UTB and Paragon make development finance hires

UTB and Paragon make development finance hires


Ejikeme (pictured) joins from Oaknorth Bank where he worked as a senior manager of property development, while at UTB his role will involve supporting housebuilders and developers in the South and East of England. 

He has nearly 15 years experience in property finance and has previously worked at Lloyds Bank and Secure Trust Bank.  

Ejikeme will be based in London and work with UTB property development director Phil Kirkwood.  

He will be primarily responsible for promoting the lender’s development finance offering to SME house builders, developers and property investors.  

Adam Bovingdonsenior director of property development at United Trust Bank, said: “We’re continuing to expand the property development team by recruiting experienced property finance professionals with the skills and drive to support SME developers and housebuilders across the country.  

Achi brings with him nearly 15 years of experience working with a wide range of customers on a variety of development projects and most importantly he shares our passion for delivering outstanding customer service. He is a valuable addition to the UTB team. 


Paragon adds relationship director 

Paragon Bank has hired Toby Burgess as a relationship director to its development finance team. 

He will be based in the London office and work with SME developers across England and Wales, focussing on originating loans secured on residential projects. 

Burgess has experience in financial services and property finance and he joins from Wellesley Finance where he was lending manager. Prior to that, he worked at GFI Group.  

Burgess said: “I am delighted to be joining Paragon’s development finance team. I am looking forward to helping Paragon to continue to grow its development finance business as well as working with a variety of creative and hard-working developers and housebuilders.” 

Robert Orr, development finance managing director at Paragon Bankadded: “Bringing somebody in with Toby’s expertise and experience will help us to continue supporting our current and new to bank clients, while growing our loan book. 

“We have remained active throughout this challenging period when other lenders have retrenched and, looking forward, we are confident in the prospects for the market.

The demand for new housing looks like it will remain strong into the future and smaller developers want to work with a bank that is consistent, is financially strong and has the experience and expertise to support their business, he added. 


UTB brings maximum lending up to 80 per cent LTV

UTB brings maximum lending up to 80 per cent LTV


Its first charge residential products are available for purchase and remortgage with a maximum loan size of £500,000.  

There are two, three and five-year fixes with rates starting from 4.3 per cent and the maximum loan to income is 4.5. The primary income allowed must be from those in full time employment and clients need to be in their current role for a minimum of 12 months. 

The second charge loan is up to 80 per cent LTV with a maximum loan size of £250,000. It is available on two, three and five-year fixed terms with rates beginning from 5.95 per cent.  

United Trust Bank has also launched a near prime residential product up to 75 per cent LTV for purchase, remortgage, interest-only and unencumbered borrowers. 

The maximum loan size is £500,000 dependent on the mortgage plan. 

Defaults and county court judgments will be ignored if they are over a year old, as will unsecured credit commitments if they are being consolidated. 

Buster Tolfree (pictured), commercial director – mortgages, United Trust Bank, said: “Throughout this year we have released a wide range of new products, criteria and digital enhancements to help mortgage brokers write more business whilst still dealing with the challenges presented by Covid-19. 

“The feedback we received has been overwhelmingly positive and many brokers also suggested that a small increase in our maximum LTVs would give them additional opportunities.  

Although uncertainty surrounding the pandemic continues, UTB has decided to back brokers and their customers in these challenging times.  

We believe that the best way to get through this crisis is to work together, supporting brokers wherever possible, he added.

UTB refinances £34m development in Cornwall

UTB refinances £34m development in Cornwall


The project is being undertaken by Acorn Property Group and the loan will settle the original funding while £4m will be used to complete internal construction works. 

The apartments are situated near Gyllyngvase Beach and range in price from £325,000 for a one-bedroom apartment to £1.6m for a three-bedroom duplex penthouse apartment. 

The development is expected to be completed by January 2021. 

Melanie Omirougroup managing director and funding director of Acorn Property Group, said: “We enjoy working with Jonathan and United Trust Bank and value the strong relationship we’ve established over the years.

“UTB understand property and our needs as borrowers and when we were looking to refinance the development, Jonathan was the first person I called.  

Despite the additional challenges and uncertainty presented by the Covid-19 restrictions, UTB came back to us with a quick decision and swiftly arranged to settle the existing finance and pay out what we needed to complete the scheme.” 

Jonathan Nail, director – property development at United Trust Bank, added: “Having financed several of their successful developments over recent years we were very happy to step in when they decided to refinance The Liner and are delighted that UTB will be on board for the completion of this prestigious development.” 


Paragon and UTB fund residential developments – round-up

Paragon and UTB fund residential developments – round-up


Paragon Bank 

Paragon Bank has provided a £1.6m development finance loan to Hockley Developments to convert a care home into 26 residential properties. 

Millbeck House in Nottingham, will comprise of one and two-bedroom properties with and is expected to be completed in May 2021 with Helto Buy available and 10 year new build warranties on completion. 

Alan Forsyth, managing director at Hockley Developments, said: “From the first phone call with the team at Paragon, I felt the service provided was right for us at Hockley Developments. The team has been very efficient and straightforward to deal with and has always been available when required.   

“The team has always been quick to meet us on site and understand our business; we felt valued as a client very quickly. We have enjoyed working with Paragon and will hopefully continue to do so as we look to grow over the next five years.” 

Anil Sehmi, Paragon’s Midlands-based regional relationship director, added: “It is great to be able to support with funding for this scheme as it aims to bring more much needed housing to the East Midlands, particularly suited to first-time buyers with the availability of the Help to Buy scheme. 

“Over the past few months, it has been our priority to support both new-to-bank and existing clients, so we are looking forward to hopefully continuing our relationship with Hockley Developments.”  


United Trust Bank 

United Trust Bank (UTB) has agreed to fund £4.6m to a development of houses and bungalows near Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire.  

The project, which will cost £7.6m in total, is situated in the Newton Longville village and part of a joint venture between James Taylor Homes and Housing Growth Partnership (HGP). 

This scheme will be made up of 17 three and four-bedroom houses and bungalows. 

Philip Kirkwood, property development director at United Trust Bank, said: “SME housebuilders play a vital role in tackling the UK’s housing shortage and UTB is keen to provide the funding to keep them building, despite the economic uncertainty presented by Covid-19 and Brexit.  

As such I’m delighted that we’re supporting this joint venture between James Taylor Homes and Housing Growth Partnership. 

He added: “It’s particularly pleasing that we were able to progress and complete this facility in the midst of the pandemic with all the additional challenges this has brought to all of our businesses.” 


United Trust Bank launches interest-only residential range

United Trust Bank launches interest-only residential range


The range is available up to 75 per cent loan to value (LTV) or 70 per cent LTV for downsizing and affordability will be based on the interest-only monthly repayment. 

Two- and five-year fixed rates are available with no early repayment option and multiple repayment vehicles will be accepted. 

There is no minimum credit score for the products. UTB will also be flexible towards different property construction types. 

Buster Tolfree (pictured), commercial director – mortgages at United Trust Bank, said: “Within this interest-only residential mortgage product range, we believe we’ve created a compelling offer for those borrowers who may not fit the strict tick-box approach of many mainstream lenders. 

“Our common sense underwriting approach, pragmatic and rounded way of assessing borrower profiles and their security properties has made UTB an increasingly popular choice amongst specialist mortgage intermediaries and given additional options to those who may have found their choice of lenders somewhat restricted of late. 


Loans Warehouse launches into regulated bridging

Loans Warehouse launches into regulated bridging


It comes as part of the firm’s expansion, which has seen it move from a primarily second charge specialist into other sectors including unregulated bridging.

The broker said the ability to operate in the regulated bridging market would allow it to further increase its product range.

Loans Warehouse co-founder Matt Tristram (pictured) said: “As a business, we have been diversifying our offering over the past few years as we look to build on our core proposition whilst meeting increased consumer demand for other products.

“We’ve made no secret of our intention to secure regulated bridging authorisation, having spoken about it since the start of 2019, and the time provided by lockdown and the resulting slowdown in lending has allowed us to meet that goal.

“We’ve moved into several new sectors over the past 18 months and the move into regulated bridging is just another example of our commitment to our customers and the industry during this difficult time.”


Bridging recovery

Despite bridging volumes falling by more than half in the second quarter of 2020 and by 45 per cent over the first half of 2020, as reported by the MTF index last week, Tristram said the market was showing positive signs of recovery already.

“Lockdown and the restrictions on physical valuations especially made the market almost impossible to lend for all but a handful of lenders but with house prices and demand remaining strong as we enter Q3 we are already seeing much stronger results,” he continued.

“Throughout this time one of the most prominent lenders and supporters of the broker market has been United Trust Bank.

“We’re delighted to announce them as the first addition to our regulated bridging panel,” he added.

UTB commercial director for bridging Gavin Diamond said: “Loans Warehouse has built an excellent reputation as leading introducers in the secured loans and unregulated bridging market and I’m delighted that we’re now able to be the first to work with them directly on regulated bridging too.

“They’ve been one of the most proactive brokers during the pandemic, which has strengthened our relationship even further.

“We look forward to working closely with them to provide quick, competitive, and flexible regulated bridging solutions.”



UTB and Freedom Finance finalise offer using messenger app

UTB and Freedom Finance finalise offer using messenger app


The system eliminates the need for email and post as it allows brokers and lenders to digitally transfer and share customer documents and evidence such as biometric ID results, E-signed agreements, payslips and bank statements. 

The instant messenger service also allows information to be exchanged immediately and shared with the customer throughout the course of a loan application. 

The B2B Digital Messenger App was developed as a result of Nivo’s recently formed Second Charge Lenders Technology Steering Committee of which United Trust Bank, Freedom Finance and other second charge lenders and brokers are participants. 

Buster Tolfree, commercial director – mortgages at United Trust Bank, said: It is important for UTB and the second charge industry that we continue to create quicker, smarter and more secure means of processing applications and delivering great customer outcomes. 

Josh Bowe, head of digital operations at Freedom Finance, added: “We are delighted to partner with United Trust Bank on this initiative.  

We have already built a very strong partnership with UTB, but this innovative process further enhances our relationship as it enables faster and smoother underwriting across both businesses while improving our customers’ experience. 


UTB unveils dedicated contractor criteria and near prime second charge deal

UTB unveils dedicated contractor criteria and near prime second charge deal


It has also added a webchat facility to support broker queries and clarified case packaging guidelines.

The specific professional contractor mortgage criteria applies to those working in industries such as IT, healthcare, business management and other sectors where six, 12, and 18-month contracts are common.

Previously these were included within self-employed criteria but UTB said it expects this move will give brokers more clarity when advising professional contractors.

A minimum 12-month contract history with at least one renewal is required, along with 24 months in a similar role and if less than three months remain on the current contract, evidence of a renewal must be provided and signed by both parties.

Gross annual income will now be calculated at the day rate, times five days, times 48 weeks.

The latest three months’ bank statements, plus other documents depending on the source of income, will be required for proof of income.

The criteria is available across all existing residential mortgage and second charge plans.


Second charge

UTB’s limited edition near prime second charge product is for customers with historic unsecured missed payments providing that the debts concerned are consolidated in the new loan.

The lender is removing all caps on the adverse unsecured credit available on its second charge, one and two status products.

“We will now ignore the payment profile on all unsecured credit items entirely, providing they are being consolidated with our loan, a reasonable explanation is received during the underwriting process, and there is no recent pay day loans,” the lender said.

The status two product, which allows the greatest credit forbearance, will permit two mortgage arrears in the last 12 months with a maximum of two outstanding, and two defaults or county court judgements in the last year with no maximum number more than a year ago, providing the total is less than £15,000.



The webchat facility has gone live on the broker portal.

This will allow any registered mortgage brokers to submit new enquiries to the bank online in real-time with immediate access to mandated underwriters.

The system also enables brokers to discuss existing cases and supply information to UTB which would usually be passed by phone or email.


Packaging process

The lender has urged brokers to separate documents when scanning them for underwriting, especially given many of its staff continue working from home.

However, where this is not possible it is urging brokers to scan documents in three groups – customer documents including the application, income documents, and property documents.

Sales director for property intermediaries Mike Walters (pictured) said the changes were part of the UTB’s summer-long programme.

“The increase of our maximum loan to value for self-employed applicants certainly caused a stir in the marketplace and we’re hoping that these latest criteria and technology enhancements will be equally well received,” he said.

“Our aim is to help our broker partners write more business and make it easier for them to process applications with UTB.”

He added: “Brokers are vital to the growth and success of the specialist mortgage market and we will do all we can to support them as they try to turn around a very challenging year.”


UTB appoints pair as Hope Capital begins recruitment drive

UTB appoints pair as Hope Capital begins recruitment drive


Hardeep Thandi (pictured) is joining the lender as director of property development UTB.

He was previously with Aldermore and has more than 14 years of property development, commercial and corporate banking experience.

He will be predominantly responsible for promoting the development finance offering to SME house builders, developers, property investors and specialist introducers across the Midlands, Yorkshire, Humber and the North East.

Thandi will work closely with Huw Jenkins who is based in the North West and between them they will cover the North of England, the lender said.

Martin Nield is also joining as a manager and will be based in London supporting senior managers Phil Bird and Rob Syrett in servicing their existing client base and growing their development finance portfolio.

He has come through the NACFB apprenticeship scheme and has experience in lender and broker roles.

UTB senior director – property development Adam Bovingdon said the lender had increased its presence in the North of England and London where it saw considerable potential.

“Hardeep and Martin bring experience and enthusiasm to the team and they share our commitment to supporting SME house builders and developers,” he said.

“The Covid-19 pandemic has changed the UK’s economic landscape, but housing remains a key issue with hundreds of thousands of new homes needed each year to meet existing demand.

“SME house builders can have a significant part to play in the delivery of those new homes and we are keen to provide the funding to enable them to seize opportunities and keep building,” he added.


Hope Capital hiring

Meanwhile, Hope Capital has announced it is recruiting for roles across the business as it expects a post-lockdown growth in enquiries to continue.

Among the roles it will be recruiting for are business development managers, underwriters and portfolio case managers.

The lender added that it also expects to appoint more internal sales and administrative support staff to back up the growth in external-facing roles.

It said it was anticipating further growth as new funding lines became available and this will enable it to offer a wider range of loans to a more diverse customer base.

Gary Bailey, managing director of Hope Capital, said the lender had bounced back strongly from the Covid-19 lockdown, with a surge in enquiries.

“We are confident this sustainable growth strategy is set to continue,” Bailey said, “ and we are now looking to bring more high-calibre people into the team”.


UTB reintroduces additional income consideration as part of support package

UTB reintroduces additional income consideration as part of support package


The move is part of its series of product, criteria and technology enhancements which will be unveiled during the summer.

It began last week by increasing the maximum loan to value (LTV) available to self-employed applicants from 65 per cent to 75 per cent on its entire range of residential first and second charge mortgage products.

This latest move includes half of all regular income including bonus, overtime and commission payments providing the additional income has been consistent over the lockdown period and previously.

It also applies to all residential mortgage and second charge products but existing restrictions continue to apply for those working within the travel, leisure and entertainment industries.

For guaranteed income such as basic or car allowance the latest two months’ payslips are required.

For regular income such as bonus, overtime and commission, the latest three months’ payslips and latest P60 showing sustainability of income over the period including during lockdown are needed..


Further changes coming

UTB will regularly announce additional elements of the Broker Summer Support Package campaign from now until September.

Buster Tolfree, commercial director for mortgages, (pictured) said it had been a difficult year for brokers and lenders.

“We want to help our broker and business partners by implementing a number of positive changes which will increase the range of options available to their clients as well as make it easier for brokers to process applications with UTB,” he said.

“We will be expanding our proposition and giving brokers greater choice while still lending responsibly.

“UTB has continued to lend throughout the pandemic and we understand the vital role brokers play in the specialist mortgage market.”

He added that by developing the range it could “help brokers place more cases, help more customers and rebuild their businesses.”