A specialist role for networks

The past couple of years have proved to be a rollercoaster for many people. Everyone has had their own unique experiences over this period. We have all reacted in different ways and had to deal with a set of circumstances beyond our control as best we could. Inevitably, some people, some businesses and some sectors were fortunate enough to deal with these challenges better than others.

From a mortgage market perspective, we have been blessed by operating in a market which has – after an initially scary few weeks – gone from strength to strength, although that’s not to say we haven’t faced our own fair share of challenges and shifting dynamics in terms of adapting to the impact on people’s lives and incomes during this period.

In a time when additional support and innovation was required to provide flexible solutions to meet a changing world, we saw the specialist lending market really come of age and blur the boundaries between mainstream and what was previously deemed as specialist. The fallout from the pandemic and rising living costs will continue to play a significant role across the mortgage market. meaning that the reliance on specialist lenders will remain strong

The perception of specialist lenders also continues to evolve. Research from Butterfield Mortgages recently found that over half of UK homeowners (54%) would consider opting for a specialist lender in their mortgage search, even if they had not come across the provider before. The survey also found that 32% used a broker to find their current mortgage, making it the most common method of sourcing a loan. This was followed by respondents relying on their existing bank (24%) or getting a new product from a previous mortgage provider (21%). In addition, 62% of mortgage customers in the UK felt brokers can find products that would not otherwise be available to them. A further 60% believe that working with intermediaries makes the application process easier.

These figures are interesting ones as they highlight insights as well as some misconceptions. Breaking these down, the 32% seems low and needs to be improved, although it does demonstrate the potential for brokers to grow their business. This is also evident in the figure of 62% who already feel like brokers can find products that would not otherwise be available to them. When maximising the benefits of the specialist markets, we know this figure should be much closer to 100%. Again, this demonstrates a key area of opportunity for brokers who are adept in the specialist market and can successfully convey this message to an array of clients. And for the 40% who thought it was easier to deal directly with a lender, well, I’m a little baffled but I will bite my tongue on this.

From a network standpoint, our role is to consistently foster good relationships with a strong and diverse panel of lenders – including specialist lenders – to ensure that our advisers and their clients can access the types of solutions which can make a real difference for a range of borrowers And this is a role which is evolving in line with ever-changing market and economic influences which are likely to generate even greater demand across the specialist lending markets over the course of Q2 and beyond.

Steve Swyny, Commercial Director at F4B Network