Comment: Santander deal opens up equity release

Andrea Rozario 2015
We’ve been saying it for years – the big boys are coming!

However, big powerhouse lenders have not yet fully appeared from over the horizon. For a number of years, well-known high street lenders have flirted with the idea of joining the equity release market, but most have instead allowed other, perhaps braver, lenders to test the water first.

However, now that Santander recently announced they will be writing to their customers to advise them that equity release could be a solution to their interest-only issue, we could finally see more renowned names joining this ever-growing, ever-improving marketplace. Clearly, lenders are taking notice of the equity release industry, and hopefully others will begin to make serious moves to enter.

Santander’s five-year deal, in partnership with Legal & General Home Finance, will see the bank offer customers over the age of 60 who are struggling to pay off their mortgage, or perhaps simply want a more comfortable retirement, the option of releasing equity in their home via a lifetime mortgage.

This move is hardly surprising when you consider that the lifetime mortgage shows no signs of slowing its growth. £934m was released in the first half of 2016, and we may well be on for another record breaking year – as we smash through the £2bn barrier for the first time.

This deal represents one of the first significant connections between the equity release market and the mainstream mortgage market, and I believe it will be the first of many. It has been rumoured that Santander has been tossing the idea around for some time without fully squeezing the trigger – but now they have and we should all welcome this move with open arms.

What’s more, in these uncertain post-Brexit times, it’s even more significant that a big name like Santander is willing to press on with highlighting retirement solutions. The equity release industry is growing, and this move from such a renowned lender shows that the lifetime mortgage will continue to be a serious player in years to come.