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Market needs a Kauto-style comeback

What the mortgage market needs right now is its own Kauto Star. Kauto Star won this month’s 2009 Cheltenham Gold Cup, seeing off stablemate Denman by 13 lengths to become the first horse to regain National Hunt’s blue-riband race after coming first past the post in 2007.

Of course back then we were still some six months away from the start of the credit crunch and some eight months away from interbank lending grinding to a halt.

The differences between then and now are stark indeed. But if Kauto Star can make horse racing history what chance has the mortgage market got of a comeback? steely resolve of chancellor Alistair Darling, after a preliminary meeting ahead of next month’s summit, when the group of 20 advanced and emerging countries meet in London they will “take whatever action is necessary until growth is restored”.

Good news then for the global economy. And back in the UK mortgage market there is certainly enough willingness to do something to help restore it.

Mortgage firms have already begun to see opportunity in adversity. Those that were just mortgage brokers in 2007 have completely revamped their offering to barely include mortgages at all, looking instead to offer more generic financial advice, from estate planning and insurance to currency exchange and employee benefits.

Mortgage clubs like PMS are placing the emphasis on protection and savings as well as mortgages. Meanwhile, would-be lenders such as Checkmate Mortgages and Exact are biding their time, focussing instead on other areas such as due diligence and asset relocation – areas that should, for the time being, comfortably keep them waiting in the stalls for when the starters’ orders eventually come.

Elsewhere, while the market awaits the much talked about return, others are seizing the opportunity to get into the starting line-up.

Just last week Mortgage Strategy reported on Stuart Parfitt, managing director of London-based Business Link Lending, who’s been trying to get pension funds to start lending directly into the commercial market. And last month this magazine was the first to tell you about the former directors of 5D Finance who are trying to secure funding for their new venture, Blueprint Lending.

This week we reveal details of a soon to be launched new lender backed by two serial entrepreneurs with funding lines already in place from “a reliable lending pool”.

Times are indeed tough and these latter lending operations may only turn out to be small beer in the grand scheme of things.

But all of the above prove that the entrepreneurial nature, the very lifeblood of the mortgage market, is as strong and alive as ever.

There may or may not be a Kauto Star among them and there are plenty of hurdles to overcome. But if Kauto can do it, then maybe, just maybe, the mortgage market can too.


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