The Growth Series

What Did the Intermediary Market Learn in 2021?

The continuing pandemic has posed many challenges for the mortgage intermediary industry, but many firms in the sector are looking back on 2021 with pride and satisfaction.

So what have they learnt this year and what do they expect to see in 2022? 

Well, the end of the Stamp Duty holiday looks set to have a big impact on consumer demand over the next 12 months, and at the same time, the sector will seek to adapt its processes in line with what clients and employees demand and expect.


Health and Wellbeing Matters

Richard Howes, Director - Paradigm Mortgage Services

For Richard, 2021 has been a year in which he realised that your health, both physical and mental, your wellbeing and your loved ones come above all else.

“Sometimes it’s okay to not be at your very best and you need to take care of yourself,” he said. 

Richard also realised that his mindset can make a big difference to how he approaches his work.

“Another thing I learned in 2021 is saying ‘I get to’ instead of ‘I have to’. This is the idea of saying ‘I get to do x, y, and z’ instead of ‘I have to do x, y and z’. 

With a new role in the mortgage market, Richard more than understands the vital role brokers play in the market. Their resilience in the face of the adversity, since the beginning of the pandemic, is to be applauded. Ensuring a record number of transactions this year be congratulated   

As far as the future is concerned, Richard is optimistic for 2022, even if there is a slight dip in volumes. People recognise the value of advice more and more which should give the whole industry confidence to maximise the opportunities next year will provide.

Mortgage Market Surprisingly Strong

Kevin Roberts, Director - Legal & General Mortgage Club 

Kevin was surprised by the strength of the market this year.

“While there were operational challenges faced by us all immediately after the crisis hit, collectively, we worked to deliver for our customers,” he said.

“We should all take massive pride in how we managed 2021 and delivered for everyone needing mortgage advice, especially those wishing to press ahead with their buying and selling plans ahead of the Stamp Duty deadline in September.”

Kevin believes the market will remain strong in 2022, around 10% higher than in 2019, and is focused on refining processes to help provide the best service possible and aims to go greener. 

“This will help to ensure customers remain on competitive deals and ensure the mortgage market is set up for success over the next few years,” he explained. 

“It is important that we listen to and align with our future customers. They will demand an advice industry that reflects them and the world they want to live in. This will include demanding a mortgage journey supported by tech they recognise, an industry visibly supporting the climate agenda and also one that reflects them as a diverse community. It is going to be an exciting year.”


Face-to-Face Contact is Valuable

Lisa Martin, Development Director - TMA Club 

One of the most valuable experiences of 2021 for Lisa was returning to face-to-face contact.

“We have such great people in our industry, all working together, to do the best to support our customers,” she commented.

Lisa believes gross lending will be about 10% down next year, albeit there will be heightened opportunities for intermediaries seeking out their end of product term customers for either re-mortgages, product transfers, or broader financial advice needs.

Mortgage rates will rise in 2022, and there is no better time for intermediaries to support and provide solutions to support their customers

She added that businesses will be stepping up their focus on diversity and inclusion, together with environmental, social and corporate governance in the New year, with firms reflecting and improving adoptions into their workplaces.


Brokers in Strong Position to Build Customer Base

Vikki Jefferies, Proposition Director - Primis

Vikki has described 2021 as “the most unbelievable year”, as her firm saw record results in many areas.

“The business volumes, Stamp Duty deadlines and general COVID management factors have provided plenty of ups and downs, but as an industry we should be really proud of what we have achieved,” she said.

Vikki is confident of a strong market with plenty of maturities opportunity in 2022, and believes brokers are in for a “fantastic” year.

This, she said, is because a surge in five-year deals is coming to an end and two-year product transfer business from 2020 is coming up too. 

“Brokers are in a strong position to not only maximise their existing customer base, but to provide advice to customers who will undoubtedly need the guidance of a professional adviser,” Vikki continued.

She added that she’s really looking forward to getting back to face-to-face events, as she’s really missed seeing her brokers.

“Hopefully 2022 will feel like the new normal, back out on the road,” Vikki said.


Hybrid Working is the Future

Jackie Ashmore, Mortgage Proposition Manager - QUILTER

Jackie believes 2021 has been an incredibly busy and rewarding year for the mortgage industry, despite the continued impact of Covid-19.

“As the Stamp Duty holiday has now come to an end, it’s likely that we are going to see a drop-off in buyer demand,” she said.

“However, house prices remain strong and the changes to people’s tastes when it comes to housing stock continue to drive the race for space.”

As far as the future is concerned, Jackie thinks that the housing market will deflate over the coming months, as people are no longer “seduced” by the promise of the Stamp Duty holiday.

“Likewise, an interest rate hike is heavily touted, which will start to make mortgage deals less attractive,” she stated.

“All that being said, predictions of any significant house market crash look unlikely unless the new Omicron variant causes significant issues which require further draconian measures.”

Jackie went on to predict that the mortgage industry will continue to embrace hybrid working.

She noted that while the hybrid approach has brought both positives and negatives for the sector, it has enabled people to have a better work-life balance “while still being able to excel in the mortgage industry”.

Jackie added that the industry is also likely to focus more heavily on becoming more diverse and attracting a wider range of talent.

“Our financial adviser school continues to train new mortgage and protection advisers, as well as wealth advisers, but more needs to be done,” she said. 

“Together, we need to ensure that we publicise what a fantastic industry this is to work within so that the new guard of advisers are attracted to it.”


Technology to Transform Mortgage Market

Jeremy Duncombe, managing director - Accord Mortgages

Jeremy describes 2021 as a year in which “we delivered so much to support brokers and their clients, with service and propositions to be proud of”.

“Our investment in technology at Accord, and the industry’s progression with tech as a whole though, stands out for me,” he said.

But Jeremy believes the industry is now at a “tipping point”, with technology set to drive more innovation in the market over the coming year.

“Lenders and sourcing systems have invested in making it easier for brokers to do business, but I hope next year we see even more adoption, as advisers realise time and cost efficiencies,” he commented.

“The value of advice will be so relevant in 2022 and complex cases will become the norm. As an industry, it’s a challenge we’ll rise to as we always do, and for us, our approach to common-sense lending as we navigate the continued uncertainties and changing borrower circumstances will be needed more than ever.”

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