Mortgage Business Exposed

Mortgage Business Exposed


Walking into Mortgage Business Expo this year you could have believed that we had stepped back in time three years or so to the good old days, where spending ludicrous sums on an exhibition stand was the norm.

However, past the foyer, and the extravagant Tiuta plc stand, the illusion crumbled. The poky venue, stark stands and no-frills layout laid bare the current state of the intermediary market.

This year’s change of venue from Earl’s Court to the smaller, scruffier Olympia 2 demonstrated how much the market has shrunk since last year – not to mention the reluctance of most companies to spend a sizeable chunk of their marketing budget on a two day event without a guaranteed return.

The show’s organiser divulged that next year’s MBE would most likely take place at Olympia 2 as well – a smaller, fuller venue always looks better than a vast, empty centre, after all.

The scaled back extravagance of the stands could also be seen as a mark of respect for the bashing the industry has taken over the past couple of years.

Most firms seemed to have wised up to the fact that you don’t need a monstrosity of a stand to portray success, or fancy plasma TV’s and flashing lights to showcase your product, just a dedicated team and determination to serve your market would suffice.

One commentator said his advice to those who decided to show off and flaunt their sheer disregard for the current austere times is, as the old saying goes, “size isn’t everything.”

Yet despite the stripped-down surroundings and noticeable lack of lenders, the show is far from being obsolete. Attending intermediaries were positive about business and saw the event as a great opportunity to meet industry players, as well as hear what the much-maligned FSA had to say for itself.

As for the bridging finance sector, although only a couple of firms exhibited, the main lenders’ BDM’s were aplenty and brokers seemed clued-up about how bridging deals could work for them.

Hedy-Anne Freedman, of Alternative Bridging Corporation, which exhibited at this year’s Expo, said: “We were pleasantly surprised by the broker turn-out this year – not necessarily in terms of numbers, but the quality of professionals that attended. The quality of leads has greatly improved from past years and there seems to be an increased demand for bridging finance. Now more sophisticated, complicated loans are required and brokers have a new, more informed, view of the sector.”

Alan Margolis of Cheval, a bridging lender which did not exhibit this year, added: “We remain to be convinced that the cost of exhibiting at Expo is money well spent and our marketing initiatives are currently focused elsewhere. That being said, I am sure that Cheval will return as an exhibitor at some point in the future.”

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