MAB adds Loans Warehouse to specialist broker panel
Other members of the panel include Brightstar, Brilliant Solutions, Freedom Group and Your Expert Group.
The panel aims to provide advisers with improved choice and adds to expertise available within its specialist finance offering.
Loans Warehouse will provide MAB’s advisers with access to advice for second charge mortgages, bridging and development finance.
MAB’s chief executive officer Peter Brodnicki said: “This move is all about giving our advisers more choice within the specialist first and second charge mortgage market.
He added: “The organisations within the panel have been carefully selected based on the quality of offering and exceptionally high service standards our brokers should expect.”
Loans Warehouse director and co-founder Matt Tristram (pictured) said: “We’re delighted with the opportunity we’ve been given by MAB and can’t wait to get out there and meet the members and provide the service we pride ourselves on.”
The addition to the MAB specialist broker panel is the latest partnership by Loans Warehouse, which has recently partnered with MCI Mortgage Club and Black & White Bridging.
The company was granted full authorisation by the Financial Conduct Authority to conduct regulated bridging advice and added United Trust Bank as its first lender partner last year.
Brilliant Solutions and MCI add specialist support to panels
Brilliant Solutions has added Gatehouse bank to its panel to increase the range of buy-to-let deals brokers have access to.
Gatehouse Bank is a Shariah-compliant finance provider that serves UK residents, expats and international customers.
The bank offers two-year and five-year fixed rate products in the buy-to-let market for single residency investments and portfolios up to £5m, along with multi-unit freehold blocks and houses in multiple occupation.
Paul Stockwell, chief commercial officer at Gatehouse Bank, said: “We are seeing increased demand for our products from within and outside the Muslim community, and so we are delighted to be working with Brilliant Solutions to make our offering available to its club members.”
MCI Mortgage Club
MCI Mortgage Club has teamed up with Fluent Money to offer its members a secured loan referral service.
This is the first time the club has worked with the second charge market, and through the partnership, brokers will be able to access all second charge lenders in the market.
MCI members will be able to contact Fluent’s partner development team and marketing department and will have their own dedicated account manager.
Melanie Spencer, head of MCI Mortgage Club, said: “I personally believe there will be a greater demand for secured loans going forward, especially if people’s circumstances have changed because of the impact of Covid.
“A secured loan can often be a better option than remortgaging or taking a further advance on the first mortgage.”
Brilliant teams up with Ocean Mortgages and Responsible Life for equity release advice
Formally a mainstream mortgage broker, Plymouth-based Ocean Mortgages began running as later life lending adviser around two years ago and managing director Stuart Powell says equity release now accounts for close to 100 per cent of the firm’s business.
The pair of firms will split the referrals according to the size of the business. Ocean will serve firms with three advisers or less and Responsible Life, also based in Plymouth, will support the larger brokerages.
Since the partnership was struck in January, seven firms have started to submit their later life lending business to Ocean Mortgages. Responsible Life has registered two large firms with 60 advisers.
Support for homeowners
“We’ve been growing as an equity release specialist for three years now and have doubled the amount of business we are writing over that time,” said Powell.
“We’ve found that homeowners are intrigued by the possibilities of modern equity release plans so we have set our business up as an educational brand.”
To support advisers and consumers with their equity release enquiries, Ocean has set up two Facebook groups. Launched last summer, the adviser group, Later Life Advisors Hub has close to 400 members and the client version, Equity Release Questions Answered is nearing 100 members.
To assist homeowners with their own research, Powell has created an equity release calculator that does not require the user to input their personal details. Users can get an approximate idea of how much they can borrow without having their personal information sold on to a lead generator company. However, to discuss rates borrowers must give Ocean a contact number for an adviser to speak to them.
Matthew Arena, managing director of Brilliant Solutions, said: “Demand for later life lending has certainly increased. We already worked with a full range of equity release lenders to complement our existing lender panel but we recognised that many brokers are unable or reluctant to advise in this area.
“Having supported Ocean and Responsible with their term lending products we know their reputation in the equity release sector is second to none. It was a natural partnership that delivered low fees and great service. Our mutual desire to expand this sector and make it a core component of every adviser’s offering has enabled us to deliver an exclusive referral proposition that also offers brokers enhanced and transparent commissions too.
“We have seen a huge amount of interest from brokers in our mortgage club services and our referral arrangement.”
Just Group joins Brilliant Solutions panel
The mortgages aim to offer borrowers flexibility with an option that allows clients to service interest on the loan so they can reduce the overall borrowing cost.
Jacqueline Wilkins, director of retail business development at Just Group, said: “Joining the Brilliant Solutions lifetime mortgage panel means we can offer financial advisers a wide and flexible range of tailored lifetime mortgage solutions – including innovative features like the ability to service interest – allowing financial advisers to help their clients achieve better outcomes in their later life.”
Matthew Arena (pictured), managing director at Brilliant Solutions, added: “Alongside the great products available in its Just For You lifetime mortgage range, Just Group’s educational resources, designed specifically to help financial advisers manage complex issues such as customer vulnerability, will also be appreciated.”
Zephyr Homeloans cuts rates and expands reach
The lender has joined the Brilliant Solutions Mortgage Club panel with members able to access all Zephyr’s rates.
Matthew Arena, managing director for Brilliant Solutions, said: “It is fantastic to welcome Zephyr Homeloans to the buy-to-let panel of our mortgage club which will enable our advisers and their clients to benefit from Zephyr’s highly competitive rates and expertise in the buy-to-let sector.”
Following the reductions, rates start from 3.14 per cent for a two-year fixed-rate standard property buy-to-let mortgage and 3.44 per cent for a standard five-year fixed-rate loan.
The lender’s rates for new build and flats above commercial property now start at 3.54 per cent for a two-year fixed rate loan and 3.84 per cent for a five-year fixed rate loan.
Rates on standard properties, houses in multiple occupancy and multi-unit block properties available up to 75 per cent loan to value (LTV) have also been lowered.
The LTV is restricted to 70 per cent LTV on loan sizes between £1m and £1.5m.
Paul Fryers (pictured), managing director at Zephyr Homeloans, said: “We’ve had one of the busiest months in Zephyr’s history, and we are delighted to be able to reduce rates further and help the increasing number of landlords who are looking to expand their portfolios.
“As buoyancy in the buy-to-let market continues, these new rates provide potential borrowers with highly competitive products across a broad range of properties.”
Hinckley & Rugby BS joins Brilliant’s lender panel
The move will give Brilliant’s mortgage club advisers access to the mutual’s mortgage products as the lender expands its reach in the broker market.
Products include a join borrower sole proprietor deal, top slicing for buy-to-let, first-time buyers and other niche lending.
The mutual said its Mortgage Referrals Committee meant it could take complex and unusual cases into account.
Brilliant Solutions managing director Matthew Arena said: “We have been impressed by the flexibility and the openness of Hinckley & Rugby Building Society, particularly the Mortgage Referrals Committee.
“We are confident that this lender’s unique approach will work well with our specialist support team to ensure that brokers using our Mortgage Club get even better outcomes for their clients.”
Hinckley & Rugby Building Society national account manager Emily Smith added the lender was looking forward to working with the distributor.
“Particularly at this time, we feel it is important for a lender to take the time to understand clients’ situations and offer support to brokers,” she said.
Mansfield Building Society launches with Brilliant Solutions
This includes its limited company, expat, holiday let and regulated family buy-to-let products.
Matthew Arena (pictured), managing director for Brilliant Solutions Mortgage Club, said: “We’re delighted to have The Mansfield on board.
“By adding their mortgage range to the choice available through us we are continuing our ethos of providing the best possible mortgage products for brokers and their clients.
“We’re really looking forward to having The Mansfield on our panel of lenders and helping our brokers to find the right solutions for their clients.”
Paul Lewis, national development manager at Mansfield Building Society, added: “As a lender with a flexible and individual approach to lending, not only will brokers with Brilliant Solutions be able to choose from a wide range of products with us, they’ll also have a lender able assess complex circumstances on a case-by-case basis.
“Over the coming weeks and months, we’ll be liaising with their mortgage desk to help raise the profile of our criteria and the solutions we can offer.
“As a building society, we think it’s important that, particularly in these times, lenders are enabling borrowers who may be in complex but common sense circumstances.”
A significant obstacle to housing market recovery has been removed – Arena
The news came from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) which has been at the centre of the mortgage-specific element of this tumultuous time and I am pleased to say the news was good.
It is easy to miss the importance of the announcement with so much going on, but when RICS changes its stance, it affects the entire industry, from borrowers through to those investing in securitised mortgage debt.
Its influence is significant but rarely discussed.
We all remember the chaos following the cessation of physical valuations and their return was a cause to be celebrated. That return was heavily caveated.
There were calls to freeze house price indexes and few recent transactions even to compare. The return to valuations was vital but involved huge uncertainty.
Pricing property in any crisis is difficult, but this crisis is unlike any other.
The response from RICS was to implement a material uncertainty clause on all valuations. That is huge.
If lenders were not already uncertain about the outlook of the economy, here was RICS telling them that the asset base was also subject to similar but current uncertainty.
The impact of this was overwhelmingly positive as it allowed surveyors to value property without looking over their shoulder; this clearly prevented many inevitable down valuations.
Lenders reacted accordingly and reduced their loan to values (LTVs) to account for the increased risk.
As much as people have berated lenders for reducing LTVs, frankly, who can blame them with material uncertainty on valuations and a potential economic crisis looming.
Only the margin-hungry have taken the plunge, but expect those margin hunters to increase in number following last week’s announcement, though this will in no means lead to a return to pre-Covid conditions.
So last week RICS announced the material uncertainty clause would be removed for most valuations.
That is every bit as significant as it sounds and great news for the industry.
Lending is all about risk: the RICS policy change reduced one of those risks significantly. Valuations are now based on an unrestricted market environment with reasonable levels of recent transaction comparables, all valuations that were supported by the prior RICS policy.
Lending risk has just fallen, and that is hugely significant, but this policy change does not remove the uncertainty surrounding the future of the housing market, the future of employment and the economy as a whole.
We can expect an improvement in the risk appetite from lenders following this announcement but these improvements will only come from those that were already considering lending at higher LTVs thanks to the high margins available in that sector.
Recovering from this crisis will take some time and there are many obstacles to overcome yet but thankfully, RICS has just removed a rather significant one.
‘Incredible margins’ for holiday let business could tempt lenders to return
However, it is also one with significant risk attached to it which means many lenders are likely to hold off their re-entry until a potential second Covid-19 wave has passed.
In the space of a 15-minute announcement from prime minister Boris Johnson last week, the English holiday let market went from stone dead to red hot, with reports coming through of campsites, bed and breakfast and other accommodations booked up for months within hours as people seek a post-lockdown escape.
Lenders have reciprocated to a certain extent by re-entering or launching into the market, but there is still some uncertainty abound.
Brilliant Solutions managing director Matthew Arena said prior to the announcement demand for these mortgages was low, but enquiry levels have risen notably since.
“Whether it is your Airbnb-style or a more traditional holiday let, demand is incredibly high following the recent announcements,” he told Specialist Lending Solutions.
“With so many people furloughed and clouds over future employment prospects, staycations are surely going to see a big increase in popularity.
“All the signals are positive in this space, everything that is apart from the world’s great unknown, the infamous second wave.”
Many holiday lets are booked through sites that permit short notice cancellations and while demand is high now, in such a volatile environment it could all so easily be turned off immediately.
Lenders who can understand and accommodate that situation could do well, but it needs that expertise.
“Asking lenders to make a risk assessment in that environment is incredibly difficult, that said, the fundamentals all look really strong at the moment,” Arena continued.
“That takes us to a place where those that can apply underwriting assessments that factor in the borrower’s ability to manage short term issues should be able to build a strong mortgage book of performing loans at some incredible margins.
“The flip side is, why would you take on the extra risk unless you had to? This level of risk versus reward lending is where you are seeing the experienced lenders return to the sector with tighter criteria to reflect the new conditions and increased pricing too.”
He noted this included Swansea Building Society, Principality Building Society and Furness Building Society.
“We have also seen the entry in the market from Roma, a lender that specialises in higher risk loans and is prepared to take a view on pricing for risk in a market that has understandably seen so many withdraw.
“While the sector should continue to defrost, only those experienced in the sector and hungry for margin will return in the foreseeable, if you are not in those camps then it is simply not worth considering. Expect a significant return when the risk of the second wave abates,” Arena added.
Being able to identify and understand the business sustainability of prospective holiday let borrowers will be vital for lenders to understand the risk they are taking on.
Running properties correctly
Connect Mortgages CEO Liz Syms is well positioned to understand this and how the market has been affected as she owns holiday let properties herself.
“Bookings have been cancelled and either rescheduled till next year, or payments refunded,” she said.
“Mortgage holidays have been of assistance, however, while the properties have stood empty, there have still been ongoing costs such as bills for utilities to continue to pay.
“That said, those that have been running their holiday let properties correctly as an official holiday let business as per HMRC requirements will have benefitted from government support.
“This includes the waiving of the business rates, and also the government grant of £10,000 per property,” she added.
Time for lenders to return
Syms too said she has seen bookings starting to fly in again for dates from July onwards when the restrictions will be lifted, and believes this gives an overall positive air to the market and demand for lending.
“I expect the UK holiday let market to now get very busy again while there are still problems and caution around going abroad,” she continued.
“Therefore, now would be a good time for lenders to come back to lending in this market.”
Mortgage industry NHS fundraiser launched
The online poker tournament which has been organised by packager Brilliant Solutions is free to play, with no money bet or gambled, and aims to bring the industry together, although donations can be made without playing.
All funds are collected through a voluntary donation via the company’s Just Giving page which has been setup to donate to NHS Charities Together.
“Players participate for fun and industry pride, as well as the chance to win what will surely be the coveted winner’s trophy,” the packager said.
The event will kick off in May and registrations are open until the end of April with almost 100 people signed up for the tournament and more than £600 raised after only a few days.
Come together as an industry
Brilliant Solutions managing director Matthew Arena said the firm was keen to emphasise this was purely for fun and fund raising, with no gambling activity.
“We hope that players will be generous and together, as an industry, we can raise a significant sum for the NHS,” he said.
“No doubt it will help some people who are bored of watching TV all evening too. We wanted to ensure that players of any ability can participate and this setup has achieved that.”
Sales director Michael Craig added: “Removing the association with gambling was crucial for us and it took a while to find an appropriate setup to do this but I am pleased to say we have managed it.
“The company has planned an industry wide fund raiser for some time and we did not want to let Covid-19 stop us this year when it is clear that these efforts are more important than ever.
“We are gaining momentum with this quickly so it is proving popular already.”
Donations can be made on the Just Giving page and details on how to register for the event and participate can be found on the firm’s website or by contacting Michael Craig on Michael@brilliantsolutions.co.uk.
The tournament is open to anybody with any connection to the mortgage industry whatsoever and sharing the details is being encouraged.