Specialist lending: more than just an alternative

“Packaging partners and technology will continue to play a huge role in bridging an important gap – pun intended – for intermediary firms to bolster their specialist business volumes” Neal Jannels

Our background as a broker and as a packager has always led us to be heavily ingrained in the world of specialist lending. Our quest to better service these markets was also one of the key reasons behind the original OMS concept, and our ever-growing number of integrations and affiliations mean we that we work alongside a plethora of lenders across the specialist sectors to offer quicker and simpler access to a variety of alternative solutions.

Now I’ve just typed the word alternative but I’m slightly regretting my choice of word as, especially in the current lending environment, this feels a little dated. This choice may have come about after one long weekend too many but I’ve decided to keep this  in as the devil on my other shoulder says there are advisers out there who think that second charge, bridging, complex buy-to-let and even some specialist residential products still represent an alternative solution.

Which leads to the question – is there such a thing as an alternative solution in the current market or should everything simply be classed as a solution?

It may well be the case that the world alternative is referenced by those advisers who may not have as much knowledge of a certain sector when compared to another. Therefore, it’s an alternative area to them rather than a product type which may be deemed as staple of their advice process and I completely get this. It’s almost impossible to be an expert on all areas in what is an incredibly multifaceted industry.

However, with a growing number of borrowers experiencing additional financial pressure on household budgets, income and affordability, it’s likely that more advisers will need to be active in the specialist markets to meet the ever-changing needs of potential buyers, existing homeowners, the self-employed, contractors, landlords and SMEs.

When it comes to business levels over the next 12 months, it’s great to see that a strong number of mortgage advisers remain positive. According to new research from Pepper Money conducted amongst more than 500 brokers, 41% of respondents envisage their business volumes increasing, 26% think business volumes will stay the same, and only 33% expect their business volumes to reduce in the next 12 months.

The research also added that nearly 10% of brokers think their business volumes will increase noticeably in the next year. This is despite the fact that 61% of brokers think property prices will decrease over the next 12 months as the continued cost-of-living crisis and uncertain economic environment impact the property market.

As highlighted in the commentary around this data, any forward-thinking business has the ability to thrive even in a challenging macro-environment and, while overall lending volumes may fall in the next 12 months, the cost-of-living crisis means the number of clients with specialist circumstances is highly likely to grow.

Which means that packaging partners and technology will continue to play a huge role in bridging an important gap – pun intended – for intermediary firms to bolster their specialist business volumes, with a range of innovative and responsible property-related solutions becoming far more than just an alternative.

Neal Jannels, Managing Director of One Mortgage System (OMS)

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