Fleet Mortgages appoints Nicola Richardson as CFO
Lo, who retires in December, has worked with Fleet Mortgages since its launch in 2014.
Prior to that he worked at CHL Mortgages for around 14 years in various roles including finance director, head of finance, treasury and securitisation and chief accountant.
Before that he was group financial controller and finance director at Kestrel Holdings, and was also an auditor at EY, Blick Rothenberg and Credito Italiano International.
Incoming CFO Richardson has been head of finance at Fleet Mortgages for around seven years.
She was previously a treasury accountant at CHL Mortgages for nearly three years, and before that worked at Baker Tilly for five years most recently as an audit supervisor.
The lender has also promoted human resources head Kim Beaven to the role of HR and facilities director and Diane Mitchell will take on the role of credit director. Mitchell was previously head of credit.
Beaven has been with Fleet Mortgages since 2014 and previously worked at CHL Mortgages for around a year. She has also held HR roles at Surry and Sussex Probation Trust, Voyage Care and Solor Care.
Mitchell has worked at Fleet Mortgages since 2014 and before that worked at Capital Home Loans for around 11 years in various roles.
Bob Young, senior executive officer at Fleet Mortgages, said: “Having worked with Sunny for over two decades, it’s somehow hard to believe he will be retiring next month, but he has been a huge part of what we’ve been able to achieve at Fleet, and the entire team here wish him a wonderful and long retirement.”
He praised Richardson, Beaven and Mitchell, adding that to “say they are brilliant at their jobs would be an understatement”.
He added: “We are fortunate to have them and I have no doubt they will continue to be huge assets to the business.”
Fleet Mortgages was acquired by Starling Bank for £50m in July, with all of its mortgages now being funded by Starling’s deposit base.
The firm has recently reached £2bn assets under management for the first time and November was the first full month Fleet originated business for its new funder, with Young adding that it looked like it would be a record month of lending.
He said: “The future therefore looks particularly bright for Fleet and we will have more to say and offer for the rest of the year and into 2022.”
Time for landlords to think about energy efficiency – Taverner
Currently, the minimum energy efficiency standards (MEES) allows for rented properties with a minimum of an E rating on the EPC. But from 2025, all new tenancies will require a certification of rating C or above and, from 2028, this will apply to all existing tenancies.
Upgrading a property from an EPC rating of E to an EPC rating of C is likely to carry considerable cost with potential works including improving wall and roof insulation, installing double or triple glazing and installing a more energy efficient boiler. Other methods of improving the EPC rating could include investing in renewable energy, using products such as solar panels and ground-source heat pumps.
It will be beneficial for landlords to plan for the implementation of these regulations sooner rather than later. Landlords we speak to on a daily basis often don’t know the current EPC rating of their property, so we are now speaking to them about their responsibilities and the upcoming changes.
Lenders offering more green products
We are already seeing a change in the way lenders are offering products, with a variety of green and EPC products now available, and we have access to exclusive products, often with lower rates and fees than those that are available direct to brokers.
For example, we have a range of specialist products that promote greater energy efficiency as they are only available on properties that have an EPC rating of A, B or C. These are seven-year fixed rate products with free valuations and a one per cent fee and rates start from as low as 2.65 per cent, varying on the property’s individual EPC rating. They are available on HMOs and multi-unit freehold blocks as well as standard properties. We anticipate there will be more products like this, and products that offer capital raising to help landlords improve the energy efficiency of their properties, in the near future.
Recognise Bank completes £5m professional BTL refinance deal
The funding was for a family-owned investment company, and the loan was a five-year fixed rate priced at 3.49 per cent with a loan to value (LTV) of 50 per cent.
The client was introduced to the lender by Nick Bennett, managing director of real estate financing consultancy Navitaur Limited.
Jackie Skelt, Recognise Bank’s regional director of London and Midlands, said that this was one of its first professional BTL deals, as well as its largest to date, and it proved its personal approach was “really powerful” as it was able to complete the deal quickly.
She added: “We know that many advisors struggle getting large BTL portfolios financed with some other lenders, because they don’t have the expertise or one to one relationships needed to complete such large deals. We are already seeing a lot of interest in the new product.”
The lender entered the professional BTL market last week after a trial with a small number of advisers. Its range is aimed at those with four properties or more and has a five-year fixed rate and variable rate option.
At the time, Recognise Bank said that there were over £20m in deals completed or still in progress.
Rates for the range start from 3.49 per cent, with a minimum loan size is £100,000 and maximum loan size of £5m. The maximum LTV is 75 per cent and it is available for new acquisitions and refinancing existing portfolios.
Paragon Bank reduces BTL mortgage rates
The reductions across 80 per cent LTV products include a five year fixed-rate reduced to 3.95 per cent from 4.09 per cent and a five year fixed-rate 80 per cent LTV green mortgage (available for EPC A-C properties) reduced to 3.85 per cent from 3.99 per cent.
Both of these products incur nil product fee and include a free valuation and £350 cashback.
The reductions across 75 per cent LTV products include a five year fixed-rate reduced to 3.15 per cent from 3.35 per cent and a five year fixed-rate green mortgage (available for EPC A-C properties) reduced to 3.05 per cent from 3.25 per cent.
Product fees for the 75 per cent LTV deals are charged at £1,995 and both products feature free valuations, no application fees and £750 cashback.
Moray Hulme (pictured) mortgage sales director, said: “Landlords are looking to add to portfolios to satisfy growing levels of tenant demand.
“We have re-priced some of our rates to provide investors with some competitive mortgages at 75 per cent and 80 per cent LTV.”
The products, for professional BTL landlords with four or more mortgaged BTL properties, are available for those operating as limited companies or individuals. They are suitable for financing houses in multiple occupation (HMOs), single self-contained units (SSCs) and multi-unit blocks (MUBs) as well as holiday let properties.
PRS changes will result in BTL remortgage surge next year – Rowntree
The dramatic drop in purchase activity was not seen to the same degree in remortgage figures – industry figures show the £2.8bn written for purchases in June fell to £800m in both July and August, while remortgaging dropped from £2.5bn to £1.9bn across the same timeframe.
A lasting legacy of the pandemic means that we’re still seeing plenty of people moving after reassessing what they want in a home. Landlords are modifying portfolios in response, maybe catering to renters who want more space for homeworking or even equity rich former owner-occupiers, turning to the flexibility of private rented sector (PRS) property to try before they buy in a new, unfamiliar area.
Despite this, I think that remortgaging will continue to be an important driver of business in the coming months. From early 2022 a wave of five-year fixed rates mortgages, taken out in 2017, are set to mature.
In January 2017, the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) introduced new underwriting standards. The new rules aimed to address the risk of weaker credit standards that were emerging in the market, with many lenders not taking a landlords’ wider property and business interests into account.
The new standards covered two different aspects of underwriting. The first centred on mortgage affordability and saw the introduction of a minimum affordability calculation, which included the increase in landlord costs as a result of recently introduced tax changes, together with a minimum stressed interest rate.
Generally, lenders applied a lower stressed rate for mortgages fixed over five or more years, reflecting the benefits to the customer of the rate being static for an extended period.
Alongside the appeal of fixing for longer amidst increasing rates, this led to a rise in borrowing over five-year terms – industry data highlights how the number of five-year fixed rate mortgages written increased from 3,008 in December 2016 to 4,167 in January 2017 before increasing to 10,717 in January 2018 and rarely falling below the 10,000 mark since.
With rates still relatively low at present but starting to rise, it is quite likely that we’ll again see borrowers keen to remortgage and secure a good rate at the earliest opportunity.
On remortgaging, around 40 per cent of borrowers withdraw equity and, when compared to a straightforward switch, this takes extra time to process. If service levels are to be maintained, this is something that the industry will need to plan for, with extra resources assigned to key areas.
And, with the Christmas wind-down just around the corner, January will be upon us before we know it so it’s not too early for brokers to start discussing remortgage options with clients.
Recognise Bank enters BTL market and targets professional landlords – exclusive
The range is for those with four properties or more, and has a five-year fixed rate option and variable rate option.
Rates start from 3.49 per cent and between £100,000 and £5m can be borrowed. The maximum loan to value (LTV) is 75 per cent. The range also has repayment and interest-only payment options with a term up to 10 years.
Single-let residential houses or blocks of flats let on an Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST) basis are eligible. Individuals, partnerships, limited companies and LLPs can also access the products.
Speaking to Specialist Lending Solutions, Angela Norman, Recognise Bank’s head of corporate development, said the launch complemented the lender’s approach to supporting SMEs as professional BTL landlords typically derived a big portion of their income from this sector.
She added: “We also think that there’s an opportunity in the sector for a relationship-led approach, and I think that is our probably our biggest USP to be honest.
“It has just been reinforced with the other products that we have. The feedback we’ve had from brokers and customers around being there at the end of the phone, not only having a point of contact with the business development team, but we also have a loan management team that sees the loan throughout the whole process and that’s a real USP when people want to talk about the transaction, whether that is a broker or a customer.”
She said the lender’s flexibility and the bespoke touch was different to other lenders who “have a more tick-box approach”.
“We’ve got a tailored personalised approach where we will always be there to have a conversation, especially with complex transactions, where we can help hold the hand of the customer and the brokers right through the application process. It really makes a difference,” she explained.
The lender ran a trial of the range with several brokers, with over £20m in deals completed or still in progress. The trial had been geographically widespread across England, Scotland and Wales.
Norman said there was “strong demand” for the product, which showed the strength of the economy and the private rented sector.
She said the trial had “exceeded our expectations at this early stage”, and showed it was a good proposition. Norman added that there was a “complete mix of applications” and a wide range of LTVs.
She noted a budding trend of the conversion of offices into residential properties. Norman also said upcoming legislation requiring BTL properties to have an EPC rating of or above was an additional key concern amongst brokers and landlords, and as a lender it would do its utmost to support and inform about regulatory changes.
Norman said: “We want those professional landlords we want the experience to help I suppose improve standards in the industry as well working with really good quality operators where we feel like we can add value and help them equally you know, by helping them pull equity out.”
Earlier this year, the lender it would be targeting the BTL market as it considered it to be a “safe and secure” market which was set to grow in the future.
The bank gained its banking licence in November last year, having started the application in 2017.
It received its Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) authorisation in September to enable it to collect deposits. This was after a £14m raise in August which allowed it to meet the PRA requirements.
Redwood hires Simon Steer in business development role
Steer brings more than 20 years’ experience in the financial services sector to the role, having previously worked as relationship manager at the Royal Bank of Scotland, and most recently as broker BDM at Natwest for five years.
Steer (pictured) said: “I am thrilled to be joining such an experienced and exciting team. Redwood Bank has a genuine passion for achieving great customer outcomes and I’m determined to play my part to support the bank’s continued growth aspirations.”
Leon Marklew, director of business development at Redwood Bank, added: “Simon is a great new recruit for our business, with his experience and knowledge in the finance industry, he is a valuable addition to the team.
“I am delighted he’s joining Redwood and look forward to working with him.”
Finova to partner with Quantum Mortgages
The partnership is set to launch by Q1 next year and will see Quantam make use of Finova’s Apprivo2 platform for its buy-top-let lending before expanding to other types of lending.
Finova acquired software company BEP Systems and its software as a service (SaaS) originations platform, Apprivo2, in October.
The platform will be integrated into Quantam’s application programming interface (API) to enable e-signatures, a search tool for addresses and bank accounts, and payment gateways.
In addition to this, Finova will be working with BCM Global, which is acting as the mortgage servicer for Quantum. Other digital services will be added following launch to provide further automations.
Jason Neale (pictured), managing director at Quantum Mortgages, said: “Although common sense, human underwriting is at the heart of our proposition, we wanted to combine this with the very best and latest technology to create a unique experience for intermediaries and their clients”.
“Our partnership with Finova allows us to do this and we were really impressed by the power of the Apprivo2 platform as well as its remarkable intuitive interfaces.”
Chris Little, commercial director, core banking platform at Finova, said: “We are delighted to add Quantum Mortgages to our ever-growing list of Apprivo2 users. Once again, we have demonstrated the power of the Apprivo2 platform and our ability to grasp our clients’ growing requirements.
“Our partnership with Quantum symbolises another great step forwards for Finova, as we expand our efforts to provide seamless digital journeys.”
Cambridge BS cuts rates and adds product to holiday let range
The mutual has cut its five-year fixed rate mortgage from four per cent to 3.79 per cent, and its two-year discounted product from 3.39 per cent to 3.34 per cent.
The two-year fixed rate is priced at 3.69 per cent and is available up to 75 per cent loan to value (LTV).
The products have no application fees and completion fees have fallen from £1,500 to £999 across the range.
There are early repayment charges in place on the products, starting at two per cent for the two-year products and five per cent for the five-year product. They reduce by one per cent each year of the term.
The mutual will also use projected low, mid and high season weekly rental yields multiplied by 30 weeks to calculate annual rental income.
Across the holiday let range, the maximum LTV is pegged at 75 per cent and the loan size is between £50,000 and £500,000. Loans are available for purchase, remortgage, product switches and further advances.
Cambridge’s head of lending, Tracy Simpson, said: “We’re excited to add another great product to our range of competitively priced holiday let mortgages, as well as making it cheaper for customers to complete.”
The mutual has been making changes to its offering, temporarily withdrawing BTL portfolio lending earlier this week and reduced rates and removed fees for shared ownership range last week.
It has also brought back top-slicing for BTL mortgages and launched self-employed mortgages for pandemic entrepreneurs.
United Trust Bank and YBS Commercial make senior appointments – round-up
Michael has worked in the asset finance sector for 20 years including roles at ING and Hitachi Capital Business Finance, where she was sales manager for eight years.
This is the eleventh appointment to its asset finance team this year and forms part of the lender’s plan to transact more business and issue larger loans in 2022.
Michael (pictured) will have the responsibility of driving growth in UTB’s broker-focused strategy and building on the business activity seen this year.
She said: “UTB has made a big impact this year, recruiting great people, developing its proposition and taking market share from competitors. I’m excited to be joining Nathan and the team and looking forward to reuniting with my old colleagues from ING, Peter Price and Louise McIntosh.
“Together our aim is to establish UTB as the number one specialist asset finance funder delivering the best broker service in the market. By this time next year, I want UTB’s to be the most called number on every broker’s phone”.
Nathan Mollett, head of asset finance – United Trust Bank, added: “With Astrid on board, I believe we have one of the strongest senior teams in the market, joining Peter Price and Louise McIntosh managing the biggest asset finance credit and operation teams UTB has ever had, and Jon Mote exploring new product opportunities and leading our push for larger loans.
“The whole division is committed to driving our growth and the pursuit of service excellence. 2021 is going to be an outstanding year for UTB, but 2022 will put us into another league altogether.”
YBS hires Shaun Reynolds as relationship director
YBS Commercial Mortgages has hired Shaun Reynolds as its relationship director, joining the Wales and South West team.
This follows the opening of three regional offices for the lender as well as a recruitment drive in the last 18 months. This includes Kayleigh Parry who was also appointed relationship director for Wales and the South West in September.
Reynolds has 30 years of commercial lending experience, having previously worked as a banker with HSBC and Clydesdale Bank.
He said: “YBS Commercial has seen fantastic growth recently, which we’re committed to developing further. I’m delighted to join a very successful team and look forward to working with our borrowers and broker partners to build on this, with a number of deals already in the pipeline.”
Allan Griffiths, regional director for the Wales and the South West, added: “We’re investing in our business and look to attract talented colleagues to support our clients’ growth ambitions. I’m delighted that Shaun has joined us at this exciting time in our expansion journey and he has already made a real difference.
“Shaun’s recruitment marks the team of regional directors reaching 19, spanning the country from Carlisle to Cardigan, which demonstrates our commitment to providing regional support for our clients and the commercial market.”