Lender interviews

Meet Peter. He’s the Chief Executive Officer of The Mortgage Lender

The Mortgage Lender – a specialist lender you won’t find on the high street.

Q1. A lot of people haven’t heard of The Mortgage Lender. Can you give us an introduction and background to what you are doing?

The Mortgage Lender is a specialist residential and buy-to-let lender. We launched in 2016 after our founder, Trevor Pothecary, saw a gap in the market for mortgage criteria and products that cater for borrowers who don’t fit ‘high-street’ lending criteria. That’s why we’re affiliated with Haysto!

Since then we’ve grown our team from 30 to more than 150. Buy-to-let and residential assets we’ve originated have been securitised, and we’ve built a reputation for realistic underwriting with intermediaries, which led to consecutive months of record lending throughout 2020.

At the beginning of this year we were acquired by Shawbrook Bank. This has provided us with an additional route to market for their property division, but we’ve been able to retain our brand and the personality that makes us stand out.

Q2. Why are you able to help, when the high-street banks won’t?

That’s our purpose! We provide ‘real life’ lending criteria that supports borrowers the High Street doesn’t want to lend to.

Q3. Why do customers have to use a specialist broker to access your mortgages?

Most of our customers have complicated financial circumstances. We believe it’s in their best interests to get professional advice from a specialist mortgage broker to access the right product for their situation before making such a big financial commitment. If you’ve got bad credit, are self-employed or have complex situation Haysto’s one of the best platforms for getting access to these specialist brokers.

Q4. Why should customers use a specialist lender like The Mortgage Lender?

The mortgage market in the UK is very competitive and every lender offers something slightly different in terms of their criteria, fees and rates – the mortgage broker’s job is to find the best lender to meet the customer needs. If we’re the lender offering the best deal for their situation, then they should use us.

Q5. How does your underwriting process differ from the high-street banks?

We don’t use a tick box approach to underwriting – that works when your model is to lend within strict criteria with a narrow appetite for risk – it doesn’t work for people who have complicated circumstances, credit issues or a buy-to-let portfolio.

We’re really proud of our underwriters and the process. Advisers can speak to an underwriter before they submit the case and then it’s assessed by a skilled team member. A decision is then made on the merits of the case – not on whether we can fit the borrower into a predefined box. We like to find a way to say YES, rather than looking for a reason to say no.

Q6. There's a misconception that people with adverse credit will default on their mortgage payments - how does The Mortgage Lender address this misconception?

We look at each case individually and will lend to people with adverse credit. There are many reasons someone might have a blip on their credit history from tenants who haven’t paid utility bills through to divorce. 

As long as their current case stacks up and the mortgage is affordable based on their current situation we’ll consider it. We feel it’s important the market caters for these borrowers because it helps people stay in their homes and repair their credit history.

Q7. What impact has Covid had / do you foresee having on the specialist mortgage market?

Covid has impacted many borrowers’ finances. This means that as a sector, the specialist mortgage market is going to have to go further down the credit curve to meet their needs while their finances recover.

Q8. What types of cases are you seeing more of at the moment?

We’re seeing a lot of cases that don’t quite meet the high-street lenders’ criteria, as well as customers who’ve suffered recent credit issues because of the pandemic.

Q8. What do you think will be the greatest areas of innovation for the specialist mortgage market in the near future?

There is a move towards greater digitisation for broker sourcing systems and lender integration making the process better for brokers and customers. Currently the broker has to complete a ‘fact find’, use the sourcing system to find the best mortgage for their customer then re-key the information into the lenders system. With greater integration there will be one source of information and an automated process to provide the lender with the information they need to underwrite the case. This will speed up the process.

Q9. What is your personal focus for the next 12-18 months? 

It’s twofold - to ensure we implement a safe hybrid working model for our team; and build out our new target operating model so it’s fit for a digitised world. We want to have a single view of the customer, an improved customer experience, and five star service.

Q10. What changes do you hope to implement in the industry?

I think we all have a duty to embed sustainability into everything we do. For us that means implementing a robust Environmental, Social and Government framework. For our customers it means looking after those who have been adversely impacted by the pandemic.

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