Stay positive and be proactive, says Jon Cooper, head of mortgage distribution at Aldermore

We can’t predict exactly how 2021 will pan out, and the next few months won’t be easy, but there are some things we can prepare for and look forward to. 

Whatever comes our way, I’m confident the mortgage market will adapt and deal with it, just like we did in 2020.

Brokers worked so hard to support clients and stay up to date with changing criteria and products, while moving to remote working. Your commitment to getting the job done reinforced my long-held belief that brokers are the best option for many borrowers.

At Aldermore we’ve worked hard too, maintaining service levels, managing our product range and planning staffing carefully all year to keep up with high demand.

It’s not been easy, and it’s not been perfect, but we are so grateful for your patience and support.

Let’s be proud of what we’ve all achieved.

Looking ahead

I know there are tough times ahead, as we all remain in lockdown and the roll out of the vaccination continues, it is going to be challenging but I’m still optimistic about 2021, personally and professionally.

The start of this year will be busy and dominated by the rush to beat the stamp duty deadline. It’s too late for some clients, but lenders still have a lot of pipeline business to get through by 31 March.

After Easter, as the support schemes wind down, more people could face financial problems which mean high street lenders won’t offer them a mortgage.

These clients need you more than ever, especially those with unusual needs or finances. That’s why I predict 2021 will be the year of the broker.

Mortgage experts needed

Borrowers need a trusted mortgage expert, so stay in touch with all your existing clients. Whether they’re self-employed, on furlough, have been made redundant or experienced credit problems, you are best placed to help them.

If they won’t be able to remortgage – and many won’t - remember you can still help them with a product transfer.

Our new self-service product transfer feature makes the process quick and straightforward, plus you get a proc fee to recognise your work.

Speak to your landlord clients too, to see if they’ve been affected by rent arrears, or if their portfolio strategy has changed because of the pandemic.

Specialist lending boom

With more borrowers likely to be excluded from the high street, the specialist sector stands ready to help.

At Aldermore, we think differently to other lenders and will look at complex cases to see if we can find a way to say yes to those rejected by the mainstream lenders. We have a more flexible approach to underwriting and work hard to help you find funding options for more of your clients.

We support first time buyers, borrowers with less than perfect credit, landlords and the self-employed.

So, if you don’t operate in the specialist lending market, take some time now to understand the products on offer and how criteria differ from the high street.

Stay positive

This year will be challenging, of course, but it could also be rewarding, as brokers are able to make huge differences to your clients’ lives.

Remember that, while looking after your business and your clients is important, taking care of yourself and your loved ones is what really matters.

2020 has made many of us reassess what’s most important in life. I’ve definitely felt thankful for my family, friendships, and home life, as well as my colleagues.

Now I’m stepping into 2021 with positivity and hope that we’ll beat the virus and find some normality again.

The vaccine hopefully means 2021 will see an end to social distancing, and we can all meet friends and family again, and maybe even networking with colleagues and peers.