Bluestone mortgage lending hits £250m

Bluestone mortgage lending hits £250m


Despite this the firm reported net losses of £2.42m, though this was a reduction of 37 per cent on the losses reported the year before.

It said it is on track to report a profit this year, with gross margins at more than four per cent and arrears representing less than one per cent of its book.

The lender has also seen a sharp increase in staff numbers, rising 58 per cent to 49, with a new office opening in Sheffield to supplement its London operations.

Alistair Jeffery, founder and group chairman, said there had been a “very solid lift” in new loan levels, with growth continuing in this financial year, despite the “Brexit headwinds”.

Steve Seal (pictured), managing director of Bluestone Mortgages, added: “We’re delighted with the strong lift in volumes, driven in large part by the support of our broker network and their adoption of our uniquely flexible mortgage products, the continued development of Bluelink, our proprietary loan application platform and a relentless focus on service levels.”

The lender completed its first securitisation last month, raising £210m.


Principality BS cuts holiday let rates

Principality BS cuts holiday let rates


The range includes eight fixed rate and discount products at 60 per cent and 75 per cent loan to value (LTV) with a term of either two or five years.

All products come with a free standard valuation, fee assist legals for remortgages and have no product or commitment fees.

Principality Building Society mortgage product manager Pablo Ivars Marchena said: “We’ve reviewed our range and have further improved the pricing on all of our holiday let products, including our recently launched discount holiday let range.

“We’ve been working closely with our broker partners to ensure we remain competitive, while helping them offer the best products to their clients.”


Zephyr joins PMS and Sesame panels; Cambridge BS adds exclusive deal with Liquid Expat – round-up

Zephyr joins PMS and Sesame panels; Cambridge BS adds exclusive deal with Liquid Expat – round-up


Directly authorised members of PMS and Sesame Network members will now have direct access to Zephyr’s buy-to-let product range. 

Speaking to Specialist Lending Solutions earlier this month, Zephyr managing director Paul Fryers, said the lender was ready to begin the second phase of its broker market expansion with more distribution agreements on the horizon.

Commenting on the deal, Fryers added: “In this dynamic buy-to-let market, we aim to support mortgage advisers to help them meet the diverse needs of their customers.   

“We are delighted to launch with PMS and Sesame and look forward to working together over the coming months to further this important partnership.”

Stephanie Charman (pictured), specialist lending relationship manager at Sesame and PMS, said: “The buy-to-let landscape continues to evolve in terms of choice and complexity. 

“It’s essential for us to ensure we have an extensive lending panel available for mortgage advisers, which comprises both standard and specialist buy-to-let products and criteria.” 


Cambridge BS partnership with Liquid Expat 

The Cambridge Building Society has announced it will be taking its expat lending proposition to a wider audience, by partnering with Liquid Expat.   

Liquid Expat is a specialist expat mortgage service, and The Cambridge said it hoped this partnership would further demonstrate its ongoing commitment to this type of borrower and the private rental market.  

Additionally, The Cambridge has launched a three-year discounted rate product at 3.09 per cent, exclusively to Liquid Expat customers.  

Kathy Bowes, intermediary manager at The Cambridge, said: “We’re delighted to partner with Liquid Expat who offer expertise in finding expats the most suitable mortgage deal for their circumstances.”

Stuart Marshall, managing director of Liquid Expat Mortgages, added: “We’re very pleased to partner with the Cambridge Building Society on an exclusive basis, and our specialist, qualified mortgage brokers are looking forward to delivering jargon-free, straightforward advice on this new to market expat mortgage product.” 


Octopus Real Estate promotes D’mitri Zaprzala to head of residential

Octopus Real Estate promotes D’mitri Zaprzala to head of residential


Zaprzala (pictured left) will be responsible for all residential lending across the specialist real estate investor’s business.  

His focus will be on improving customer service while creating innovative residential lending products. He will also be responsible for building the sales team and continuing to harness long term relationships with introducers.  

Currently, the residential lending business provides residential bridging loans, bridge-to-let loans, refurbishment loans and buy-to-let mortgages.  

Zaprzala has been working in property for nearly 20 years and joined Octopus in 2011. His most recent role at Octopus Real Estate was head of sales, a position he held for four years.  


Murray promoted

Alongside Zaprzala, Dan Murray (pictured right) has been promoted to head of sales.  

Murray will be responsible for running a team of business development managers, supporting borrowers in the residential, commercial and development lending sectors across the UK.  

He has been head of London sales for the past two years and has extensive experience in property and sales, both at Octopus Real Estate and in previous roles.  

Benjamin Davis, CEO of Octopus Real Estate, said: “D’mitri has already made a huge contribution to our business particularly having led our successful Octopus Real Estate sales team over the last few years.  

“Residential lending is an important part of our business and the newly created role acknowledges our commitment to this sector.” 

Zaprzala added: “Having witnessed the evolution of Octopus Real Estate over the last decade I am looking forward to both the challenges, and opportunities of leading to the residential part of the business.” 


New premises 

Earlier this week, Octopus Real Estate opened an office in Manchester, its first outside of London. 

The lending criteria in the North will be tailored to the region and the company will consider loans from £75,000.   

Chris Timms, head of sales for the North, at Octopus Real Estate, said: “Having worked closely with our loyal broker network in the North for several years we have listened to what they want from a lender.  

“We have responded by opening an office in Manchester to fully support them. This has been something we have wanted to do for several years and it’s exciting that our doors are now officially open. 


Know Your BDM: Michael Mann, Interbay

Know Your BDM: Michael Mann, Interbay


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

I cover the South East region including the M25 corridor and I look after 190 key accounts which include clubs, networks and direct agencies.


How do you establish and maintain a good relationship with brokers?

Relationship management for me is all about listening and really getting to know the broker and understanding their business. This background work is really useful when it comes to an application as this helps me to shape the right deal for the broker and ensure a positive customer outcome. It also means that I am better prepared to negotiate on behalf of the broker if any complications arise. I can only work effectively, if I have all the information upfront, so please don’t hold anything back.


What personal skill is most valuable in doing your job?

Good communication skills without doubt are an absolute must, alongside strong interpersonal skills. Keeping calm under pressure is also high up on the list.


What personal skill would you most like to improve on?

Sometimes my enthusiasm may need to be turned down a notch – my colleagues are the best in their fields and at times I need to stand back and let them get on with the task in hand.


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

Anything is achievable if you put your mind to it.


What is the most memorable property deal you’ve been involved in?

I helped one of InterBay’s broker partners on a £4m deal where the client was struggling to obtain finance and getting very close to his deadlines. I quickly arranged to meet up with the broker and the client to gather as much information as possible which included detailed explanations of some blemishes. It was quite an adrenaline rush to get all the pieces in place but we got the case over the line within the deadline.


If you were head of the FCA for the day, what would you change about regulation in the mortgage industry?

I would revise the definition of a portfolio landlord as in today’s buy-to-let sector, four mortgaged properties seems low. The rules were designed to look at the wider portfolio when underwriting a new buy-to-let mortgage and larger portfolios, say ten properties or more, is where you’d need to do a greater degree of due diligence. I’d make this a top priority as it would certainly help ensure underwriting is more risk based.


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

I fell into banking by accident to be honest but I’ve been in the industry for over 15 years and enjoy meeting new people, building positive relationships and bringing a solution to the table. Luckily this job involves all those elements and I really enjoy the daily variety so I would call it a happy accident.


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

I would probably become a developer or investor as I’ve picked up lots of knowledge along the way.


What did you want to be growing up?

A policeman or a member of the armed forces.


If you could have one superpower, what would it be?

To predict the future.


What’s the strangest question you’ve ever been asked?

“Daddy, do you shampoo your eyebrows?”




OMS integrates Knowledge Bank sourcing system

OMS integrates Knowledge Bank sourcing system


OMS users need to own a Knowledge Bank licence or buy one through the platform to use the full criteria sourcing system within OMS. They will also be able to use the standalone version of Knowledge Bank.

The standalone version of Knowledge Bank can also be bought through OMS.

By having Knowledge Bank built in to OMS the criteria sourced from the system pre-populates the client fact find.

OMS users without a Knowledge Bank licence will still see responses but they will be restricted until a full licence has been purchased.

Knowledge Bank holds almost 100,000 individual criteria that is kept up to date lenders in the residential, buy-to-let, equity release, self-build, second charge and overseas mortgage markets.

Neal Jannels (pictured), managing director of OMS, said: “The complexity of the specialist mortgage market has been viewed as a major tech barrier for far too long and we are always looking for ways to better support the intermediary market in this area.

“This integration will help elevate our system to the next level and we will be working closely with the Knowledge Bank team to continue innovating and expanding the reach of our respective solutions.”

TMW cuts buy-to-let mortgage rates by up to 0.35 per cent

TMW cuts buy-to-let mortgage rates by up to 0.35 per cent


Cuts by the buy-to-let arm of the Nationwide Building Society include a five-year fixed rate product at up to 80 per cent loan to value (LTV) with a £995 fee, free valuation and £250 cashback at 3.59 per cent, down from 3.84 per cent.

For those with a large portfolio, rates for the five-year fix start at 3.29 per cent for the up to 75 per cent LTV product with a £1,995 fee, down from 3.39 per cent.

Meanwhile the 75 per cent LTV two-year fixes start at 2.59 per cent with a £1,995 fee, down from 2.84 per cent.

Limited company mortgage rates for five-year deals at up to 75 per cent LTV start at 3.34 per cent, reduced from 3.49 per cent, with a £1,995 fee and free valuation.

The selected rate reductions apply to both purchase and remortgage buy to let mortgage products.

TMW director of mortgages Henry Jordan said: “In the current economic climate many landlords are looking for payment security to manage their cashflow.

“These selected reductions across our five-year fixed rate buy to let mortgage range enhances choices for landlords who want to secure their repayments over the medium term.”


Crazy regulation quirks of buy-to-let need overhauling – Syms

Crazy regulation quirks of buy-to-let need overhauling – Syms


Most advisers do not appreciate the complexities of this regulation or non-regulation until we start to discuss it.

Business BTL is not regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), meaning technically anyone can start their own BTL mortgage adviser business without regulation or qualification.

However, it is not that straightforward as most BTL lenders will not accept an application from an adviser who is not part of a regulated company.

To transact non-FCA regulated BTL, some lenders insist the adviser, as a minimum, holds a consumer credit permission with the FCA. Some, in fact over 50 per cent of the lenders in the BTL market, require the adviser to have full residential FCA regulated permissions.

The result is that many commercial brokers with just consumer credit permission would be unable to advise on BTL mortgages from lenders such as BM Solutions, The Mortgage Works and even Kent Reliance.


Lender requirements

There are, however, two types of BTL that are regulated.

The first is consumer BTL. Since the implementation of the Mortgage Credit Directive (MCD) a separate FCA permission is needed to advise on this product type.

A consumer BTL is where the client has become an ‘accidental landlord’. An accidental landlord could have inherited a property or be someone who used to live in the property and has decided to keep it and let it out.

This, however, is not straightforward. If the client specifically chose to let out the property for business purposes it could still sit outside the consumer BTL regulation.

Lenders’ criteria vary around this point, so with one lender an adviser would need this FCA permission to advise on the above, but may not need it for another lender.

The second is family BTL. Family BTL is where the property is let out to an immediate member of the family and requires full regulated residential mortgage permissions.


Capital quirks

Capital raising also has its quirks.

It is natural to assume that if a client is borrowing money secured against their main residence, this would also require full regulated permission.

However, if money is raised for ‘business purposes’ then this would fall outside of regulation.

For example, the client may have a first charge loan on their home, but wish to use the equity to capital raise some money to invest in equipment for their business.

If they raise a second charge on their own home for this purpose, the loan will not be regulated, and depending on the lender’s policy, the adviser may not need to be regulated either.

The complications do not stop there. Advisers transacting commercial mortgages will need FCA consumer credit permission if the clients are buying in their personal name, but no permission if the client is buying via a limited company.

Many of these quirks come off the back off the MCD, which was driven by the EU. It will be interesting when we finally ‘Brexit’ if the FCA chooses to sort out some of these anomalies.



Foundation’s fourth securitisation attracts a third of orders from overseas

Foundation’s fourth securitisation attracts a third of orders from overseas


The Twin Bridges 2019-2 securitisation was the specialist lender’s third this year and its first Sterling Overnight Interbank Average Rate (SONIA) trade.

The lender said this reflected significant growth in origination it had developed during the year. 

The trade attracted 31 orders totaling £850m, with all tranches of the £300m transaction  oversubscribed at least twice.

A third of orders were from non-UK investors.  

The transaction followed on from the lender’s securing £750m in new and renewed committed warehouse funding. It provides Foundation with capacity to fulfil its planned originations into 2021, even in the event of a closed securitisation market.  

Hans Geberbauer, chief executive of Foundation Home Loans, said: “We are acutely aware that these are challenging times for the market and therefore the confidence our investors are showing in our proposition is testament to the quality of our operation and the strength of our treasury team.  

“The further good news is that, regardless of future events, we now have the committed warehouse funding capacity to deliver our ambitious lending growth through to 2021.” 


Claims companies targeting HMOs post-PPI – Whittaker

Claims companies targeting HMOs post-PPI – Whittaker


Whittaker said claims firms had moved on to the sector following the end of payment protection insurance (PPI) claims in August and the introduction of licensing requirements for houses in multiple occupation (HMO).

He cited cases where CMCs had targeted tenants in HMOs where landlords had not yet secured a licence for the property.

This included five students from Leeds who reclaimed around £15,000 from their landlord who only applied for the licence halfway through the tenancy.


‘Big money to be made’

Speaking at FSE Midlands, Whittaker said: “Ambulance chasers are moving from PPI to HMOs and they are targeting tenants suggesting that their landlords don’t have the necessary licence and they can take them to court.

“There is big money to be made here and these ambulance chasers are suggesting to tenants they can take landlords for £20-£30,000, and they’ll be taking ten per cent of this.

“This will be bad news for your customers if they don’t know what they’re doing,” he added.

Whittaker also noted that many councils were dealing with the regulations and applications differently and many were particularly slow in responding.

But he suggested landlords should not worry too much about the turnaround time in receiving a licence as long as they had put their application in.