Rinder, associate partner sales manager at Oriel Finance, said: “In the UK market especially, property has remained pretty positive throughout Covid. There’s been a lot of activity.  

“If you look at wider geopolitical situations across the world, clients are seeing the UK market as a safe haven and that’s really driven investment onto our shores.” 

James Riley, mortgage consultant at Oriel Finance, said: “Having house prices grow as much as they have in the last few years increased a lot of the international demand, and a lot of international clients try to capture some of that increase.”

Riley named cities like Manchester, Birmingham and Milton Keynes as popular among overseas investors due to “significant” price increases and their direct airport links. 

Rinder added: “Gone be the days where clients where purely London-centric.” 

Referring to Savills data which said commercial property investment in January and February totalled £6.9bn, a 35 per cent rise on last year, Zahira Fayyaz, senior business development manager at MFS, said this part of the market was making a comeback too. 


Attractive products 

Riley said the improved availability of mortgage financing compared to five years ago has also driven international investor demand. 

He added: “It was potentially very difficult in some aspects for international clients to [obtain] mortgages and there have been certain mortgage lenders which have really spearheaded that.” 

He also said the differences in what was achievable in the UK compared to overseas made the market attractive. He referred to interest-only mortgages which allow international investors to make smaller repayments and therefore take a higher yield on their investment. 



Watch the video [8:25] hosted by Shekina Tuahene, commercial editor at Mortgage Solutions, featuring  Zahira Fayyaz, senior business development manager at MFS, Richard Rinder, associate, sales manager for Oriel Finance and James Riley, mortgage consultant at Oriel Finance.


Sponsored content in association with Market Financial Solutions. For Intermediary Use Only 

Monument hires Craig Middleton as lending relationship manager

Monument hires Craig Middleton as lending relationship manager

In his role, Middleton will be tasked with helping to grow the bank’s buy-to-let (BTL) and bridging lending, as well as market its solutions to a “broader selection of property investors”.

He reports to head of lending Conor McDermott, and joins the 10-strong lending team.

Middleton joins from Harpenden Building Society, where he was mortgage sales manager for nearly four years.

Prior to that he was an associate director and private banker at Coutts for just under a decade and before that worked at Natwest for around 21 years in various roles.

McDermott said: “I’m pleased to welcome Craig to our growing team at Monument.

“He has a huge amount of experience in property lending and will be a great asset to our business as we continue to grow our specialist BTL and bridging lending.”

Craig Middleton, lending relationship manager at Monument, said: “It’s great to join Monument at such an exciting time for the challenger bank.

“I’m looking forward to helping place property investors with the right lending solutions for their circumstances and contributing to Monuments’ continued drive for success and growth.”

The bank has been growing its team recently,  hiring Fatlum Lushi as its bridging relationship manager and adding six people to its lending team.

It received its full baking licence in November last year, which means it was allowed to start taking deposits.

Tough regulations to blame for drop in HMO numbers ‒ Octane Capital

Tough regulations to blame for drop in HMO numbers ‒ Octane Capital

Analysis of the government’s local housing statistics by Octane Capital found that on an annual basis the number of HMOs in England dropped three per cent year-on-year in 2020/21 to 497,884. The situation was more pronounced in the capital, where the number of HMOs declined by 13 per cent, the largest drop in any region.

The report noted that 11 boroughs in London had reported decreases, with the largest falls recorded in Ealing at 59 per cent and Lambeth with a 58 per cent decline.

Octane Capital suggested that this drop in HMOs across the county may be down to HMO rule changes from 2018 taking hold. This was when rules requiring a licence for all HMOs occupied by five or more people were introduced. Additionally, in order to obtain a licence, all rooms within the HMO would have to meet a minimum size criteria, with limits on how many people over the age of 10 who could live there.

Jonathan Samuels (pictured), chief executive of Octane Capital, said that the HMO licensing rules rightly looked to boost the standard of housing, but this had resulted in a decline in the number of operational HMOs across the market, particularly in London.

He continued: “We’ve continued to fund a high number of quality HMO deals throughout the pandemic and this sustained level of interest from professional investors is yet to show any signs of decline. This includes a large number of refurbishment transactions whereby investors are looking to drastically improve the quality of existing HMOs, so while volume has certainly fallen, we don’t believe this will be a long term trend and should benefit the nation’s tenants in the long run.”

OSB Group appoints mental health first aiders to support staff

OSB Group appoints mental health first aiders to support staff


Richard Barrett, head of people development at OSB Group, provided 11 staff volunteers with mental health first aid approved learning. They have been trained on how to listen to employees and signpost them to professional and charitable help where needed.

The course also covered the importance of the support networks provided by family and friends during a person’s mental health recovery. 

Additional courses, which are set to take place in May and September, are already fully booked. It is hoped that the group will recruit more than 30 mental health first aiders across the business by the end of the year.

Andy Golding, OSB Group CEO, said: “Mental health is a critical issue and one that I personally feel quite passionate about. If we can make a difference, even to just one or two people through this scheme, then that’s a big win if it means we’ve helped direct them to the right professional support.” 

OSB is also actively supporting Mental Health Awareness Week, which runs from 9 to 15 May and the theme for this year is loneliness. 

Barrett added: “Not only are our mental health first aiders helping colleagues within the business, our Kent Reliance branch colleagues have also used the training to help our customers and it’s a great opportunity to highlight the help available during Mental Health Awareness Week.” 

Catalyst enters buy-to-let market

Catalyst enters buy-to-let market

Its boost to let product rates start from 3.74 per cent and is available up to 75 per cent loan to value (LTV) including those with cash-out. It is also available up to 80 per cent loan to cost for purchases.

Those on the lender’s major distributor’s panel earn 1.5 per cent commission, brokers are eligible for one per cent commission. The arrangement fee is two per cent.

It has a 100 per cent interest cover ratio (ICR) and allows unlimited top slicing for high net worth borrowers.

It is eligible for complex property types, including high value single assets, holiday lets, student lets, low yield assets, ex-local authority, multi-unit freehold blocks with no exposure limits and houses in multiple occupation (HMO) that have unlimited bedrooms.

Mixed use property can also be used with the product up to 75 per cent LTV.

Chris Fairfax (pictured), chief executive at Catalyst, said it was excited to launch its first buy-to-let product and bring the company’s “can-do lending approach to the buy-to-let market”.

He said: “We have built a fantastic team of property finance experts who are ready to support our major distributors and brokers with a product that has extremely strong demand.

“Buy to let is a natural progression for Catalyst and sits well with our bridging, refurbishment, and development finance ranges. This is not mass market; it is solution driven focused lending that boosts both borrower eligibility and the brokers ability to help more clients.”

Molo Finance revises existing mortgage offers and completion dates due to funding issues

Molo Finance revises existing mortgage offers and completion dates due to funding issues

According to sources, the lender – which temporarily suspended its buy-to-let lending last week – evaluated offers that were due to complete this week, and reassessed its rates and arrangement fees.

The lender gave brokers and clients the option to continue with their application using the updated products or to cancel their loan.

The revised products are subject to different interest rates and product fees, which in certain instances has made them more expensive.

Molo said loans for those who did not get back in touch by the deadline of 4pm 3 May to confirm a new mortgage offer or to cancel, their loan application would be automatically declined.

The lender has also paused all completions until this Friday, which will allow it to drawdown the required money from their funders.

Molo Finance said that it had been hit by increases in its funding costs due to rising inflation and the Bank of England’s base rate. It said certain costs which were interest rate-related rose by over 550 per cent since the start of last year.

Anonymous sources said it was unusual for lenders to alter terms of an offer due to funding issues, although some noted that during the first lockdown some lenders had withdrawn their pipeline and offers due to market uncertainty rather than problems with funding.

One broker said that most lenders would close the door to new applications, but changing existing cases was “not great and does not show forward planning”.

Another broker said their only option was to select the new rate or rebroke to another lender where possible, which was very challenging. They added that it had caused a lot of customer frustration and upset as it was so close to the completion date.

One adviser said it caused them added strain to work out whether the new proposed Molo deal, funding a new deal altogether or securing a bridge was the best option, and it placed huge pressure on their advice.

Another source said that it could lead to clients being unable to buy the property as the costs would be higher.

Others said that there could be lasting damage to the lender broker-relationship for those who had offers withdrawn while brokers who had not yet used the lender could be dissuaded from doing so.

Molo Finance declined to comment.

LendInvest prices fourth BTL securitisation deal at £270m

LendInvest prices fourth BTL securitisation deal at £270m

The transaction is expected to close on 12 May, with total fund under management at that time expected to rise to £3.2bn.

The lender said that the securitisation consisted of prime buy-to-let mortgage loans and the transaction was “oversubscribed”.

Rod Lockhart (pictured), chief executive of LendInvest, said: “We are pleased to have priced this transaction, which will further grow our funds under management and supports our medium term expected growth trajectory.

“Despite challenging market conditions, the transaction attracted three new investors to the platform, as well as a broad range of investors including asset managers, banks, insurers and a building society, demonstrating robust investor demand for this attractive asset class.”

In its latest results, LendInvest said that it had increased it assets under management by 32 per cent to £1.8bn in the six months to 30 September, fuelled by growth in buy-to-let assets.

Its funds under management also rose by 40 per cent year-on-year to £2.9bn, supported by a £725m account agreement with JP Morgan and completion of its third RMBS securitisation of £280m buy-to-let loans.

The lender added that it would be moving into the homeowner specialist space this year and unveiled a holiday let range and 10-year fixed rate buy-to-let product last year.

Citi acted as sole arrange for the transaction and Citi, J.P. Morgan Securities, National Australia Bank and Standard Chartered Bank acted as joint lead managers.

Shawbrook’s loan book grew by a fifth to £9.1bn in Q1

Shawbrook’s loan book grew by a fifth to £9.1bn in Q1


It said this was supported by its “flexible and scalable” business model and growth in its loan origination. 

Marcelino Castrillo, chief executive, said strong demand from the SME and property finance sectors bolstered the group’s performance. 

It also completed on a sale of its £300m property finance loan portfolio, which generated £7.7m. 

Shawbrook has continued to invest into its technology and distribution including the launch of its MyShawbrook buy-to-let portal and the addition of an extended residential range from its subsidiary The Mortgage Lender (TML). 

According to the update, TML is entering Q2 with a “record pipeline” with a focus on borrowers with complex income profiles. 

The group reported low levels of arrears on its loan book at an overall rate of 1.6 per cent, a slight reduction on the previous quarter’s 1.7 per cent. It said this reflected the “strong credit quality” of its book. 

Castrillo said the group would “remain aware” of the cost-of-living increase and ensure it stays resilient and proactive in supporting customers. 

He added: “We have continued to build on the positive momentum achieved in an excellent 2021 financial year and our strong track record, which is reflected in our financial performance. 

“Our focus on innovation will continue throughout 2022, with the planned deployment of additional digital capabilities and product launches later in the year.” 

“Across our markets, we see customers continuing to adapt to a rapidly changing environment and the demand for personalised finance solutions increasing as a result,” he said. 

Kseye updates rates following hybrid BTL refresh

Kseye updates rates following hybrid BTL refresh


The lowest hybrid buy-to-let rate is now 5.74 per cent per annum while the lowest bridging rate is 0.48 per cent per month. 

Rates on the hybrid buy-to-let products previously started from 5.49 per cent. 

The highest rate on hybrid products remains at 6.49 per cent for the product with a minimum pay rate of 4.99 per cent per annum, and 7.49 per cent for the deal with a minimum pay rate of 5.49 per cent per annum. 

The maximum deferred interest of the mid-tier product has been cut to 1.5 per cent while minimum income requirements for first-time buyers or their guarantors have been introduced. 

Not all property types are eligible at an interest cover ratio (ICR) of 100 per cent of pay rate. The criteria for borrowers with adverse credit issues have also been revised. 

Nikes Khagram, co-founder and director of Kseye, said: “The wider financial climate is beginning to affect the specialist property finance market. This has led to the revision of our bridging and hybrid buy-to-let products. 

“Despite these changes, our rates remain competitive, and our bridging and hybrid buy-to-let offerings continue to offer a compelling offering to assist those in a range of circumstances seeking finance for property investment.”