How could brokers' incomes be boosted by specialist finance?

Borrowers' changed circumstances will need solutions

How could brokers' incomes be boosted by specialist finance?

In a stagnant market, beset by consumer uncertainty and affordability challenges, brokers’ businesses could be boosted by exploring specialist lending, it’s claimed.

Borrowers with changed financial circumstances, may now need solutions they haven’t previously required, according to David Binney (pictured), who is head of sales at Norton Home Loans.

Norton is a specialist lender, based in Rotherham, which offers mortgages and secured loans to borrowers who might not meet the criteria of high street lenders, perhaps due to their credit profile, income, or issues surrounding a property.

In business for over 40 years, it is independently owned but has the financial backing of a high street bank. 

Binney told Mortgage Introducer: “A stagnant purchase market, mixed with consumer uncertainty and affordability issues, are the main obstacles facing brokers’ businesses this year.

“Many brokers could benefit from exploring the specialist market if they haven’t already done so. This could not only help boost their income but also find lending solutions for their clients which might not have been considered before.”

He explained: “Perhaps a borrower’s financial situation has changed, and they now need solutions they haven’t needed in the past. For example, I still believe second charges are underutilised and often overlooked when they can provide a valuable solution for a client, especially for those looking to consolidate debt or who may no longer fit their lender’s remortgage criteria.”

How big a challenge is the economy?

Binney believes the cost-of-living crisis is particularly impacting the current market.

“Clearly, the higher interest rate environment and the amount of money - or rather lack of  - in people’s pockets, pose a challenge,” he reasoned. “This is especially true for lenders like us, with higher interest rates due to increased risk.

“The country is not experiencing its most prosperous period at the moment, but this will change. The economy always goes through cycles, and the market adapts as it does.”

Norton’s head of sales did sound an optimistic note about the coming year though.

“Hopefully, the economic outlook will improve over the next 12 months, providing homeowners and aspiring homeowners with a much greater chance of achieving their objectives,” he said.

“Technology, integration, and automation will undoubtedly remain key drivers of development, in my opinion.”

Read more: How important will housing be in the general election?

What government support does the mortgage industry need?

A factor in how well the economy performs over the next year, of course, is the much anticipated general election. Binney believes there are measures that politicians could pursue to support the industry.

“Addressing the cost-of-living should be the top priority, as it would benefit the entire market,” he suggested. “Average house prices remain high, so there needs to be more support for first-time buyers. However, schemes involving higher LTVs are unlikely to help most people if the cost-of-living is not addressed.”

Binney previously worked as an underwriter in financial services and also had a stint in retail, post the credit crunch. He has worked at Norton since 2015, initially as a broker account manager, then in various roles before being promoted to his current position in 2022.

He leads a sales team, working with brokers, to spread the word about how the lender can help find solutions for adviser’s non-standard clients.

“The best thing about working in this industry is the people, the professionalism, and the ever-changing environment,” Binney enthused.

“Among the busyness of the industry and our lives, it can be all too easy to forget to take a step back and appreciate what we have. This is more of a life lesson, but it translates into the working world as well.”

He urged: “Stay grateful.”