“The UK market in general is underserved,” says Ray Brousseau, Carrington Mortgage Services mortgage lending division executive vice president. ”If you are a prospective homeowner or are looking to refinance, you can’t even get an appointment with one of the traditional banks for four to six weeks. For a non-bank firm to be able to sit with someone immediately, that is a big deal.”
That kind of activity has encouraged the expansion of American lenders into the UK market, although they’re having to come prepared to hit the ground running.
“We knew the business and the participants intimately at the time of the acquisition,” Brousseau told MPA, when they bought the company some 18 months ago. “One of our principals at Carrington was a former resident and continues to own property and have family there, so he was very familiar with the UK in particular.”
Opportunities in that mortgage market are luring more and more lenders into the space. Credit unions are one such group that are entering in force, growing originations an average of 35% in the first quarter of this year compared to 2014, according to TransUnion numbers.
It has been only recently that Carrington has sent over someone from the U.S. business to run the UK operation on a daily basis, says Brousseau, with an eye to expand from the current 20 plus staff in a handful of branches, including one in Scotland.
According to the Daily Telegraph, while the London housing market slowed during the summer, it has risen considerably in Scotland and Wales, with Scottish first-time buyers accounting for £880million ($1.4 billion US) of borrowing in the recent three-month period.
While demand is strong in the domestic mortgage market, hyper-demand in another market is attracting US companies looking for new lending opportunities.