Sally Laker, managing director of Mortgage Intelligence, picked up the prestigious Mortgage Strategist of the Year award at last night's Mortgage Strategy Awards 2004 - the mortgage industry's equivalent of the Oscars.
Laker is the first female to win the accolade and faced stiff competition from the likes of John Malone at Premier Mortgage Services, Richard Coulson at Zurich Mortgage Network and Kevin Paterson of Park Row Independent Mortgages.
Laker says: “I'm absolutely delighted to have won this award - a true reflection of the great team we have in place at Mortgage Intelligence.”
Other awards given out at the glittering ceremony held at London's Grosvenor House Hotel included Specialist Lender of the Year which went to Platform; Mortgage Lender of the Year which was Royal Bank of Scotland; Mortgage Packager of the Year which went to Advantage Mortgage Services and Mortgage Distributor of the Year which was Pink Home Loans.
Ray Boulger, senior technical manager at Charcol, received the Mortgage Strategy Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition of his long and distinguished service to the mortgage community.
Boulger, 59, says: “This award is a lovely surprise and I appreciate such recognition from Mortgage Strategy. However, I do hope this is not a nice way of telling me my time is up! The repayment term on my mortgage commentary has quite a few years to go yet.”
Northern Rock has won the Mortgage Strategy Lifetime Lender of the Year award for the second year in a row.
The Rock took the lion's share of the votes in the category, coming in ahead of Mortgage Express, Portman and Norwich Union.
The One account secured Lifestyle Mortgage Lender of the Year, again for the second year running, beating Intelligent Finance, Standard Life Bank and Northern Rock to the title.
BM Solutions also held on to the accolade of Self-cert Lender of the Year, this year fending off strong competition from Mortgage Express, The Mortgage Works and GMAC-RFC.
The award for Sub-prime Lender of the Year went to GMAC-RFC with last year's winner BM Solutions trailing behind with GE Consumer Finance (First National / igroup) and Platform.
And Mortgage Express enjoyed a triple whammy picking up the Buy-to-Let Lender of the Year award for the third year in a row. Other lenders in the running to take the title included BM Solutions, the Paragon Group and The Mortgage Works.
The Bradford & Bingley Group scooped the gong for Best Overall Mortgage Broker at the Mortgage Strategy Awards 2004.
The group, which includes Charcol and The MarketPlace, received the highest number of votes from lenders who saw it as offering the best service to them and to consumers.
Other contenders in the prestigious category included Robert Clifford's mortgageforce, Kevin Paterson's Park Row Independent Mortgages and Peter Brodnicki's Mortgage Advice Bureau.
The gong for Best Mortgage Broker in London went to Savills Private Finance while Best Regional Mortgage Broker outside London went to London & Country, based in Bath.
Landlord Mortgages won Best Buy-to-let Mortgage Broker while Flower Independent Financial Services was voted Best Broker in terms of Professional Development.
MoneyQuest was again Best Broker for use of Technology having won the category in 2002, and London-based Square Mile Mortgage Finance was named Best Small Mortgage Broker.
The award for Best Mortgage Broker, Specialist Lending - a category that encompasses equity release, self-cert and sub-prime, went to Key Retirement Solutions. Contenders included TMO's Mortgage & Loan Group, The Black & White Mortgage Company and Mortgage Talk.
Rob Clifford, managing director of mortgageforce, won the Mortgage Broker Personality of the Year title. Clifford beat David Hollingworth from London & Country, Simon Tyler from Chase de Vere Mortgage Management and Charcol's Ray Boulger.
Stephen Knight, executive chairman at GMAC Residential Funding, secured Mortgage Lender Personality of the Year ahead of BM Solutions' Michael Bolton, Mortgages PLC's Peter Beaumont and The One Account's Louis Kaszczak.