Know Your BDM: Pauline Rylands, West One Loans
What locations and how many advisers and broker firms do you cover in your role?
I currently cover the whole country and support our key partners and their teams.
How have you changed the way you establish and maintain a good relationship with brokers in the pandemic?
Like most people, lots of Teams meetings and telephone calls which I’ve pre-booked to make sure my brokers get the most out of our time together.
What personal talent/skill is most valuable in doing your job?
Being organised and able to adapt quickly. This job is like a moving target and whilst you have to be organised, you also need to be able to change plans swiftly at the drop of a hat to accommodate people and changes.
What personal talent/skill would you most like to improve on?
The ability to complete admin. I think this is an issue for most salespeople. I constantly put it to the bottom of my ‘to do’ pile and will find anything else possible to do to avoid actually doing the admin. The mad thing is that when I force myself to do it, it never takes as long as I think it will and it’s never as bad as I believe it will be.
Where would you rather be stuck, in bumper-to-bumper traffic or back-to-back Zoom calls?
A mix of both really. I’ve always got a list of things to do and use the time in the car – which can be many hours – to make the calls and catch up with people. Thank goodness for Siri. Zoom calls are great for keeping up to date with people more regularly than I might normally, due to the area I cover.
What’s the best bit of career-related advice you’ve ever been given?
“Be the best version of you that you can be” and “don’t ask others to do anything you wouldn’t do yourself”.
Both have served me well. The first has pushed me to always work hard and stay until the job is done. The second has helped me build great relationships and has promoted teamwork – when others can see you’re willing to do anything, they often naturally follow suit.
What is the most quirky/unique property deal you’ve been involved in?
A property that was originally a hotel and the clients wanted to convert it into their home. The plans were incredible and the house was huge. It had a full chef’s kitchen for entertaining as well as a family kitchen for every day. As you can imagine, it was very extravagant.
What was your lockdown coping strategy?
Box sets. I watched very little live TV as I found it quite depressing and to be honest, I’ve never gone back to it. Give me a good crime series and I’m hooked and will completely binge them. My family go nuts as very little gets done around the house as a result!
What was your motivation for choosing business development as a career?
I genuinely love helping people and solving issues along with doing something different every day. This job fulfils that all. I’m like the three-year-old child who constantly asks “why?”.
It drives people mad, but also breaks the “that’s the way we’ve always done it” mode. There’s always another way to look at things and if that helps my brokers and the business, I’m happy.
If you could do any other job in the property sector, what would it be and why?
Property development. I love a good project and designing or creating spaces for others to enjoy and admire. When I redecorate a room in my house, I rip everything out and normally start again with it, creating a modern space whilst respecting the age of the property – and I’m nosey.
What did you want to be growing up?
A police officer. That couldn’t be further from what I do now.
What’s your favourite face mask design/pattern to wear?
I have a paw print mask which I bought in support of a pet store. It makes people smile.
And finally, what’s the strangest question you’ve ever been asked?
Would you rather have fingers for toes or toes for fingers? I meet the weirdest people at times.
West One launches green buy-to-let mortgages
The initiative will see the lender fund projects which are sustainable and aim to reduce carbon emissions.
The green offering will be available on standard properties with an EPC rating of A to C.
It will be available at 65 and 70 per cent loan to value (LTV) with two and five-year fixed options. Rates begin from 3.04 per cent with a 1.25 per cent product fee. Loans sizes range between £50,000 up to £1.5m.
The range is not available on new-build properties but conversions are allowed.
Stephen Hogg, chief operating officer at West One Loans’ parent company Enra, said: “This campaign launch is about taking responsibility for the changes we can make to have a positive impact on sustainability and carbon reduction, within the property and housing markets.
“We know we cannot change the whole market alone, but we want to make a positive impact where we can.”
Andrew Ferguson, managing director of West One’s buy-to-let division, added: “It’s an important step in terms of bringing those properties into line with the standards required for a more sustainable and carbon neutral property market.
“We will continue to expand our product range in the coming months, whilst maintaining the same high standards of underwriting, customer service and reliable delivery that intermediaries and clients already enjoy from West One.”
West One Loans reduces rates and expands BTL offering
Changes include the launch of a 75 per cent loan to value (LTV) limited edition product, with a five-year fixed payrate, for loan sizes between £150,000 and £750,000. This is being added to the Standard W1 range.
The product will be priced at 3.19 per cent with a 1.5 per cent fee, restricted to three loans per applicant. It will not be available on new builds.
There is also a limited edition product for small homes in multiple occupancy (HMO) and multi-unit freehold block (MUFB) properties, also with a five-year fixed rate and £750,000 maximum loan size. This is being added to the Specialist W1 range and has a rate of 3.49 per cent with a two per cent fee.
As part of the changes, the Standard W1 product range is being re-priced with reductions of up to 20 basis points as well as fee reductions of 50 basis points on some of the five-year fixes.
Specialist W1 HMO/MUB product rates have also been reduced by up to 15 basis points with rates starting from 3.44 per cent with a 1.5 per cent fee.
The lender has also updated its holiday let and expat range. The five-year fixed short-term let product has been cut by 10 basis points to 4.09 per cent and the five-year fixed expat deal has been cut by 25 basis points to 3.84 per cent.
West One Loan has also made changes to its criteria, by raising the maximum LTV on its expat range from 70 per cent to 75 per cent. The same change has also been made to the short-term and holiday let product which is also available on MUFB properties.
The lender has withdrawn some products, such as the limited edition deal for small HMO and MUFB which was a five-year fixed rate product priced at 3.59 per cent. A limited edition standard five-year fixed rate deal with a rate of 3.14 per cent has also been pulled.
Andrew Ferguson (pictured), managing director for West One buy-to-let division, said: “We’re making these changes today in response to a busy buy-to-let market, where we’ve been able to expand our distribution this year and enable more brokers and clients to benefit from the strength of our proposition.
“Our continued focus on service delivery aligned with these rate changes mean we are well placed to support our broker partners and their landlord clients as we move towards the end of the year.”
West One Loans first half completions rise by almost a third to £485m
The lender said that key drivers of its performance were an increase in activity in the housing market, growing borrower demand as well as increased portfolio diversification by borrowers.
The lender also issued around £2.3bn in sets of terms in the first half of the year, up also by nearly a third compared to the same period last year.
West One Loans’ sales director Nick Jones (pictured) said that it was a strong period of growth for the lender and it expected the momentum to continue into the second half of the year.
He said that it was able to maximise opportunities from heightened demand in the market due to its high level of customer service, quality of the product and quick turnaround time.
He added: “Our long-standing and strong relationships with our broker and intermediary network have also been a key factor. When you’re working with quality partners day-in day-out, it makes the whole process more efficient and helps bring down the turnaround times to industry-leading levels.
“It also demonstrates the strength of the bridging finance sector right now, as increasingly people are looking to specialist lenders to achieve their property-owning aspirations.”
West One Loans added to Tenet Group panel
The lender will give Tenet’s brokers access to its BTL products and its end-to-end service.
The products include its standard range up to 80 per cent loan to value (LTV) with rates starting at 3.94 per cent as well as its homes in multiple occupancy (HMO) and multi-unit block (MUB) offering with rates beginning at 3.49 per cent.
It also includes a limited editions five-year fixed rate at 3.14 per cent in its standard range, as well as as it holiday let and ex-pat product ranges.
Andrew Ferguson (pictured), managing director of West One Loans’ buy-to-let division, said: “This is good news for Tenet’s brokers as they will now have access to our comprehensive range of buy-to-let products.”
Ben Wright, director of strategic development at Tenet, added: “We’re excited to be adding West One’s buy-to-let expertise to our panel and believe that their specialist range of products will help our advisers give great advice to those with more bespoke requirements.”
West One Loans ups development finance loan limit to £15m
According to the lender the product enhancement will offer small and medium-sized house-builders “fast, competitive and reliable” financing solutions.
West One Loans development finance head, Guy Murray, said: “As we’ve grown our development finance business over the past three years, the developers we’ve lent to have also expanded their businesses and moved from smaller to larger projects.
“We made these changes to ensure we continue offering competitive products to our customers, so they don’t need to find an alternative solution in financing larger development sites.”
West One Loans can now offer loans between £1m and £15m, with lending at 65 per cent loan to gross development value and 85 per cent loan to cost.
Financing is also available for residential led schemes, 100 per cent build costs and developers must have completed a minimum of two projects to be eligible.
West One Loans hires former Together exec as sales director
In his role he will work on the sales and distribution strategy for the lender’s bridging and development proposition and manage and expand its sales team.
Jones (pictured) was most recently commercial director at Roma Finance for just under a year and before that he worked at Together Loans for around 15 years where he worked in several senior sales roles.
Enra Specialist Finance chief executive Danny Waters said: “I have known Nick for a very long time, he has an amazing track record within our industry and I am delighted to welcome him to our team.
“Our business has seen very impressive results already this year and we have exciting plans ahead, I am confident Nick is the right person to power the next phase of our growth,” he added.
West One Loans secured a £250m JP Morgan investment for its buy-to-let (BTL) lending, building on its West One Loans’ residential mortgage-backed securitisation of its buy-to-let and second charge loans in November.
Video: Second charge mortgages can boost Bank of Mum and Dad lending power – West One Loans
Speaking on Specialist Lending Solutions Television, the lender’s managing director of second charges, Marie Grundy said there were “opportunities,” for second charge mortgages to support family-assisted borrowing.
Grundy said: “It may be for borrowers who have savings, but don’t necessarily want to use all of those to donate to family members. Or to give them a larger deposit so they can access lower LTV lending in the first charge market.
“That’s why we brought out specific criteria to support that borrowing.”
In May, the lender upped its second charge lending limit from 80 per cent loan to value (LTV) to 85 per cent. West One Loans reduced rates and the minimum loan size. It also widened the criteria to borrowers from any profession and to allow annual bonuses.
“It’s becoming more and more popular over time and hopefully other lenders will follow suit and second charges will be recognised as a really ideal way of accessing that type of borrowing,” Grundy added.
Watch the fourth and final part of the video series [7:07] below, hosted by editor of Mortgage Solutions, Victoria Hartley.
Video: More developers and landlords holding on to buy-to-let assets – West One Loans
Appearing on Specialist Lending Solutions Television, Andrew Ferguson, managing director – buy-to-let, at West One Loans, said when it came to bridging loans, there was “a growing demand from developers and landlords looking to exit rather than necessarily sell units.
“They’re looking to hold some units themselves.”
When they do sell, developers were disposing of fewer properties than initially intended. Instead, they opt to grow their buy-to-let rental portfolio and stay in the sector, Ferguson added.
He said this was a trend the lender had noticed over the last 12 months.
Watch the third part of the video series [6:56] below, hosted by editor of Mortgage Solutions, Victoria Hartley.
West One Loans increases second charge LTV limit and amends criteria
The Apex 1 offering is for borrowers whose credit score is less than perfect or for those with historical credit issues.
Rates have also been reduced, including a two-year fix up to 85 per cent LTV. This has been cut from 5.85 per cent to 5.25 per cent and no longer has early repayment charges (ERCs).
Five-year fixes have also been cut and now start from 5.35 per cent, previously 6.19 per cent with ERCs or 5.85 per cent, down from 6.49 per cent without ERCs.
To align with the easing of coronavirus restrictions, West One now accepts applications from borrowers from all employment sectors as long as they are not currently on furlough.
Annual bonuses will be also considered for employed borrowers including non-key workers.
In addition, the minimum property value for borrowers living in ex-council houses has been reduced from £150,000 to £100,000, up to 75 per cent LTV.
Marie Grundy (pictured), managing director, second charges at West One Loans, said: “Since the start of 2021 we have seen strong demand for our second charge mortgage products with borrowers taking advantage of record low interest rates.
“Increasingly, we are seeing greater diversity both in terms of loan purpose and the profile of borrowers benefitting from second charge finance. For example, more higher value loans are being taken out for home improvements by people with property valued above £1m.”
“At West One we are constantly looking at ways to improve our product offering to ensure we are reaching a broad range of borrowing needs. This latest set of changes support that ethos,” she added.