Broker Focus is a regular Mortgage Strategy article that aims to amplify the voices of intermediaries up and down the country.
Profiling a different mortgage broker every week, the column asks a mix of light-hearted and professional questions about the individual, their firm and their take on the mortgage market.
This week it’s the turn of Sam Murphy at Mortgage Medics.
Tell me about your firm in three sentences.
At Mortgage Medics we are independent, whole of market advisers, offering advice on mortgages, equity release and protection. We’re 10 years old this year and like most good firms our success is built on recommendations and word of mouth. We try not to take ourselves too seriously and last year we all got dressed up and danced our way through the Brighton Pride community parade on board an open top bus.
What is your headcount?
We’re nine at the moment – seven advisers including me, along with Emma and Lucy our wonderful case managers.
Where are you based?
We’ve got three offices, Brighton, Hove and Woking.
What led you to become a mortgage broker?
I’ve always genuinely enjoyed working with numbers. At 18 I was a bit fed up with academia and university didn’t appeal, so I took a job as a cashier for the Woolwich in Horsham, passed my CeMAP at 19 and set up Mortgage Medics along with Jon when I was 23.
What are the best parts of your job?
We see a lot of people frustrated with going around the banks themselves, receiving poor service and hitting dead ends. Taking clients under our wing, finding a solution and guiding them into home ownership never gets boring. We’ve taken people from tiny bachelor flats to big family houses in the countryside in the last decade – the paperwork might not be thrilling, but helping people achieve their dreams definitely is.
What are your plans for your firms future?
We’re fortunate to have been flat out for the last couple of years as we’ve gradually grown in numbers. I think we’ll need to grow by another one or two in the next year or two – and that’ll probably mean new premises too; so a bit of a headache but a nice problem to have.
What annoys you about the mortgage market?
I think the de-skilling of front line staff is a real frustration. We often wait on hold for ages only to end up with someone not suitably knowledgeable. The quality of firms instructed by lenders to provide their ‘free legals’ is also a real headache at the moment.
And what is the best thing about it?
There are some really exciting innovations happening now or on the horizon. If we could verify every client’s identity, income and property value remotely we’d save a lot of work. Apart from that I think the rounds of regulation since the last recession has generally been very well thought out and the resultant responsible lending will hopefully result in a more stable property market for the future.
What one thing would improve brokers’ working lives the most?
I think the use of technology to streamline processes and communication has to be where the biggest time savings can be made.
What is the best day you’ve ever had, and why?
I can’t honestly say that any day in the office has been better than when I married my partner Darren four years ago. Don’t get me wrong, I love mortgages, but not that much.
Which person, alive or dead, would you most like to have a drink with?
I’d have to say Freddie Mercury – I loved Queen’s music as a kid and he died when I was very young. I’d ask him how accurate the dramatisations of his life have been and if he’d have changed anything.
Which teams do you support, and why?
My first team is Charlton Athletic, thanks to my dad. They’re in a pretty bad way at the moment and I won’t be going back to the Valley until the ownership changes. We’ve got season tickets at Brighton & Hove Albion through the business – it’s been fantastic the last couple of years and we’re already fighting over the tickets for the Albion’s first season in the Premier League.
Finally, what do you most like to read in Mortgage Strategy?
Apart from Broker Focus you mean? I think MS is great at providing a voice for advisers and a critique of what’s going on in the market. So often we just get new regulations and compliance bulletins thrust upon us, it’s enlightening to know how others feel in an industry where we perhaps don’t talk to our peers as much as we should.
If you would like your firm to be featured in Broker Focus, please email Mortgage Strategy deputy editor Sam Barker at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 02079704425.