What a first year!

Buster Tolfree – Commercial Director – Mortgages

2016 was United Trust Bank’s first full year in the Second Charge Loan market and the progress we’ve made in a very short time has been staggering, even if I do say so myself! The Mortgages team has grown from a small group of three to a team of sixteen, our lending volumes have exceeded what we already thought were stretching targets and the response from the mortgage broker community to our products and service has been overwhelmingly positive. We thought long and hard about the approach we’d take to our pricing strategy and lending criteria. We wanted to ensure that we added true value to our introducers by widening the product solutions available to their customers, rather than just simply entering the market with very low rates to get an initial foothold. The loans we have completed have performed very strongly, and we are confident that we have a fantastic operational and IT base on which to begin launching new mortgage products in the future.

[color_quote]For me though, our biggest achievement of 2016 was the way we handled the transition of MCD. The feedback we received from our introducers was all positive, with their experience being a seamless IT transition complimented by clear communication and good on-site training.[/color_quote] As a result MCD provided a springboard allowing us to really show what UTB are capable of within the specialist mortgage market, far quicker than we otherwise could have. Some other lenders did not necessarily enjoy the ease of transition that we did and whilst I had a few sleepless nights in the lead up, the Mortgage team and everyone at the Bank did a superb job. It was MCD when our business really got into top gear and we’ve not looked back since. I’d like to thank the twenty or so carefully chosen Master Brokers we work with for supporting our new venture and I’d particularly like to thank the even smaller band which helped us through our pilot phase. I know from personal experience that it takes a leap of faith to take your business to somewhere new and untested and we still really appreciate the help we received in taking UTB Mortgages from an idea to a reality.

One of the advantages of growing the team is that it’s given Jigar Patel, our Key Accounts Manager, time to get out and meet the people who place cases with us. He’s had some great feedback on his visits to Master Brokers like Loans Warehouse and Ocean Finance where he talks advisers through our proposition and provides onsite underwriting support. Sometimes introducers are surprised at the broad range of cases we will accept. Not only because we’re less worried about credit scoring than many of our competitors, but also because we’ll lend on many different types of properties from traditional build to concrete and timber framed construction. Jig also really enjoyed meeting many new brokers at the recent Specialist Lending Roadshows in the Midlands and the South West. The Bank is keen to develop its range of lending products and the whole Business Development team enjoyed engaging with brokers from across the UK.

I’m delighted that in 2016 Jo Edwards joined the UTB family. Jo’s track record at Nemo is outstanding and with her knowledge and experience she’s making a big impact on the Mortgage & Bridging team and more widely across the Bank.

Finally, at the end of last year we won a Personal Finance Award for Best Second Charge Mortgage Lender and last week we won the award for Best Newcomer at the Loan Talk Awards. We also learned recently that we’ve been shortlisted in the Mortgage Strategy Awards for Best Secured Loan Lender. [pull_quote]We’ll be keeping our fingers crossed for that one but whether we win or lose, we know we’ve had an extraordinary first year.[/pull_quote]