Axed bank director praises the industry's strength

Support following redundancies has been encouraging, he says

Axed bank director praises the industry's strength

The outgoing director of mortgage division sales and distribution at Tandem Bank believes the way he’s been supported, following the lender’s decision to scale back its first charge team, shows the strength of the industry.

Roger Morris (pictured), who last week put out his own statement announcing redundancies at the bank, said the positivity resulting from a Mortgage Introducer report of the job losses, and the supportive comments he’d received from colleagues, had boosted him.

Tandem confirmed in a statement on Thursday that it is refocusing its approach, with a strategic decision to accelerate the growth of its home improvement business. This means a reduction in its growth plans for the first charge market, leading to a reduction in the size of its team.  It is supporting a small number of colleagues affected and aims to offer redeployment opportunities where possible.

“Returning to work after receiving the news was incredibly tough, but the positivity from the article by Mortgage Introducer and the response on LinkedIn has been truly heartwarming,” Morris shared. “I want to express my deepest gratitude to everyone who reached out, not just to me but also to my team. It’s a testament to the strength of our industry, and I’m grateful for the encouragement as I navigate this chapter.

“In my career journey, I’ve gleaned invaluable lessons that have not only shaped my professional trajectory but also enriched my personal ethos. The most profound lesson I’ve imbibed is the power of kindness. It’s a principle that transcends the bottom line and permeates every facet of business interactions. Embracing kindness, even in the face of adversity or unkindness, not only cultivates goodwill but also fosters enduring relationships that form the bedrock of success.”

Morris, who has been in his role at Tandem since late 2022, is helping his fellow team members to find new work opportunities. Support from industry connections, has led to ‘promising’ interviews for some of them.

“Those who’ve worked with me know that my commitment extends far beyond the workplace,” he commented.

In terms of his onward career, Morris is in discussions with CEOs and senior leaders in lending and distribution organisations, where he hopes to complement existing senior management structures and add value to businesses seeking to expand their presence in the UK mortgage market.

“I am open to new opportunities and confident that my breadth of knowledge will be a valuable asset in navigating the evolving economic landscape of the UK,” he said.

How is the UK economy performing?

Despite Tandem’s change of strategy, Morris believes there are hopeful signs for the economy.

“In the current market, I see signs of stabilisation and hope for positive economic growth, especially with the settling of the interest rate environment,” he said. “However, challenges remain, particularly in navigating fluctuations in inflation and mortgage interest rates.

“As for the trajectory of the industry in the coming 12 months, while certainty eludes us in the ever-evolving landscape, several trends are poised to shape its course. Digital transformation will continue to redefine operational paradigms, propelling businesses towards greater efficiency and agility.

“Sustainability will emerge as a non-negotiable imperative, with stakeholders increasingly prioritising environmental stewardship and ethical practices. Moreover, resilience will remain paramount as organisations navigate global uncertainties and adapt to emergent challenges.”

He added:  “A good broker is invaluable in this landscape, offering proactive digital engagement to keep clients informed about market dynamics and their impact on mortgage payments. Beyond mortgages, mortgage advisers should provide comprehensive financial advice and product offerings, ensuring clients have the right solutions for their needs and avoiding the need to seek services elsewhere.”

Read more: Tandem enhances first change mortgage range

How important is education for intermediaries?

Morris believes that education and self-investment are paramount for brokers, to maximise business over the coming year.

“I firmly believe in the infinite potential of education,” he said. “From the outset of my career in this dynamic industry, I recognised that continuous learning and a voracious appetite for knowledge are non-negotiables for success.

“The world has become significantly more complex over my 30 years in the industry. Now there are fewer straightforward mortgage applications, particularly for residential purchases. Client income is becoming increasingly intricate, with clients often having multiple sources of employment income.

“Unfortunately, the average lender struggles to adapt quickly to these changing environments. When was the last time you thoroughly understood how to read a set of accounts? Being trained by a chartered accountant provides a significant advantage over other mortgage advisers.

“It ensures that the adviser can extract the correct amount of information and compose the right covering letter to ensure that the underwriter assessing the income also understands. It’s crucial not to assume that underwriters know how to read accounts.”

Morris continued: “When it comes to Buy-to-Let (BTL), this market has become incredibly complex. Ultimately, arranging a BTL mortgage involves creating tax structures, either through individual ownership or company ownership. Even though advisers don’t provide tax advice, they are responsible for arranging a tax structure which is what a BTL mortgage contract is.

“Therefore, it’s essential to ensure that your technical knowledge is second to none. The legislation covering this part of the marketplace is deep and far-reaching. There’s much more that we all need to upskill on, such as reading bank statements, which may seem straightforward but is much more in-depth in reality, as is reading a credit report.

“Many lenders are now on this journey to help mortgage advisers upskill. However, it’s crucial to allocate a minimum amount of time each week as part of your professional development. This isn’t just a tick-box exercise. You will be far more confident when dealing with customers if you have this solid foundation of knowledge and education.”

Morris urges politicians to prioritise initiatives that foster a stable economic environment, to support the mortgage and property industry effectively.

“This entails addressing key factors such as inflation, job growth, and interest rates over the long term,” he suggested.  “A robust economy not only enhances affordability for aspiring homeowners but also restores confidence in the market.

“However, challenges arise with the increasing net migration, which can strain efforts to stimulate the housing market and reform the planning system for equitable wealth distribution. Despite these hurdles, it’s crucial for policymakers to navigate through significant lobbying pressures and implement measures that promote accessible homeownership for all demographics.”

Morris concluded: “In essence, while the future may be characterised by uncertainty, the principles of kindness and education serve as guiding beacons, illuminating the path forward with resilience, empathy, and continuous growth.”