As sales director at OSB, what plans do you have in place for the new year and how do you intend to prepare for Britain’s exit from the EU?
The recent combination between OSB and Charter Court Financial Services (CCFS) brings together the complementary strengths of both organisations. We’ll be looking to take advantage of a more resilient and diversified funding platform that we can deploy in growth opportunities.
OneSavings Bank only lends in the UK, so we’re not directly exposed to the EU withdrawal. However, you could argue the entire economy seems to be suffering a general malaise because of it and that has obvious knock-on effects for the housing market. Despite this, our lending and retail savings franchises continue to perform very well, we have a strong balance sheet with sensible LTVs and affordability testing, and our strong capital position continues to give us confidence in our business going forward.
It’s definitely going to be an exciting year ahead, but in terms of the combination for brokers, its very much business as usual as we’ll be maintaining a multi-brand model that’s committed to the intermediary market. We’ll be very much focused on becoming the biggest specialist lender in the UK.
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Do you believe there is currently a gap in the market in terms of the number of brokers dealing with commercial finance?
I’d always encourage brokers to embrace the opportunities that commercial or any specialist mortgages provide — don’t be afraid of them. There’s real potential within the specialist space for brokers to prove the value of the advice and service they can give to their clients in a mortgage market that is becoming ever more complex.
I would recommend that brokers focus on providing a quality product to their clients by really getting to know how a specialist lender’s criteria suits their needs. All they have to do is speak to their BDMs.
Even if brokers don’t feel confident advising on complex mortgage cases, I would urge them not to pass up on the client, but give us a call instead. At OSB, we are known for being able to rationalise very complex deals across buy-to-let, bridging and commercial and we work hard to get the best deal for the client over the line.
How do you believe the commercial finance sector could be both improved and adapted?
I don’t know of any market that cannot benefit from improvement or innovation. It’s the only way to keep moving forward to meet the needs of an ever changing market. Brokers are at the frontline, so the more they engage with us, the better the outcomes for everyone.
Could you see the specialist sector taking a larger share of the lending market over the next five years?
I think the market is certainly becoming more complex and specialist lenders are in a prime position to cater for its needs, such as credit impairment. Anything to give people help getting on the property ladder, such as shared ownership, will be key. I also think lending to older borrowers is a market that has potential for growth.
If rates stay at historically low levels, then you can’t look beyond fixed products. Even though remortgage activity has hit a high level, I still think there is plenty for brokers to go after if they are proactive enough.
How did you get into the industry?
Well, interestingly, it all happened by accident. I had a rather large credit card bill to pay after a summer of working in Tenerife.
Here I am, after 21 years of working with intermediaries, and I’m still enjoying the challenges, though, thankfully, I’ve learnt how to live within my means!
If you didn’t work in finance, what would you be doing?
Well, anyone who knows me would say I must have been involved in horse racing in a former life, as it’s my absolute passion and nothing beats a day at the races for me.