"We’ve done so much work at Pepper Money to dispel the myth that specialist lenders are harder to deal with than mainstream and I think this last 12 months has really shown that we’re not."
FR: Has Covid impacted the types of enquiries your team are receiving from brokers?
Yes – it’s added to them. I feel there’s still a need for every section of the range we had pre-Covid, and we still talk daily about cases with more recent adverse. The big area of growth is the enquiries from brokers who are new to specialist lending and customers who may have previously been mainstream, but now need the help of a specialist lender. As we start to emerge from the pandemic, there are those ‘near prime’ customers who may not necessarily have adverse credit but find themselves just not quite fitting the high street’s criteria or credit scoring model.
FR: What growth areas do you expect to see over the next year?
I think the specialist market will continue to grow, driven by more awareness and willingness to use lenders like ourselves. Whereas once upon a time we may have been seen as the place to go just for adverse credit, I think more intermediaries will see our benefit beyond this as we continue to move through 2021.
FR: What tips would you give to brokers who don’t have as much experience in the specialist market?
Don’t shy away! We’ve done so much work at Pepper Money to dispel the myth that specialist lenders are harder to deal with than mainstream and I think this last 12 months has really shown that we’re not. Don’t shy away from a more complex case because what’s complex to you is our everyday bread and butter. We’ll guide you through it – just pick up the phone.
FR: Why has service become such an important factor in the specialist market?
Service has never been so important for specialist lenders and I’m proud to say that our offering is second-to-none. Two things are important – speed and certainty. Very often, by the time a customer makes their way to a broker and is in need of a specialist lender, they’ve already approached the mainstream. They’re already under pressure in terms of time, especially in a purchase situation, and they need to know that it’s going to go through – they don’t have time for any more ‘maybes’ or the chain could fall through.
Both the broker and the lender need to provide both of those things – the certainty that they’re going down the right route for the customer, and the speed to get them back on track after being let down elsewhere.
FR: What advice would you give to brokers to get the most from their BDM?
If you have any time in your diary for a BDM visit (whether that be face to face or virtual currently), make time for the specialist lenders. These are the ones who will be able to provide you with true opportunities to grow your business. A good BDM will get to know your business and tailor the information they give you to your client bank and needs. They’re a true partner in helping you to service your customers if you let them, but the best way to get the most of them is to give them the time to get to know you.
FR: If you could see one headline about the mortgage sector in 2021, what would it be?
“Housing boom becomes the unexpected consequence of the pandemic”.