Maeve Ward, Director of Business Operations for Central/Mercantile Trust, wants you to know that she is passionate about her job, especially when it comes to advocating for second mortgages.
“Unfortunately, you still have this kind of perception that the second mortgage market is a last resort and they’re very, very expensive,” she said.
“(But) these are both regulated contracts. They both follow the same process. This is a recommended sale, and rates have never been lower than they currently are in the second mortgage market. It boils down to one simple thing: what is the right outcome for the customer? »
Specialized loans – do you have the right equipment?
Her comprehensive response suggested she had been compelled to sing the virtues of the product on more than one occasion.
“I like to educate and add value wherever I can. I’m very passionate about the second mortgage market and it’s nice to have conversations with people who are disconnected from it and maybe then see them get down to it.
One of Ward’s main roles is to find ways to help lend to underserved borrowers, including those with adverse credit and those who are self-employed. Hard work at the best of times.
Given the often complex credit history of these borrowers, he was asked if there was a shortage of mortgage products to meet their needs. “I think there is a wide range of products. I guess where they become underserved is the demands of traditional lenders,” she said.
Unfortunately for them, most lenders have a rigid ‘black box’ underwriting approach as they seek out ‘cleaner’ borrowers with solid scores and up to three years of business history behind them.
“There are probably fewer lenders that lend themselves to these kinds of complex revenue streams. So even though they tick most of the boxes, they fail because of the complexity of their income,” she added. For these underserved clients, seeking advice from someone who works in the specialist mortgage market becomes even more crucial.
Data from The Money Charity showed people in the UK owed more than £1.7billion at the end of December 2021, an increase of £64.2billion on the same one-year period earlier.
And according to recent UK government data, 15.3% of workers in the UK were self-employed in 2019, before the pandemic. ONS data puts the number at 4.53 million in 2020.
In the wake of the COVID pandemic and amid the uncertainty of the economy, it’s safe to say that mortgage professionals like her will be busy.
“Usually there’s a story, and it’s about finding lenders who are willing to understand why (that person’s) credit rating may have been affected by something that happened in their lifetime. “, she said.
This could include wealthy individuals who only have low point scores because they simply don’t have a lot of active credit. Faced with complex revenue streams, there’s not much automation can do, which means human touch is still key, she said.
“We led the way as a technology marketplace, but we still have a human underwriting element, which means those particular borrowers can be looked at more broadly,” she noted.
As borrowers begin to feel the effects of rising energy costs and tax increases – and even before the impact of sanctions on Russia is considered – he was asked how this would affect its clientele, admitting that “some borrowers will be hit harder than others”. ”.
She said: “When we’re talking about energy prices and everything going up in all areas, it doesn’t matter what market you’re in from a lending perspective. Obviously, costs are costs and so you have to
factor this into your affordability assessment. There is a level playing field when it comes to assessing affordability.
“Naturally, at the end of the year, people expect some kind of increase in the cost of living, so you would like to think that the increase would be offset by an increase in the borrower’s salary for somehow but it would be fair to say that some borrowers will be hit harder than others and will be really limited as to where they can get additional borrowing.
Underserved borrowers aren’t his only clientele, however, as Ward sits at two companies in the Norfolk Capital group. His other role for sister company Mercantile Trust involves first and second charge bridging, first and second charge buy-to-let and – to a much lesser extent – first and second charge term lending on commercials.
With so many plates to spin, he was asked what sparked his interest in finance in the first place. “I literally fell into it. I left school with high school diplomas, but I didn’t want to go to university because I was done with my studies. I fell into finance and I remember someone telling me that I would be really good as a BDM.
She initially laughed at the suggestion, but quickly warmed to the idea, realizing that selling “is about building relationships and keeping promises.”
Mentored by the late David Johnson while at Shawbrook Bank – “he practically taught me everything I know now” – she quickly rose through the career ladder, experiencing the world of start-ups , bridging loans and second charge loans along the way.
She learned some important lessons after a bridge loan company she started lost its line of funding during COVID. “All of a sudden I was running a business and I had to wear a whole bunch of different hats,” she recalls.
Now she is on a mission. “I have a fairly aggressive four-year plan and I’m happy to be part of it from the start. I learned from David to always stick to what you said you were going to do. Be a true support person and educate wherever you can, leave a lasting impression and add value.