What is your role at Vida?
I am responsible for all relations with intermediaries; through our corporate sales directors who manage our senior relations within clubs and networks, our field sales teams who work with brokers in our regions, our intermediary telephone team and our team of specialists in the service of conditioners and new products.
Have you learned any lessons from your professional life this year?
More of a reminder than a lesson, but to always see the positives and be flexible enough to achieve them.
I would create greater awareness of the whole market and not just the low cost vanilla high street
The pandemic has shown that we can never be sure of anything, but the market and the players that make it up are remarkably resilient and will always find a way.
Are there any bright spots you can take away from the past two years since the coronavirus pandemic hit?
The main positive point has been the strengthening of the quality of our industry.
There was a real sense of togetherness in making sure customers get the best trip possible under very difficult circumstances, and it’s wonderful to see.
There is always a client, and generally a broker, affected by any decision
Second, as a specialist lender, the market has realized that the specialist sector plays an important role; that it can deliver solutions for an ever-growing number of underserved Main Street customers; and that intermediaries can make a real difference to their customers by considering a specialty mortgage lender.
What are Vida’s mortgage plans for 2022? Could you enter new markets?
We are constantly reviewing our mortgage proposition as the market continues to evolve dynamically.
Our main goal is to get closer to our key relationships and work with them to provide solutions to their clients’ needs, rather than producing a more generic proposition.
The specialty market should be seen as a ubiquitous option, not a next resort
It means working more closely with the clubs, networks, conditioners and new build markets, and helping them help us make a difference.
Do you see the specialized market as a growing sector?
Absoutely. There has been an increase in a number of areas that require specialized loans, including the self-employed, many of whom have experienced periods of business turmoil; the employees, because they take care of the holidays; change of role and employer and income gap; and those with general credit problems or complex incomes.
The market and the players that make it up are remarkably resilient and will always find a way
All of these areas are the backbone of the specialty market and create an environment in which it has never been more important for an advisor to understand specialty mortgage lenders.
Do you think the mortgage market is improving its diversity?
I hope so and I think so. There has certainly been more attention to this and the forums I have attended have been really open and forward thinking in how they seek to tackle the change required.
There was a real sense of togetherness to make sure customers get the best trip possible
The drive to make this change across all sectors of the industry is palpable and while it is never fast enough or deep enough in an ideal world, I think it is going in the right direction and we need to stay focused. and strong actions.
If there was one thing you could change in the mortgage market, what would it be?
I would create a greater awareness of the whole market and not just the low cost vanilla high street.
Always see the positives and be flexible enough to achieve them
This is changing, as I mentioned, but the price remains the first point in most discussions. As the needs of potential and existing borrowers evolve, the niche market should be seen as a ubiquitous option, not a downside.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
Always remember that a transaction has a human face. There is always a client, and usually a broker, affected by any decision.