So, this week Mortgage Solutions is asking: Could a potential unemployment crisis present an opportunity for the mortgage industry to promote itself as a suitable career path, especially as it’s currently thriving?
Siobhan Holbrook, founder of Mortgage Light
The property market has remained buoyant in otherwise tough economic circumstances, not least because of the various measures rolled out by government.
We all know these schemes have helped homebuyers, but a thriving residential market also supports the thousands of people working in the industry – and creates employment opportunities for those looking to build a career.
To become a mortgage broker, you don’t need to have a university degree to obtain the required qualifications, which is appealing to many people who in an uncertain economy might be eager to get into the workplace and avoid costly tuition fees.
Mortgage brokerage is as much about your individual and soft skills as it is your academic background.
At Mortgage Light, we’re most interested in how our new recruits connect with people – their clients and their colleagues.
Many of our team have a background in estate agency; the mix of property knowledge, sales experience and a personable approach lends itself very well to mortgage consultancy.
However, anyone who knows how to build a rapport with customers and deliver a personal service – whether your background is hairdressing or car sales – will often have some of the skills required to be a good mortgage broker.
First and foremost, our brokers should be able to listen and understand the needs of our customers. A ‘here to help’ mentality is a crucial part of our ethos.
The understanding of the technical aspects of the products will follow and be built on through a dedicated and comprehensive training programme designed to ensure that whatever our customer’s circumstances, we will find them the best possible mortgage option possible for them.
Chris Hall, head of operations at Mortgage Guardian
Few sectors have been spared the impact of Covid-19 with retail and hospitality sectors being hit the hardest, as well as the wider economy.
In comparison, the mortgage industry has not only got off lightly but seems to be thriving.
I spoke with John Somerville, head of professional education for the London Institute of Banking and Finance. According to him the mortgage market has been bolstered by the stamp duty holiday, and that has reflected in the numbers of people wanting to take on mortgage advice qualifications.
As Britain continues to plunge into the deepest recession on record, the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) confirms we are also witnessing the highest level of unemployment in the last five years.
Whilst job losses are unfortunate, there are real opportunities within the mortgage industry for people willing to reinvent themselves by qualifying for a new career.
Generally, people with sales, customer service and administration experience have traditionally had a smoother transition into advising roles.
We have taken in quite a lot of people from the retail and hospitality industry who have these common core skills and recognise the need to adapt in order to survive. Younger people bringing in digital skills is on the up as they naturally understand mobile trends.
However, another concern is our industry reaching saturation point.
Whilst our preference has been to work with advisers with previous experience, we have developed into supporting newly qualified mortgage advisers with interesting backgrounds.
The newly qualified benefit from low start-up costs and a comprehensive training process to help them become successful mortgage advisers.
All they need is come to us CeMAP qualified and we will do the rest.
Martin Wade, director of Access Equity Release
The mortgage industry offers huge opportunity for those looking for alternative careers in the wake of Covid-19.
Arguably the biggest change has been an acceptance of alternative methods of advice delivery. Historically this has largely been delivered face-to-face, either from an office or in clients’ homes, often involving much travel and evening appointments.
These working practices have not suited everyone and those with a requirement for greater ties to home have often found the work incompatible with home life.
With more widespread acceptance of remote advice by advisers and clients, these barriers no longer exist.
While not the most exciting or glamorous career, it does offer great opportunity and is very rewarding helping people sort their finances.
With both employed and self-employed routes, office hours to fully flexible hours, basic salaries to uncapped commission, the rewards can be very good.
Initial barriers to entry are relatively low, even if you go on to gain the equity release qualification. There are plenty of learning channels available for those wanting to harness the opportunity and embark upon a new stage in life.
Like all jobs, entry and qualifications do not mean you are the finished product. Experience counts a lot, placement and knowledge of the lenders can all be learned, eventually.
The key for a successful career move is being people orientated, a desire to help and an ability to build rapport and trust. What sets us apart from the competition is good old fashioned customer service.