Mortgage lending activity may be creeping up across the board as bank and borrower confidence returns to the market but the impetus that new lending entrants can add to this momentum should not be underestimated.
Fresh faces on the lending scene not only give brokers – and subsequently their clients – more product choice, but they also force existing players to raise their game and create a healthy sense of competition.
That’s why it was great to see Investec launch a new brand for professional borrowers recently.
Individuals earning a comfortable salary but not quite troubling the high net-worth ranks are often overlooked in the rush to court the remortgage market, or first-time buyers and other types of borrowers, so it is good to see a lender servicing a niche that have at times struggled to obtain mortgage finance in recent years.
With many specialist lenders disappearing from the market as the global financial crisis took hold, it is good to see institutions returning to fill the gaps.
Another encouraging development about the Investec launch is the fact that it is both intermediary-only and through a controlled distribution panel, including ourselves.
The first element shows the import still placed on brokers and the fact that it is a select group proves the emphasis on quality that I have spoken at length about.
Lenders have long realised that a handful of high-calibre applications are better than a vast number of average ones and they are increasingly seeking out network partners that can give them this guaranteed quality distribution rather than sifting through it themselves.
Hopefully Investec’s lead – and that of the likes of Metro Bank – can be followed by a flurry of other new lending entrants and then things will really start to warm up.