Secured lending up 51pc

On a month-on-month basis there was an increase of nearly 19% in March as secured lending shows no sign of slowing down.

With 10 lenders reporting increased lending in March; £56,382,296 marks the best lending figures since 2009 and surpasses last October’s ground breaking news of the first £50,000,000 (£50,371,000) month since the onset of the credit crunch.

March 2014 marked the 28th month in a row of year on year growth in secured lending, a statistic that is almost becoming expected.

Matt Tristram, co-founder and director of Loans Warehouse and Clearly Loans, said: “March has seen several changes announced to key personnel.

“Nemo have announced changes to their management structure, most noticeable, Phil Jones, managing director, has taken the decision to step down.

“Phil established Nemo with Sam Marshall and led them to become one of the most respected lenders in the second charge market.

“He will be sadly missed but we welcome the announcement that Guy Thomas will take on the role of chief executive officer at Nemo with immediate effect, working alongside Joanne Edwards, who was appointed as head of sales last year.

“On the back of Spring Finance completing a £100m bank funding loan last month, they have appointed Zena Campbell as its Head of New Business.

“Zena left her role as COO at Firmus last month after the lenders short lived entrance into the secured loan market.

“Zena will be best known to most as sales and marketing Manager at Swift Advances Plc.”

Tristram also looked at the recent changes seen at Shawbrook’s Secured Lending Division.

He said: “Shawbrook’s Secured Lending Division welcomed Claire Rankin and Paula Purdy to the team.

“The most interesting appointment was Claire Rankin who joins as head of networks an area that many think will produce a great opportunity over the coming years as secured lending falls under the same regulation as mortgages.

“Shawbrook also announced Ian Henderson has resigned from his position as CEO of Shawbrook and has been succeeded by Richard Pyman.

“There have been some noticeable criteria changes which coincide with the switch to FCA regulation; Shawbrook Bank announced they will no longer be able to accept bank statements as evidence of the primary source of income for self-employed applicants, whilst also tightening their criteria around consolidating credit by now insisting that items above £1000 are now be paid directly via BACS to the creditors by the bank.”

During the period there were also a number of criteria changes. Equifinance launched a new 80% LTV product whilst taking the opportunity to also tighten up their criteria around lending to self employed borrowers.

Nemo made a number of changes including reducing the rate on their E0 product to 5.784% whilst reducing the minimum loan from £40,000 to £30,000 on several plans.

Prestige Finance has rebranded with a design aimed at creating a more integrated identity with other companies within the OneSavings Bank (OSB) family.

They have also introduced E-ID as an option to borrowers/introducers whilst increasing the valuation panel in Scotland with the addition of Hardies.

With the launch of Optimum Credit growing closer the Secured Loan Index also took the opportunity to catch up with its commercial director, Simon Mules to get an update on their progress.

He said: “Over the last six months (Optimum Credit) we have been busy recruiting staff and building our innovative Secured Lending system which will help with achieving favourable outcomes for both brokers and customers alike.

“Anyone who has launched something new, realises very quickly that testing a system before launch is critical, this is what is happening now and we will bring our products to market in late May.

“We genuinely believe that we will provide strong competition in the prime arena and hope that we will be able to roll out our system as quickly as possible after our initial launch to brokers who want to work with us.

“We are aware of the fantastic service that other lender’s provide, so we know we will need to be at the top of our game in all areas to ensure we reach our objectives and help brokers achieve theirs.

“We are looking forward to being in touch with as many brokers as we can, as we enter late May and early June”