"Brokers need to understand what extra documents they need upfront, so that they can improve efficiency and avoid any delays."
FR: As sales and marketing director at Bluestone, what does your role involve and what does a typical day look like?
The best part about my role at Bluestone is that there is no ‘typical day’ - my schedule changes from day to day, week to week. My days can consist of anything from product development and leading on distribution strategies, to designing case studies for our marketing outreach. One constant, though, is working closely with different colleagues and teams to help Bluestone provide a growing number of underserved borrowers with access to lending, which I find extremely rewarding.
FR: Bluestone recently announced several new appointments and internal promotions. Do you have plans to expand the team further and how will this support Bluestone’s wider growth?
People all over the country have found themselves in financial difficulty due to the coronavirus pandemic. As a result, more and more customers are turning to specialist lenders as they realise that they no longer fit the strict criteria of the high street banks. Recruitment is pivotal in managing this rise in demand, which is why we are placing a great focus on growing the Bluestone team to keep up with this growing market. In the last nine months alone, we have massively expanded our sales and marketing team to better support our business and intermediary partners, and we expect this to continue for the remainder of 2021 and beyond. In fact, our sales and lending team has grown by 70% since September 2020.
FR: What has been your biggest achievement since joining Bluestone in 2016?
I’ve been at Bluestone for five years now and have been lucky enough to see progression in my personal career as the company has grown. My personal achievements aside, what I am most proud of is being able to support my team and push them forward for internal promotions. It’s so rewarding to give back to employees who have worked so hard for the company, and ensure they get the recognition they deserve.
FR: What will be the key trends you expect to see in the specialist lending market over the next year? How will these feed into Bluestone’s growth and development?
The specialist lending market will see significant growth over the next year and beyond due to the financial impact of Covid-19. While the pandemic has in many cases improved people’s financial positions, it has also left a great number of individuals worse off than they were before, and it’s lenders like Bluestone who will be vital in supporting these borrowers with affordable financial solutions in the future. This includes customers with historic credit difficulties, those who are self-employed, and contractors – many of whom will have been disproportionately impacted by Covid-19.
As a complex credit mortgage lender, we will continue to evolve with the growing demand in the market to ensure we offer solutions that fit borrowers’ specific circumstances and help them get back on track financially. For instance, we’ve recently refreshed our credit policy to support self-employed borrowers impacted by the crisis. As part of this, we will now assess whether self-employed applicants have returned to their pre-pandemic earnings when determining their eligibility for a loan.
FR: We’re hearing a lot of talk about the demand for specialist lending increasing post-pandemic. What advice would you give to brokers to help them deal with this expected increase in demand?
With so many borrowers requiring the support of specialist lenders, my advice for brokers would be to educate themselves on the advice process when dealing with non-standard clients. Brokers need to understand what extra documents they need upfront, so that they can improve efficiency and avoid any delays. Good communication with the business development manager is also a must, since they can help guide brokers through the process and help them package cases correctly.
Furthermore, many lenders in the specialist market offer educational CPD videos, webinars, and guides on various areas such as how to read credit reports and how to package complex cases, which can be an enormous help throughout the advice process. It’s important for brokers to utilise resources like these to help them prepare for the expected rise in demand.
FR: If you could see one headline in 2021, what would it be?
‘European borders are now fully open!’