Mortgage demand expected to soften in Q3 – BoE

Mortgage demand expected to soften in Q3 – BoE

 

The Bank of England’s credit conditions survey found 30.4 per cent of respondents saw strong demand for mortgages for house purchase during the three months to end-May, but this is expected to fall over the next three months to end-August with a respondent score of negative 41 per cent. 

The responses to the survey are given net percentage balances between 100 and negative 100. Positive balances suggest increases in activity or an improvement in certain conditions, such as criteria or credit becoming cheaper.   

Demand for buy-to-let lending received a positive score of 5.9 per cent during Q2, but this is expected to decline significantly with a prediction of negative 26.7 per cent over the quarter. 

Remortgage demand slipped in Q2 with a reading of negative 6.3 per cent and this is forecast to improve in Q3 with a response score of 4.4 per cent. 

 

Rush for rates 

Andrew Montlake, managing director of Coreco, said: “Demand for mortgages was as strong as ever during the second quarter of the year and supply was equally robust. The issue now is that mortgage rates are rising faster than the mercury.  

“If lenders do expect supply to drop slightly in the next quarter, it’s partly because they have been inundated in recent months and need to slow things down to maintain service levels, and partly because they are concerned about the economic outlook and are tightening their affordability criteria.” 

Edward Checkley, managing director of London-based property finance specialists, Advias, added: “Borrowers have been keen to lock into rates quickly as lenders upwardly reprice. In this sense, we have seen healthy remortgage activity and some robust purchase applications as people are incentivised to move.  

“Equally, we have also seen some potential buyers put their plans on ice, expecting higher interest rates to put pressure on households which, in turn, will result in quality stock coming to the market at a reduced price.” 

Checkley said swap rates had fallen from 2.8 per cent last month to 2.35 per cent but said lenders were “hesitant to lower pricing” as further rate rises were expected, and none wanted their service to be hit due to being on the “best buy tables”. 

 

Rates up, mortgage availability to improve 

Lending spreads, relative to Bank Rate or the appropriate swap rate, on mortgages are expected to widen in Q3, signifying a future rise in interest rates. It was noted that this had narrowed in Q2. 

Mark Harris, chief executive of SPF Private Clients, said: “Spreads narrowed slightly as lenders absorbed some of the rising cost of borrowing. However, lenders reported that these are expected to widen in the third quarter as mortgage rates continue to rise.” 

Jamie Lennox, director at Dimora Mortgages, said: “People’s fear that rates will keep increasing has created a huge spike in applications from customers securing mortgages earlier than normal, which has resulted in a bottleneck where lenders can’t process applications quickly enough.  

“The end result is lenders are trying to manage the flow of applications by making their mortgages more expensive. Sadly, this is creating a domino effect due to the fact the next cheapest lender soon gets swamped and withdraws their deals in turn.” 

Lenders gave the availability of mortgages during Q2 a reading of negative 22 per cent, but this is expected to ease in Q3 with a projected response score of negative 5.1 per cent. 

The proportion of mortgage application approvals during Q2 also received a negative reading, at negative 5.3 per cent but lenders expect this to improve with a score of 0.3 per cent in Q3. 

Mortgage criteria is expected to remain fairly stable in Q3, with a modest tightening predicted. Lenders cited the changing economic outlook as the main reason for this.

 

Defaults and losses 

Defaults on mortgages fell in Q2 and are expected to rise in Q3. Losses given default, the money a financial institution loses when a borrower defaults, also dropped in Q2 and is expected to be unchanged in the three months to end-August. 

 

All the winners of the British Mortgage Awards 2022

All the winners of the British Mortgage Awards 2022

Here are the winners of the night. Congratulations to them all.

 

Broker

Broker: Rising Star – Distributor sponsored by Coventry for Intermediaries
Debra Bowskill, Mortgage Advice Bureau

 

Broker: New Build sponsored by Skipton Building Society for Intermediaries
Shafeen Daya, Alexander Hall Associates

 

Broker: Large Loans sponsored by Metro Bank
Andrew Chalton, LDNfinance

 

Broker: Later Life Lending sponsored by LiveMore
Darren Johncock, HFMC Wealth

 

Broker: Buy to Let sponsored by Paragon
Sy Nathan, Dynamo

 

Broker: First-time Buyer sponsored by Barclays
Tara Panayi, Just Mortgages

 

Broker: Complex Credit sponsored by Kent Reliance for Intermediaries
Jodi Spreadbury, The Mortgage Broker

 

Broker: Protection sponsored by HSBC Life
Apurve Kaushik, Allen & Harris

 

Broker: General Insurance sponsored by Uinsure
Anais Middleton, Heron Financial

 

Broker: Overall sponsored by Danske Bank
Matt Tilbury, Just Mortgages

 

Broker: Administrator sponsored by Pepper Money
Amy Baptiste, LDNfinance

 

Lender

Lender: Operations/Credit Risk sponsored by Capita
Katia Petlitskaya, Clydesdale Bank

 

Lender: Telephony Relationship Manager sponsored by The Openwork Partnership
Achile Mayala, HSBC UK

 

Lender: Business Development sponsored by Alexander Hall Associates
Laura Underdown, HSBC UK

 

Lender: Head of Sales & National Accounts sponsored by Primis Mortgage Network
Nicola Goldie, Virgin Money

 

Business leader

Business Leader: Development & Innovation Advocate sponsored by eConveyancer
Matt Lowndes, Mortgage Advice Bureau

 

Business Leader: Specialist Distribution sponsored by Precise Mortgages
William Lloyd-Hayward, Brightstar Financial

 

Business Leader: Surveyor sponsored by Mortgage Brain
Matthew Cumber, Countrywide Surveying Services

 

Business Leader: Conveyancer sponsored by Mortgage Solutions
Nick Chadbourne, LMS

 

Business Leader: Protection or General Insurance Provider sponsored by PMS
Louise Colley, Zurich

 

Business Leader: Broker (fewer than 10 advisers) sponsored by HSBC UK
Adrian Anderson, Anderson Harris

 

Business Leader: Broker (11 to 50 advisers) sponsored by NatWest Intermediary Solutions
Andrew Montlake, Coreco

 

Business Leader: Broker (over 51 advisers) sponsored by Bank of Ireland for Intermediaries
Peter Brodnicki, Mortgage Advice Bureau

 

Business Leader: Mortgage Club sponsored by BM Solutions
Lisa Martin, TMA Club & Qualis

 

Business Leader: Network sponsored by Halifax Intermediaries
Toni Smith, Primis Mortgage Network

 

Business Leader: Intermediary Lender (less than £5bn gross lending p.a) sponsored by Sesame
Charles Morley, Metro Bank

 

Business Leader: Intermediary Lender (£5bn or more gross lending p.a.) sponsored by Mortgage Advice Bureau
Esther Dijkstra, Lloyds Banking Group

 

Bharat Sagar Lifetime Achievement Award sponsored by Even
John Cowan, Sesame Bankhall Group

Gross mortgage lending rises as approvals remain stable – BoE

Gross mortgage lending rises as approvals remain stable – BoE

According to Money and Credit data from the Bank of England (BoE), the amount lent was at its highest point this year with a steady rise from £23.8bn of gross lending in January. 

Mortgage approvals for house purchase ticked up slightly by 99 to 66,163 in May while the value of these approvals remained flat at £16.2bn. Remortgage approvals fell slightly from 47,824 in April to 47,770 in May. The value of these approvals was also flat at £10.2bn. 

Resilient, healthy market 

Mortgage industry officials said the performance of the market in May showed things were still steady despite economic uncertainty. 

Richard Pike, Phoebus Software sales and marketing director, said mortgage activity was “bucking expectations” and soaring inflation was not putting people off as predicted. 

He added: “There is still plenty of demand to buy and sell but there will come a time, if the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) continues on its path of raising interest rates to curb inflation, when worries over finances may affect confidence. For now though, with plenty of lender appetite and competitive rates, we are looking at a pretty healthy picture.” 

Lisa Martin, development director at TMA Club, said May’s figures indicated a “resilient mortgage market”. 

Paul McGerrigan, CEO at Loan.co.uk, said: “What had seemed a dampening of homebuyers’ appetites in April is clearly only temporary and demand for property market is still high, despite tough economic times.” 

John Phillips, national operations director at Just Mortgages, added: “Doom merchants who predicted the housing market would fall off a cliff when the pandemic hit were badly wrong. Levels of borrowing and house buying have defied expectations and are now higher than pre-pandemic, although it must raise the question just how much longer can these increases continue.   

“We may well see a tail off in house purchases as the cost of living continues to rise, but instead it will drive remortgages as people look to lock into longer term fixed rates to protect them from interest rates that look set to increase several more times yet.”  

Interest rates rise 

Gross mortgage repayments increased from £12.6bn to £21.8bn in May. 

Net mortgage borrowing rose to £7.4bn in May, up from £4.2bn the previous month, and was above the £4.3bn pre-pandemic average recorded in the 12 months to February 2020. 

The effective interest rate – the actual interest rate paid – on newly-drawn mortgages increased by 13 basis points to 1.95 per cent in May. The rate on outstanding mortgages also went up by two basis points to 2.07 per cent. 

Andrew Montlake, managing director of Coreco, said: “A lot of people want to buy before rates rise even further and the fear of missing out on the rates currently available is incentivising a lot of people to take action.

“Rates are rising at a rate of knots and people are getting in while they can, and fixing for as long as they can, whether through a house purchase or a remortgage. People who have been procrastinating are now very proactive.” 

AMI Dinner 2022: the night in pictures

AMI Dinner 2022: the night in pictures

TSB sponsored this year’s event which opened with a speech from the association’s chair Andrew Montlake, then a speech from the trade body’s chief executive Robert Sinclair.

Environmentalism was the theme of the evening as AMI pledged to plant a tree for every guest in attendance. Attendees were also addressed by speaker Roger Harrabin, environment analyst at the BBC, who discussed climate change and how the mortgage sector could play its part in mitigating it.

 

Coreco launches first separately-branded network member

Coreco launches first separately-branded network member

It will be run by Tom Matthews, who was most recently associate director for Coreco Commercial for nearly seven years, and Jan Pearce, who has been with Coreco Group for nearly five years.

The company currently has a paraplanner and has employed a trainee broker, with further recruitment planned for the future.

It has its own brand and website, with all enquiries triaged straight to the team.

It is aimed at brokers who want to “actively grow their own business” under the Coreco brand and access key support.

This includes Coreco’s technology and client serving platform, the ability to use Coreco Hub in Central London, leveraging key lender relationships as well as access to compliance support, retention team, commercial finance team and protection specialists. Marketing advice and PR is also available.

There is also a retirement scheme where Coreco can service a network member’s client bank whilst paying a commission to provide additional income.

In an interview earlier this year with Mortgage Solutions, Coreco’s chief executive Andrew Montlake (pictured) said that network growth was on the cards and it was working with two network partners who were both looking to grow. He added that it was in discussion with several more.

Matthews said the firm was excited to be “taking the next step forward in our progression” and there was only one company it would want to partner with.

“Having worked alongside Coreco for more than 10 years we have a developed a deep understanding and friendship, our professional and social ambitions are perfectly aligned. Jules and Monty are two of the most respected figures in the industry whom we have personally learned so much from over the past decade,” he said.

“We are thrilled to be able to expand our business and to continue to diligently serve our loyal existing clients and many more yet to discover what fantastic advisers and people we are.”

Montlake said that Matthews and Pearce had worked with the firm for many years and were two of the leading brokers in the company.

“They are incredibly talented and diligent, and making this move is the logical next step having grown a formidable network of clients and introducers over the last decade through their hard work and dedication to their clients,” he said.

“They were passionate about forming their own new company under Coreco and are keen to employ, train, and grow their own talent. As people they epitomise the ethos and DNA of Coreco, always making a valuable contribution and we are delighted they are part of the Coreco extended family.”

House prices hit £281,000 in April – ONS

House prices hit £281,000 in April – ONS

 

This was compared to the annual growth of 9.7 per cent recorded in March where average prices reached £278,000. According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), house prices in April were £31,000 higher than the average price during the same period last year. 

ONS said the 12.4 per cent growth seen in April was the strongest since June last year but noted this was in comparison to a drop in house prices last April. House prices fell in April last year as the initial end of the stamp duty holiday in March resulted in a rise in purchase activity which pushed prices up. 

On a monthly basis, house price growth in April softened slightly with a 0.4 per cent increase on the previous month compared with a 0.7 per cent rise between February and March. 

 

Country and regional breakdown 

Average house prices in England increased by 11.9 per cent to £299,000, while in Wales there was a 16.2 per cent rise to £212,000. Average house prices in Scotland rose by 16.2 per cent to £188,000 and in Northern Ireland, there was a 10.4 per cent uptick to £165,000. 

Regionally, the South West reported the highest yearly growth in house prices with a 14.1 per cent jump. This was up from a growth rate of 10.5 per cent in March. 

London reported the lowest annual growth, as prices increased by 7.9 per cent. However, this was stronger than the 4.9 per cent yearly growth recorded in March. 

 

‘Agony’ for first-time buyers 

Noting that the annual rise in average house prices matched the average UK salary of £31,285 according to ONS, industry officials said this could be disheartening for first-time buyers. 

Iain McKenzie, CEO of The Guild of Property Professionals, said: “The average home now costs over £30,000 more than it did this time last year, but with sluggish wage growth and lower disposable income, it may feel like the goal posts have been moved for first-time buyers.  

“Estate agents are still seeing an imbalance between supply and demand, with potential buyers queuing up as soon as properties come up for sale. When this eventually begins to narrow, we may see house prices cool down to more achievable levels.” 

Sarah Coles, senior personal finance analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, added: “Your home made almost as much as you did last year, at an impressive £31,000. At the same time, inflation has been eating away at the real value of your mortgage, so anyone who owns their own home is quids in. But delight for homeowners means agony for prospective first-time buyers. 

“Prices continue to run away faster than they can ever hope to save a deposit. Even if the pace lessens, we’re not expecting the market to hit a brick wall. There’s still exceptionally little up for sale at the moment, so the market still has an enormous number of buyers who are keen to snap anything up that’s reasonably priced. This is going to keep a floor under prices for a while to come.” 

 

A historic picture 

Other sector professionals said the data did not reflect the current economic situation as that had moved on and house price inflation was due to slow. 

Andrew Montlake, managing director of Coreco, said: “April is an age ago, so this data is not a true reflection of where the market is at right now. The era of ultra-cheap money is finito and that will soon start to feed through into house price growth.  

“Increased borrowing costs and the immense pressure on household finances will almost certainly start to temper demand in the months ahead, which will see the rate of price growth slow. The one constant in these times of flux, of course, is the lack of supply and homes being built. The dearth of good quality, affordable housing for sale will support prices even as we go through an unprecedented cost of living crisis.” 

Ross Boyd, founder of Dashly.com, said: “Property prices were on fire in April but that was then and this is now. Economic conditions have deteriorated significantly in the past few months at the same time as interest rates have risen. More rate rises are almost certainly on the cards as the Bank of England attempts to control inflation, which is now at 9.1 per cent.  

“It’s inconceivable to think the housing market will remain unaffected by the current interest rate cycle, which is now firmly on an upwards trajectory. The property market will cool throughout 2022 and in 2023. When they come to remortgage, it will be less a case of rate shock for many borrowers but rate trauma. The pending remortgage crunch will significantly add to the cost of living crisis. The cost to rent has hit another record high and that will drive a degree of demand as people seek to get onto the ladder.” 

HSBC confirms agenda for emerging talent event

HSBC confirms agenda for emerging talent event

The event, which will be held at the Savoy Theatre in London on 13 June, aims to acknowledge the rising-star brokers in the mortgage industry.

Talks during the day include a mortgage market update from Richard Beardshaw (pictured), head of sales for intermediary mortgages at HSBC UK, and an economic update from Liz Martins, director for research economics at HSBC UK. Rupi Hunjan, chief executive of Censeo Financial, will talk about the social housing sector.

SimplyBiz’s chief executive Martin Reynolds will discuss social mobility, whilst managing director of Coreco Andrew Montlake will examine diversity and inclusion in the industry.

Michaela Wright, head of corporate sustainability at HSBC UK, is set to highlight sustainability and environmental, social, and governance principles, and Michelle Andrews, head of buying a home at HSBC UK will talk about her journey in the mortgage industry.

Career progression and development will be the focus of Dom Scott, managing director of Alexander Hall and Chris Pearson, head of intermediary mortgages at HSBC UK’s presentations.

Reynolds said: “This initiative from HSBC is a very progressive step and one that is unique in the market. It is an excellent idea, and I am really pleased to see such positive interaction between lender and intermediary.

“Attracting and training new advisers has its challenges at present and this type of support helps to showcase the new talent and hopefully inspires others to want to work in our great industry. I am also delighted that one of our members has been chosen to attend and I am sure they will find the event well worth it.”

Montlake said: “I am delighted to be involved with this fantastic event. It is a really great idea to focus on some of the diverse and exciting emerging talent that is coming into the industry.

“These are the future leaders of the industry, and not only will we have an opportunity to give them some insight, more importantly it will be a chance for them to teach us about the future needs and aspirations of the next generation. HSBC have really shown what a forward thinking company they are with this initiative.”

Sarah Tucker, founder and managing director of The Mortgage Mum said that this was a “fantastic and refreshing initiative” from the bank.

She said: “Emerging new talent needs to be a huge focus point for the future of our industry. After all, these are our future chief executives and leaders, and their interest and passion for their role needs to be nurtured from the very beginning.

“Our industry has previously been seen as stuffy, and the recent Association of Mortgage Intermediary report showed a real need for changes to be made at management level. We believe this starts with attracting new talent into the industry, and I am thrilled to see more and more people of all ages, gender and nationality entering the sector.”

Tucker added that she was delighted one of their brokers Gemma, had been selected as one of the rising broker stars.

Mortgage approvals dip below pre-pandemic levels – BoE

Mortgage approvals dip below pre-pandemic levels – BoE

 

According to the Bank of England’s (BoE’s) Money and Credit statistics, the average number of approvals for house purchase in the 12 months to February 2020 sat at 66,700, while the remortgage average was 49,500. 

House purchase approvals have steadily declined since the start of the year, dropping from 73,220 in January, 70,240 in February and 69,531 in March. 

April’s remortgage approvals were down on the 48,681 seen in March. 

 

Drop in mortgage approvals ‘no surprise’ 

Tomer Aboody, director of MT Finance, said given the rise in house prices, it was “no surprise” that mortgage approvals for purchases had fallen. 

He added: “Less supply and more demand will always lead to higher pricing. 

“With both new mortgages and remortgages at lower levels than they were pre-pandemic, a shift is being seen in activity towards a more ‘normal’ time, before stamp duty holidays. As higher mortgage rates are on the cards, buyers are taking advantage of the last remaining lower rates before the inevitable spike, with those remortgaging desperate to lock into a fixed-term mortgage for as long as possible.”  

Jeremy Leaf, north London estate agent and a former RICS residential chairman, added: “This latest reduction confirms what we have been seeing at the sharp end over the past few months – successive monthly increases in the cost of living as well as interest rates are compromising confidence to take on additional debt and having an inevitable knock-on effect on price growth. 

“The continuing shortage of houses in particular means that we’re unlikely to see significant changes in prices but certainly there is less competition, which is also resulting in more time being taken to exchange contracts.” 

 

Lending volumes and average rates rise 

Gross mortgage lending rose from £26.2bn in March to £26.5bn in April while gross mortgage repayments increased from £20bn to £21.5bn. 

Net borrowing of mortgage debt fell from £6.4bn to £4.1bn, which BoE said was below the pre-pandemic average of £4.3bn in the year to February 2020. 

The ‘effective’ interest rate, the actual interest rate paid, on newly drawn mortgages increased by nine basis points to 1.82 per cent in April. The rate on the outstanding stock of mortgages ticked up one basis point to 2.05 per cent.

Industry figures suggested rising rates was leading people to choose longer fixed rate terms on their mortgages. 

Mark Harris, chief executive of SPF Private Clients, said: “Borrowers continue to favour longer-term fixes in order to protect themselves as much as possible, particularly as five-year products are so favourably priced compared with their two-year equivalents.”  

Leon Diamond, CEO at Livemore, said: “Long-term fixed rate mortgages are the sensible way for people to go in this rising rate environment and many people are now considering fixing for 10 years. But there are also 20-year fixed rate and fixed for life options, which can give peace of mind knowing that your monthly repayment will never go up.” 

 

‘Alarm bells’ for consumer credit borrowing 

The BoE statistics also revealed that consumer credit borrowing, including credit cards and unsecured loans, exceeded pre-pandemic levels for the third month running. 

Individuals borrowed an additional £1.4bn in consumer credit in April, on net, following £1.3bn of borrowing in March. This is compared to a £1bn average in the 12 months to February 2020.  

However, borrowing levels were down on the £2bn recorded in February. 

In April, consumer credit borrowing was split between £700m on credit cards and £700m through other forms of credit such as car dealership finance and personal loans. 

Rob Peters, director of Simple Fast Mortgage, said: “It’s never a good idea to cover the cost of living with debt such as credit cards or loans, as this creates a downward spiral of debt reliance which can only create further problems.  

“That said, we’ve seen some borrowers with good credit ratings and strong affordability being turned down for additional borrowing by their existing mortgage lender. These borrowers have been forced to look at higher cost personal finance options such as unsecured loans in order to raise money needed. This indicates a lack of appetite by some mortgage lenders to allow borrowers to raise additional monies, at high loan to value ratios.” 

Andrew Montlake, managing director of Coreco, said: “This latest rise in consumer credit will trigger even more alarm bells at the Bank of England. It shows the economic storm clouds are getting darker by the day. People can take out credit and loans if they are confident, but in this case it’s almost certainly because they are seeking extra cash to cover their bills and put food on their tables.” 

Top 10 most read mortgage broker stories this week – 13/05/2022

Top 10 most read mortgage broker stories this week – 13/05/2022

The equity release market also came under scrutiny following a research paper by The Financial Services Consumer Panel, and Habito and Perenna said that the affordability stress test and loan to income limit was “not fit for purpose”.

The Queen’s Speech, brokers’ biggest careers lessons and insights from Coreco’s Andrew Montlake also caught readers’ interest.

The British Mortgage Awards 2022 finalists announced

Equity release borrowers lack understanding and feel pressured to buy – report

Coreco sets sights on commercial, new build and equity release ‒ Montlake

‘Shovel through the dung to find a gem’ – brokers share their biggest career lessons

Habito and Perenna say current affordability stress test and LTI limit ‘not fit for purpose’

HSBC launches emerging talent event to support rising star brokers

Nationwide ups LTI to 6.5 on like-for-like remortgages

Planning system to be reformed ‒ Queen’s Speech

 

Brokers ‘frantic’ after BoE rate rise as borrowers worry over mortgage costs

Rate increases announced by HSBC and Nationwide – round-up

 

 

 

 

Coreco sets sights on commercial, new build and equity release ‒ Montlake

Coreco sets sights on commercial, new build and equity release ‒ Montlake

Coreco was founded in 2009 with 10 employees. The firm now employs 65 and has opened a Southend office to house its customer services team.

Montlake (pictured) said the firm has pivoted over the last three years to become a “national broker”. This has involved talking to different introducers and recruiting “incredibly talented people and newcomers” outside of London.

Montlake acknowledged that the pandemic had changed mindsets around remote working, noting that the company has a protection-only broker in Wakefield, and an administrator in Scotland who is training up to be an adviser.

He said the company’s recruitment focus was on servicing lead flow, finding the right people who fit and add to the culture, and an increasing focus on hiring protection specialists.

He added that protection was an “area where we have failed at for several years” for the firm, but following a cultural shift, now viewed itself as a “mortgage and protection broker”.

Montlake said that Coreco now has two protection-only brokers to complement its six mortgage and protection brokers.

Commercial, new build and equity release areas of interest

Coreco’s areas of interest in the near-term include new build and commercial mortgages, as well as opening more franchises nationally.

Montlake said commercial was a “great market” and an area “where brokers can excel in” as it was a “grey area”, adding that its commercial department, under Julian Ingall, has been “very successful”. But now is the time to “grow the business” and seize opportunities with small housebuilders and property developers.

Montlake believes that new build is an increasingly important and growing sector of the market as more homes are needed.

The firm has therefore hired new build expert Matt Thorn to grow the team and business further in that direction.

He added that Coreco would consider entering equity release advice in the near future, but it still needs the “right people”.

“We want to be that one-stop shop for people for a life and nurture those clients and empower them to make better financial decisions. That’s our motto,” he said.

 

Work with more partners and expand the network

Montlake said that Coreco’s priorities include developing introducers, working with more estate agents, increasing corporate partners and continuing to promote its website, social media activity, and brand awareness.

This includes expanding its Southend operation and adding telephony brokers.

He added that its purchase of Mortgages Online will be leveraged as a lead generation tool so it can better compete with digital mortgage brokers.

Network growth is also on the cards, with Montlake hinting at hopes to open an office in Scotland in the near future.

Coreco is working with two network partners, who are both looking to grow, and is “in conversation” with several more.

The firm is also developing a retirement plan for brokers who may want to pass on their client bank and earn as an introducer.

 

‘People powered by technology’

A point of frustration for Montlake is when people or firms would enter the mortgage market and say it’s “broken” and they were going to “fix” it.

“They’re talking nonsense. This industry is not broken. Yes, we can do things better, but we are one of the most well-run, well-regulated, consumer centric industries,” he said.

Montlake believes that as the technology in the mortgage sector improves, it will always remain “people powered by technology, not technology powered by people”. He cited companies like Habito and Trussle that he said had assumed they could disintermediate the mortgage market, only to find that’s not what customers wanted.

He said that these firms have since pivoted and decided to “put people front and center”, but that their efforts have boosted the intermediary services’ public presence for everyone.

“Although some people love to hate them, what they’ve done is made us look at ourselves and think about how we deal with our customers, how we use technology, and how the customer journey works. They’ve advertised so more people are more aware of what a mortgage broker is,” he said.

 

Key industry challenges

Montlake said that customers will now compare mortgage brokers to their last interaction with a company, so comparisons with Amazon, for example, will become the “standard”.

He noted that brokers who utilized technology to “enhance” the customer journey would be best-placed to succeed, and doesn’t think “old-fashioned sales operations will survive if they don’t adapt”.

Another big challenge for the industry is diversity and inclusion, which Montlake has put a lot of work in to in his role as chairman of the Association of Mortgage Intermediaries (AMI). He said particular focus needed to be paid to recruitment, retention and promotion.

“I think that’s imperative. It’s not just a moral obligation, but there’s a clear, proven business rationale for it.”

Montlake said that “diversity of thought” would only make a business better and customers will increasingly want to see themselves in the companies they interacted with.

The governments green agenda also presents a lot of uncertainty, according to Montlake, particularly with the practicality of getting all properties up to the required Energy Performance Certificate rating in time for the proposed, yet unconfirmed, deadlines. He expressed additional concern over how the mortgage industry could encourage landlords to make the required changes in time.

Montlake continued that recent papers and proposed changes from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) were not “as well thought out as they should be.

“They could spend more time policing the bad people than just creating more work for the good people. The bad people are always going to do it, so I think that it’s just increasing regulation for regulation’s sake and increasing costs eventually get passed on to the consumer – that doesn’t help anyone.”

He added that there were “excellent people” at the regulator, and he had been “encouraged” by its engagement. However, he said more collaboration between brokers, lenders, trade bodies and regulators would be needed to yield the best customer outcomes.

“We’re a fantastic industry. In fact, in many ways, we’re a leading industry. I want everyone to know that, and I want more voices, especially more female and diverse voices, and a lot more competition.

“I look around at some of the new companies and leaders and I am excited about where they will take the mortgage industry,” he said.