NatWest Intermediary Solutions confirms local heroes mortgage adviser awards finalists

NatWest Intermediary Solutions confirms local heroes mortgage adviser awards finalists

The lender is recognising brokers in the industry who have gone beyond everyday expectations to put the customer and their local community at the heart of their firm.

Across the 12 regional categories, firms have been asked to demonstrate their position as a local mortgage and protection expert, their commitment to quality advice, excellent customer outcomes, and their positive contributions using the key areas of environment, inclusivity, wellbeing, charity and community.

Winning firms will evidence how they contribute to limiting climate change and show how they support local charitable or social initiatives in their local community.

In the workplace, firms have programs or policies to encourage inclusivity and the representation of diverse groups across gender, race and ethnicity, ability and disability, religion, culture, age and sexual orientation.

In the wellbeing area, the judges will reward firms that have shown flexibility and empathy towards the needs of their staff and customers over the last 12 months.

Within the community bracket, companies should show how they have supported or made a positive contribution to the local community.

The winners will be revealed at the gala awards ceremony which will be held in Birmingham’s iconic grade 1 listed Town Hall on 10 March.

Luke Christodoulides, NatWest’s national account manager, said the lender was delighted to be hosting the NatWest Intermediary Solutions Local Hero Mortgage Awards again.

“This is an event we’re proud of, as the principles of the scheme and the judging process mirror those set out in the purpose of the bank.

“These firms have exemplified putting the customer and their local community at the heart of everything they do, in addition to providing sound financial advice for those consumers within their locality,” he said.

“We can see again that there are many firms doing exceptional things in their communities. Firms have responded positively to the changes we made to the qualifying criteria this year.

“I would also like to thank each and every firm who submitted a nomination. The quality of the submissions we received for judging were hugely impressive,” he added.

Central
JLM Mortgage Services
Mortgage & Money Management Ltd
P2M Asset Management Ltd

East of England
Gemstone Mortgages
The Mortgage Mum
Yellow Brick Mortgages

Greater London
Bennison Brown
Crystal Clear Financial Services
Downton and Ali Associates

North East
313 Financial
First Mortgage (NE)
Mortgage Advice Bureau New Homes

North West
Fidenti Mortgages & Protection Ltd
Mortgage Planning Services
Money & Mortgages (UK) LPP

Northern Ireland
IQ&Co
SMART Mortgages
The Mortgage Shop N.I.

Scotland
Argyll Financial Services Ltd
Kyle Financial Limited
Malleny Mortgage Solutions

South Central
Charters Financial Services
One 77 Mortgages
Threshold Financial Services Ltd

South East
Forces Family Finance
JXP Consultancy
Mortgage Medics

South West & Wales
Ecclesiastical Financial Advisory Services
TFA – Trusted Financial Advice
The Mortgage Heroes

West Midlands
GIVE Mortgages ltd
Mortgage Bureau
SJ Financial Solutions

Yorkshire East Midlands
Believe Finance
Opal Mortgage Services
Mortgage 1st

Vida raises £20,000 for charity partner Crisis

Vida raises £20,000 for charity partner Crisis

Crisis is a national charity for people experiencing homelessness. 

The lender raised the funds by donating £29.06 for every application it received in December.  

Vida has pledged to raise at least £150,000 over three years for Crisis, and in October it held an alternative marathon which involved employees at all levels. 

The event consisted of various activities, such as a 2.6-mile sky dive and mixed marathon relay, and a half marathon walk completed by chief executive Anth Mooney and his dog Walter. 

Mooney said: “Christmas is a time for giving, and we’re thrilled to have raised over £20,000 in support of Crisis helping 650 homeless people. At Vida we believe no one should be forced into homelessness and we want to bring attention to such an important cause and make a difference.  

“I know I speak for everyone at Vida when I say we are delighted to be partnered with Crisis to assist the fantastic work they do to change people’s lives for the better.” 

Boost mortgage prisoner Christmas charity coffers post rate rise

Boost mortgage prisoner Christmas charity coffers post rate rise

 

 

The charity has called on closed mortgage lenders to stop passing the rise onto potentially vulnerable customers.

A spokesperson for UK Mortgage Prisoners said: “Closed, inactive mortgage books do not cost more to service today than they did yesterday and nor will they cost more to service tomorrow. It is not a commercial decision being made by these mortgage servicers but an unfair and immoral opportunity to profiteer further from people who are already vulnerable and living in poverty and yet UK Finance and the Financial Conduct Authority do nothing to help those affected most.”

She added it is immoral of the financial industry to push interest rates even higher for customers who are already sat on inflated interest rates of 4.38 per cent and above and remain unable to remortgage away from closed book deals.

The FCA’s mortgage prisoner review suggests roughly 195,000 borrowers remain on closed or inactive lender books, however, research from Hargreaves Lansdown out this month suggested that the real number of people trapped is likely to be closer to 100,000.

The Intermediary Mortgage Lender’s Association (IMLA) executive director Kate Davies said of the review the “wide variety of circumstances” suffered by mortgage prisoners means it is not straightforward for them to switch to a new deal.

She said: “We know from the findings that of the estimated 195,000 borrowers who have mortgages in closed books, there are many different types of cases. Some may be able to switch to a new product with the right support, but others either won’t be able to do so, or the benefits of switching would not be sufficient to justify doing so. Other borrowers’ finances may be in a poor state, in which case the regulator’s rules would not allow a new lender to approve a new deal for them.”

She added that whilst the FCA report provided great analysis of the issue it “does not push us closer to a solution” for these mortgage prisoners.

The charity as a whole supports the Home Ownership Protection Enterprise (HOPE), which provides a negotiation and support service between banks and their customers with the ultimate aim of preventing home repossessions.

Funds raised by the charity go towards a hardship fund for those in immediate danger of homelessness, offer access for families unable to make payments for heating or food or with mental health support.

Donate to the UK Mortgage Prisoner fund here – and here is a link for homeowners affected by the issues in this news story.

Enra and MT Finance raise £20,000 in Christmas charity match

Enra and MT Finance raise £20,000 in Christmas charity match

 

The seven-a-side game took place on Thursday 16 December with staff members from each lender. It was agreed that the losing team would split a £5,000 donation between each charity. 

However, the winning team decided to match the amount bringing the total donation from both lenders to £10,000. Additionally, a Just Giving page was set up to raise extra money and the total currently stands at £20,000. 

The match was won by Enra Finance with a score of 5-0. 

Danny Waters, CEO of Enra Specialist Finance, said: “As a business, we are committed to supporting a variety of charities through annual donations and fundraising activities. We decided it would be a good idea in the run up to Christmas to get together and enjoy some healthy competition in this football match while raising money for good causes. 

“Spread a Smile and Great Ormond Street Hospital are two fantastic charities that work closely together to help children and their families. It was a great match and people have been very generous in helping us raise an amazing amount of money so far.” 

Joshua Elash, director at MT Finance, added: “We are delighted to have had the opportunity to raise a phenomenal amount of money for two amazing charities which are close to our heart. 

“A huge thanks to Danny Waters and the Enra Group for the game and also credit to the marketing teams at both companies who managed to turn a Thursday night football game into a hugely successful charitable event. We are very proud to have participated and look forward to a rematch.” 

Nominations open for Natwest’s Local Hero Mortgage Awards

Nominations open for Natwest’s Local Hero Mortgage Awards

 

The lender said that it was “looking to identify and reward broker firms who are the adviser champions in their locality”.

Award categories are split into 13 local regions and shortlisted firms will compete against others in their locality.

Winning firms should show their position as local mortgage and protection experts, their commitment to quality advice, good customer outcomes and advocate for their local community.

The awards are open to firms of all sizes. Judges, who are from Natwest’s intermediary mortgage team, will assess nominations using the key areas of environment, inclusivity, wellbeing, charity and community.

From an environment perspective, firms will have to talk about how they are more environmentally conscious and contribute positive towards climate change.

Within the inclusivity bracket, firms should show programs or policies that encourage representation and participation of diverse groups across gender, race and ethnicity, ability and disability, religion, culture, age and sexual orientation.

In the wellbeing category companies should outline how they have shown flexibility and empathy with individual working patterns and customer needs over the last 12 months.

From a charity perspective, firms should demonstrate their support to charitable or social initiatives in their local community.

Within the community bracket, companies should show have they have supported or made a positive contribution to its local community, with supporting customer testimonials.

Luke Christodoulides (pictured), Natwest’s head of corporate accounts, said: “We are delighted to be hosting the Natwest Intermediary Solutions Local Hero Mortgage Awards again in March 2022. This is an event we’re proud of, as the principles of the scheme and the judging process mirror those set out in the purpose of the bank.

“We believe that this award scheme has set the benchmark for excellence to identify and reward those who have led by example and genuinely made a difference to their communities. Good luck in the 2022 Awards.”

Nominations open from today and close on 19 November. The awards will take place next year on 10 March at The Town Hall in Birmingham.

Vida runs ‘alternative marathon’ for Crisis charity

Vida runs ‘alternative marathon’ for Crisis charity

 

Vida’s employees at all levels will take part in a variety of activities, such as a 2.6-mile sky dive and a mixed marathon relay. Chief executive Anth Mooney will also walk his dog Walter in a half marathon. 

This is the second fundraising event the lender has arranged for Crisis since partnering last year. 

Vida pledged to donate at least £150,000 to Crisis over a three-year period. 

Mooney said the alternative marathon was inspired by the London Marathon, which the lender wanted to replicate in “some small way with a twist”. 

He added: “The aim was to bring people together after a tough 18 months in support of our charity partner Crisis in a way that is open to everyone regardless of interests, ability or location. 

“At Vida we believe no-one should be forced into homelessness. I’m grateful to all my colleagues who are taking part, or supporting, our first alternative marathon. I know I speak for everyone at Vida when I say we are delighted to be partnered with Crisis to assist the fantastic work they do to change people’s lives for the better.” 

Richard Lee, head of fundraising at Crisis, said: “We are so pleased to be working with Vida and support their efforts in raising vital funds with the alternative marathon.  

“The past year has been incredibly tough for everyone and having somewhere safe and secure to call home has never been more important. With Vida’s help, we can support people and help them find a path out of homelessness for good.” 

LSL Property Services launches two employee forums as part of ESG strategy

LSL Property Services launches two employee forums as part of ESG strategy

 

Both forums will be chaired and made up of employees from across the group, with the chair reporting directly to LSL group chief executive officer David Stewart. They will discuss relevant issues and aim to report their conclusions and make recommendations to group management.

The inclusion and diversity forum will consider a range of issues which impact employees from underrepresented and disadvantaged groups. Issues that it could potentially cover include LGBT+, disability, race and gender.

The communities forum will develop and improve how the group can enable colleague’s charitable, community and voluntary initiatives, and explore new opportunities for LSL.

The forums came about following employee feedback from LSL’s employee engagement forum, which aims to get employee perspectives considered in board discussions.

Stewart said: “Both [forums] will play a pivotal part in driving change within the business and, importantly, ensure that employee views and opinion are captured and can continue to be acted upon.

“We’ve been delighted with the response from colleagues so far and, with forum meetings already underway, the board are looking forward to hearing their views, opinions and ideas to help in shaping LSL for the future,” he added.

Mortgage Medics partners with homelessness charity Sussex Nightstop

Mortgage Medics partners with homelessness charity Sussex Nightstop

 

The partnership will be for an initial period of two years, with an aim to support the charity’s goal to tackle homelessness in the region through regular funding.

The firm will also help to raise the profile of the work Nightstop does to its clients and the general public.  

Sam Murphy (pictured), managing director of Mortgage Medics, said: “We’re thrilled to launch our partnership with Sussex Nightstop. They do such amazing work; helping young people and adults who are at risk of homelessness.   

Their efforts are focused on helping before people end up on the streets, which undoubtedly saves lives. We’re so proud to support their hardworking team of staff and volunteers.   

He added: “Our days are spent helping those fortunate enough to own property, so it was a natural fit to partner with Sussex Nightstop, to try and help people less fortunate with their housing needs.”  

Alison Marino, manager of Sussex Nightstop, said: “The ability of Sussex Nightstop to make a positive difference to the lives of people who face homelessness and rough sleeping is only made possible through support from the local community. We are delighted that Mortgage Medics have chosen us as their charity partners and have no doubt as to the positive impact it will have.  

We know that Nightstop works but, crucially, we can’t do it alone. Knowing that we have Mortgage Medics and their customers proactively championing and supporting us in our objectives is what makes it possible. 

Mortgage industry NHS fundraiser launched

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.

 

 

Mortgage Sleep Out returns for 2020

Mortgage Sleep Out returns for 2020

 

In November of that year, more than 500 people in the mortgage industry raised more than £110,000 for the charity End Youth Homelessness (EYH) by sleeping out across the UK.  

Maria Harris, then-director of retail mortgages at Atom Bank, and Rob Jupp, CEO of Brightstar, set up Mortgage Sleep Out after Jupp tweeted about homelessness and Harris replied calling for an event to raise awareness. 

Jupp’s tweet prompted other members of the mortgage industry to voice their interest in supporting the initiative. 

With 25 events spread across 20 different UK regions and 40 different companies taking part, #mortgagesleepout made it into the top 10 UK Twitter trends with 1.5 million impressions on 30 November – the day that most sleep out events took place. 

Prominent figures from across the industry also released the single ‘Take Me Home’, which was performed under the name MIC (Mortgage Industry Collective).  

 

Bigger goals

Details about the 2020 Mortgage Sleep Out will be announced on 20 March, along with information about some of the projects that benefitted from the funds raised in 2018. 

The organisers said the goal for this year’s event was to involve more people, raise more money and have a greater impact. 

Rob Jupp, CEO at Brightstar said: “Everyone who took part in Mortgage Sleep Out in 2018 made a tangible difference to the lives of young people who are struggling to find their feet. 

“This year we want to get more people involved so that we can help more people. As an industry, it is in our power to make this a very significant event and raise a lot of money for those less fortunate than ourselves.”  

Nick Connolly, managing director at End Youth Homelessness, added: “I’m so excited that Mortgage Sleep Out is returning in 2020 and promises to be even bigger and better. The 2018 event raised a phenomenal amount of money that was put to good use to help homeless young people across the country. Just imagine what we can achieve this year.”