In The Spotlight with Sakeeb Zaman, StrideUp

We spoke to Sakeeb Zaman, CEO and co-founder of StrideUp, about the lender's launch into the residential mortgage market, its ethical and inclusive ‘home purchase plan’ product, and how StrideUp is supporting the trend of family assistance in buying a home.

Related topics:  In The Spotlight,  Mortgages
Rozi Jones | Editor, Barcadia Media Limited
10th November 2023
In The Spotlight
"Our plans include strengthening our relationships with mortgage brokers to ensure that they have the necessary tools and support to help their clients achieve their homeownership dreams."

FR: StrideUp is a new entrant in the residential mortgage market – can you give us some background about yourselves?

StrideUp is a dynamic and innovative newcomer in the residential mortgage market offering a fresh perspective on homeownership solutions. Founded with an unwavering commitment to empowering a new generation of homeowners through accessible and flexible home finance solutions, we are revolutionising how individuals access property ownership.

Our journey commenced with generating a deep appreciation of the challenges aspiring homeowners encounter in today's landscape. StrideUp swiftly identified the need for a more inclusive and adaptable approach to home finance. Our core mission is to empower a diverse range of individuals and families to fulfil their homeownership aspirations, especially those who may not fit the mould of traditional lending criteria.

Two things really set us apart – our inclusive product design and our flexible underwriting approach. We take pride in assessing each case on its individual merits and we have market-leading criteria for a diverse group underserved by mainstream lenders, for example, foreign nationals, those seeking support from family and friends for deposits, self-employed applicants and contractors.

FR: You say StrideUp is an inclusive lender. How is that so?

StrideUp’s product is designed as an ethical and inclusive ‘home purchase plan’. This design achieves property ownership in the same way, and with the same payments as a normal mortgage, but it’s a product that’s recognised as suitable for people of Muslim faith. There’s almost 4 million Muslims in the UK, and StrideUp offers a competitive product for them to become homeowners without compromising their faith.

We think about inclusivity across all parts of our business. We are committed to transparency, fairness, and maintaining a customer-centric ethos that drives us to deliver adaptable solutions tailored to meet the unique needs of our customers. Our overarching vision is to make a profoundly positive and transformative impact on the residential mortgage market, ensuring that the homeownership journey is within reach for the majority, not the minority.

FR: Legal & General recently rebranded 'Bank of Mum and Dad' to 'Bank of Family'. How does StrideUp support this trend of family assistance in buying a home?

We strongly support the evolving trend of family assistance in the home buying process, aligned with the more inclusive 'Bank of Family' concept championed by Legal & General. We recognise that purchasing a home can be a daunting financial endeavour, especially for first-time buyers and those facing affordability challenges. As part of our commitment to redefining the path to homeownership, we actively embrace the role of extended family and friends in providing crucial support.

Unlike some lenders that limit their acceptance of gifted deposits to parents only, or immediate family members, StrideUp takes a more inclusive stance. We welcome contributions from a broader circle, including grandparents, aunts, uncles, and close friends, recognising that many aspiring homeowners rely on support from this extended network. This approach acknowledges the changing dynamics of family assistance in today's property landscape and ensures that more individuals can access the financial backing they need to embark on their homeownership journey.

By supporting this trend of family assistance and extending our acceptance of contributions to a wider array of individuals, we actively contribute to making homeownership more accessible and achievable for a broader spectrum of aspiring homeowners, regardless of their family structure or financial circumstances.

FR: In the last year, cost of living challenges along with rising interest rates have made affordability harder for many trying to get onto the housing ladder, is this an area that StrideUp is seeking to address and if so, how?

As a business we are acutely aware of the growing challenges related to the cost of living and rising interest rates, and we are committed to addressing these issues. Our approach revolves around providing flexible and inclusive home finance solutions that adapt to the evolving economic landscape.

More and more people are now suffering from rising rental costs as landlords are forced to put up prices due to inflation and higher interest rates. Whilst many people could save money by moving from rental to ownership, they are unable to do so with the way some mainstream lenders look at affordability tests.

StrideUp considers each case on its individual merits. We’re able to offer enhanced affordability products to certain customers, for example, we can include non-standard income sources that other lenders would disregard, and where clients can afford it, we can offer up to 6 times income multiple.

We’ve also enhanced our product range to include longer term fixes with low ERCs. This gives clients the ability to lock-in lower payments and provides certainty – the combination of which means affordability can be maximised in these cases.

FR: As we head towards 2024, can you share any plans that StrideUp has in the coming year and how do brokers register, submit DIPs and applications with you?

As we look ahead to 2024, we are excited to embark on a journey focused on expanding our reach and providing even more accessible homeownership solutions to a broader audience through mortgage clubs and networks. Our plans include strengthening our relationships with mortgage brokers to ensure that they have the necessary tools and support to help their clients achieve their homeownership dreams.

Brokers can easily register with us through our dedicated and user-friendly online portal where they can access essential resources and stay updated on our latest offerings. When it comes to DIP submissions and applications, our digital platform simplifies the process, allowing brokers to submit applications swiftly and efficiently. Regardless as to whether the intermediary advises the client or they refer them to StrideUp to us to provide the advice, we will pay a procuration fee for all completed cases.

Our commitment to providing a dedicated point of contact for each case ensures that brokers receive personalised support and assistance throughout the application journey. As we move forward, we aim to enhance this broker-centric approach, collaborating closely with brokers to tailor our services to their needs and providing innovative solutions that empower them to better serve the needs of their clients. StrideUp's vision for 2024 and beyond is rooted in making the path to homeownership as seamless and accessible as possible for both mortgage intermediaries and their clients.

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