Specialist lending boom set to continue: IMLA


Specialist mortgage lending was £17bn in 2016, up 240 per cent from lows of £5bn in 2009, according to the Intermediary Mortgage Lenders Association.

A new IMLA report says specialist lending has grown 19 per cent every year since 2009.

The trade body’s report says it seems ” specialist lenders are now in a position of strength following the market’s turbulent past”.

The report adds this growth since the financial crisis is largely due to specialist lenders serving markets that have had less and less attention from mainstream lenders.

This is due to tougher regulation brought in post-crash that reduced mainstream lender appetite for non-standard loans.


IMLA’s report suggests the outlook for specialist lenders is positive.

The firm says market and economic conditions mean demand from non-standard borrowers is set to stay high.

This is partly due to the rising influence of brokers. IMLA says more brokers analysing the whole market means smaller lenders getting a better chance of competing.

Unmet demand

IMLA also suggests there is “substantial” unmet demand for specialist lending.

The trade body notes specialist lending levels are far below those of the pre-financial crisis era.

It also points out that the number of UK self-employed people has risen to 4.8 million people in the UK.

Meanwhile the number of county court judgements issued against consumers in England and Wales has hit record highs.

Both of these factors may restrict consumers’ access to mainstream lending in the future.

IMLA executive director Peter Williams says: “Through innovation and flexibility, combined with strong underwriting standards, specialist lenders have capitalised on the growing demand for products like specialist residential and lifetime mortgages.”

He adds: “There is strong evidence to suggest that specialist lenders can now break the cycle that has defined the segment in the past.

“The range of borrowers who qualify for a mortgage on standard mainstream terms will remain restricted, and the mortgage market is also becoming increasingly intermediated.”



Opinion piece: Specialists offer more protection

Specialist providers lend responsibly and underwrite manually, putting their customers in a strong position for when rates rise Despite the turbulent political climate the mortgage market remains resilient and extremely competitive, with many lenders announcing attractive headline rates. Borrowers are taking advantage of these deals and we are seeing more and more people borrowing larger […]

Doug Hall

Specialist Watch: Changing times for the self-employed

Self-employed borrowers have more options than ever but brokers need to know which lenders are most sympathetic The self-employed sector has undergone a transformation in recent years. Not only are there 4.8 million self-employed people compared to 3.8 million in 2008 but today self-employment is preferred by many of those beginning their career. The self-employed […]


The Mortgage Lenders forms partnership with Crystal Specialist Finance

The Mortgage Lender has added Crystal Specialist Finance to its network of distribution partners. The specialist distributor offers residential and commercial mortgages, bridging loans, second charge loans and development finance. Crystal Specialist Finance head of operations Kris Corns says: “We’re delighted to form this partnership with The Mortgage Lender and become a distribution partner. “Our […]

Doug Hall

Specialist Watch: Simplification assists CCJ holders

With some lenders no longer specifying an acceptable CCJ value, borrowers are finding more products available to them Pepper Homeloans sales director Rob Barnard recently shared some interesting facts about CCJs. He pointed to Registry Trust figures showing there were more CCJs registered against consumers in England and Wales last year than for any other […]


News and expert analysis straight to your inbox

Sign up