Ex-Lloyds intermediary MD Mike Jones joins MAB
Jones, age 57, will serve on the audit, remuneration, nomination, and group risk committees.
He joined Lloyds Bank plc in 1985 and retired from Lloyds Banking Group plc (“LBG”) at the end of 2020 most recently as managing director, intermediaries and specialist brands.
His primary role was leading the Halifax, BM Solutions and Scottish Widows Bank business development teams working with mortgage intermediaries across the UK. Jones chaired the LBG Housing Forum, the LBG intermediary conduct forum and was responsible in the UK for Birmingham Midshires, Scottish Widows Bank and Intelligent Finance. He was also responsible for LBG’s European retail bank operating in Germany and The Netherlands, a role that sees him continue into 2021 as chair of the supervisory board of Lloyds Bank GmbH following his appointment in March 2019.
Peter Brodnicki, CEO of MAB, said: “I am also delighted to welcome Mike to the Board. His leadership, vision, and strategic thinking at the UK’s leading lender has shaped the intermediary and lending markets that exist today, and his appointment reflects the huge ambition of this business.
Jones said: “It will be great to do something I know and love with a company and people that I am excited to be involved with. I know the way they think, they have great plans and believe I can bring some value.”
There are businesses that tell a good story and there are businesses that get things done. MAB is at the forefront of leading change and is definitely one of the latter, he added.
On the housing market through 2021, Jones agrees that this could be a year to match 2007 for its mortgage lending high given the momentum built up and in the pipeline.
“Activity levels have been high across the market following the first lockdown last spring and there are very high numbers of mortgages still to complete in 2021, not least brought about by the looming stamp duty exemption deadline,” he said, adding that vaccinations are now giving an increasingly clear exit route out of the pandemic.
“The Covid vaccination roadmap laid out by the government is building confidence and I think that there is a high probability that this will become an annual jab like the flu vaccine. If so, then I’m optimistic that Covid becomes much more manageable and contained. Let’s hope so, the interesting question then becomes how many will go back to their previous way of life? How many habits have been changed by our experiences of the last year? That’s the big unknown.”
BM Solutions adds valuation API as part of portfolio portal update
It has removed the previous customer profile form enabling brokers to key information directly through the portal and introduced other technology including an application programming interface (API) using Rightmove data to provide property valuations.
The lender said the new functionality followed broker feedback and would make it easier for intermediaries to submit portfolio landlord information.
Phil Rickards, head of BM Solutions, (pictured) said: “We are always listening to feedback from brokers and now more than ever it’s vital for us to be turning that feedback into action.
“By removing the customer profile form we are making it even easier for brokers to submit portfolio BTL business to us and our dedicated portfolio support team are also still on hand to help make the process even smoother.
“Last year was an unprecedented year and I’m really pleased to have been able to offer high levels of support for the intermediary BTL market.”
BM Solutions introduced a new system for new mortgage business in late 2020, with product transfers, further advances and transfer of equity scheduled to move to the system during 2021.
Mortgage Solutions Podcast: BM Solutions and Shelter on Covid, the UK housing mix and ‘levelling up’
The charity highlighted that the vast majority of mortgage lenders had now corrected such policies and emphasised it would continue to pursue agents and landlords who did so in the courts.
Speaking on the Mortgage Solutions Podcast in association with BM Solutions, Shelter head of partnerships Michael Stickland said people were still being victimised under the clauses.
“We’re definitely still seeing people come to us asking for help because they are being locked out of the private rented sector by some of these No DSS clauses as they are called,” he said.
“The couple of court cases this year have proved huge wins just clarifying that this is illegal discrimination and won’t be tolerated.
“There’s a piece to do around education to make sure that people understand that and landlords and letting agents really connect it is illegal, it’s not optional whether you choose to have this clause on your adverts or not.”
No excuses now
In 2018 Mortgage Solutions reported on the plight of landlord Helena McAleer who was told by NatWest to either foot a £2,500 bill to leave her mortgage or evict her vulnerable tenant on housing benefit.
After a high-profile campaign led by McAleer and supported by Mortgage Solutions, NatWest was followed by a host of other lenders in removing the clauses.
Strickland highlighted that landlords had all too often hidden behind such clauses.
“We’re now in position thankfully where 99 per cent of the buy-to-let mortgage market is no longer using No DSS clauses, so that’s absolutely no longer an excuse for letting agents and landlords,” he continued.
“I think the key thing is that there are no excuses now, this has been found to be illegal in a court of law, we will continue to take legal action where we see people being discriminated against and hopefully over time we will see quite a drastic reduction in the number of people coming to Shelter for help about this problem.”
Mortgage industry ‘done our bit’
Phil Rickards, head of BM Solutions added that with a lot of hard work from lenders and bodies including the Intermediary Mortgage Lenders Association (IMLA), the market was now in the right place.
“There’s still some work to do with some letting agents,” he said. “But from a mortgage industry perspective I like to think we’ve done our bit.”
He added that BM Solutions changed its policy at least seven years ago and was a “change which made perfect sense”.
The pair also explained how the coronavirus pandemic had shone a light on the problems in the housing market.
And they discussed the effectiveness, affordability and quality of the private rented sector, along with government plans for housing in the UK.
TSB adds more 90 per cent LTV mortgages as Halifax and BM Solutions tweak rates
The lender is offering deals with £500 cashback to first-time buyer and home movers.
These include a two-year mortgage fixed at 3.69 per cent with a £995 fee or 3.84 per cent without a fee.
And a five-year fix of 3.94 per cent, fee-free.
The additions come after TSB last week returned to the 90 per cent LTV market with a five-year fix with £500 cashback.
It was the first time the lender had offered loans at these levels since September.
Nick Smith, head of mortgages at TSB said: “We know that raising a deposit is often the biggest challenge our customers face when buying a property.
“With the continued challenging environment, we’re pleased to be re-introducing more high LTV products for our customers.”
Halifax and BM Solutions
Meanwhile, Halifax Intermediaries has overhauled rates on its remortgage deals.
The lender has made rate reductions of up to 0.09 per cent and increases of up to 0.17 per cent on selected products across the residential remortgage range.
And its buy to let lending arm BM Solutions has made changes to its product transfer (PT) and further advance (FA) ranges for buy to let and let to buy.
It has made rate reductions of 0.07 per cent and increases of up to 0.16 per cent across its two-year and five-year PT and FA deals.
Halifax reintroduces two-year remortgage deals and overhauls rates
The relaunched two-year fixes for remortgage applications gives Halifax three fee options at four different loan to value (LTV) levels up to 85 per cent.
Deal are available with, zero, £999 and £1,499 fee options, with the highest fee version available only for loans of at least £250,000.
Rates range from 1.2 per cent at up to 60 per cent LTV with the £1,499 fee to 2.88 per cent at 85 per cent LTV with no fee.
Halifax has also increased rates elsewhere on its three and five-year remortgage products by up to 0.28 per cent, while also making cuts of up to 0.14 per cent.
Product transfer and further advance rates have been cut by up to 0.52 per cent with others increased by up to 0.22 per cent.
Meanwhile BM Solutions, the buy-to-let arm of Lloyds Banking Group, has also increased rates across its two-year and five-year product transfer and further advance range.
The lender did not give details of the level of increases made.
Small portfolio landlords upbeat as pandemic impact eases – BM Solutions
Research from BVA BDRC and BM Solutions shows the number of landlords with four or fewer properties who believe they will be negatively hit by the pandemic has fallen over the third quarter of the year.
Although 42 per cent are still expecting some impact, this figure is down fourteen percentage points from the start of the pandemic.
Smaller landlords also remain less likely to think they will be detrimentally affected compared to those with bigger portfolios, with 67 per cent of their larger counterparts being apprehensive.
This sentiment is born out by the evidence, where only 21 per cent of small portfolio landlords have reported a loss in rental income so far due to the pandemic compared to 46 per cent of larger landlords.
Overall, just under one in four small landlords have experienced Covid-19 related issues across their portfolio, with this being mainly reduced rental income.
Buyers or sellers
BVA BDRC conducted interviews with 250 landlords for the research – 88 per cent of whom had between one and four properties.
It appears the more stable situation is being reflected in future plans with and even split of sales and purchases predicted – 15 per cent said they were intending to buy while 14 per cent would be sellers.
Phil Rickards, head of BM Solutions (pictured), noted the buy-to-let market remained resilient and the latest findings showed despite the pandemic, positive sentiment towards the private rental sector remained high.
“The number of small landlords who anticipate their lettings business to be negatively impacted by the pandemic continues to fall, showing maintained stability of the buy-to-let market,” he said.
“Buying and selling intentions also look generally flat at the smaller end of the market which is good news for private rental sector stock at a time when it’s needed more than ever.
“The fact that this market still remains buoyant and hasn’t yielded to the predicted pressures of global events gives hope during this uncertain time and offers some reassurance for the market as broader uncertainty continues.”
BM Solutions launches new mortgage application system
Initially, the system will only be available for new mortgage business, including buy-to-let purchases, let-to-buy and remortgage applications.
Product transfers, further advances and transfer of equity will move to the new system during 2021.
Enhanced features include improved self-service options, built-in document upload, ability to amend applications post submission and alternative lending proposals at decision stage where available.
Intermediaries will be invited to register for the new system as part of a phased roll-out and once online they will be able to use improved case tracking functionality which includes key milestone and valuation notifications, email updates and administrator features to enable keying by admin teams.
Phil Rickards (pictured), head of BM Solutions, said: “We have already made a range of digital enhancements and invested in technology and these latest additions are designed to improve brokers’ experience through the application process with increased functionality based on their feedback.
“We’re as committed as ever to supporting the buy-to-let market and we are working towards expanding the new features early next year.”
Product transfer and further advance applications will continue to be submitted using the current One Minute Mortgage process and transfer of equity transactions will continue to follow the existing application process in the meantime.
Tips to take care of yourself and those around you
It has been a challenging time and it looks like that challenge is going to remain into the winter months and beyond.
In this short film, Phil Rickards, head of BM Solutions, talks to Katie Legg, director of strategy and partnerships at MHUK about the support available on mentalhealth-uk.org/ to help us all stay well.
Rewind Wednesday – The Buy to Let Online Forum: Final Part
The final two presentations discuss what has changed in lockdown in how the market operates and how advisers have adapted, and then sees two of the biggest buy-to-let lenders put on the spot in the key issues of the moment.
Lessons from lockdown
Ying Tan, chief executive, Dynamo
Phil Rickards, head of BM Solutions and Adrian Moloney, managing group sales director, OneSavings Bank
In the first session, Ying Tan outlines how advisers have to adapt to keep their business relevant and successful in the current environment.
And in the panel debate, Phil Rickards and Adrian Moloney explain the challenges they have been facing handling cases since lockdown and where they see criteria changes coming.
TMW overtakes BM Solutions as largest BTL lender
Overall, buy-to-let (BTL) gross lending totalled £42.2bn in 2019, up 4.2 per cent on 2018.
Unlike the residential mortgage market, buy to let is far less concentrated in a handful of lenders, however despite this, the same big six banks still saw their BTL market share increase by 4.7 per cent and accounted for £20.63bn of new lending – almost half the market.
TMW grew its new BTL lending by £2.1bn to complete £6.6bn, taking a 15.6 per cent share of the market and leapfrogging BM Solutions for top spot. (See table below)
As the buy-to-let market has become more complex following tax and regulation changes TMW began rolling out a limited company proposition in 2018 to support landlords who are increasingly choosing this method of ownership.
In contrast, BM Solutions saw its new lending fall by around £500m as it completed just over £5bn in BTL business, with 12 per cent of the market.
The lender, which is part of Lloyds Banking Group, has chosen to focus on traditional mainstream landlords and has yet to introduce a limited company product, but has expanded its offer to include larger portfolios.
Coventry Building Society, with its Godiva brand, Virgin Money and Metro Bank were among the big name lenders to see their market share fall.
Coventry BS remained the fifth largest buy-to-let lender, completing £2.8bn worth of loans, but this total was down £1bn on 2018.
Virgin Money completed 1.88bn of lending, down £400m from the previous year, while Metro Bank was hit with capital and regulation issues which saw it cut lending by more than half to around £330m.
Meanwhile NatWest grew its BTL business by £700m to complete £2.08bn of lending, becoming the seventh largest lender in the market – leapfrogging Virgin Money and Paragon.
And the completed One Savings Bank merger, which includes Precise Mortgages, Kent Reliance and Interbay Commercial, saw it combine to become the fourth largest lender with £3.89bn of completions.