Crystal Mortgages recently rebranded to Crystal Specialist Finance, in a bid to reflect the firm’s diverse product offering. Loan Introducer speaks to its managing director Joe Breeden, about what the rebrand will mean for the business.
Q:Why did you decide to rebrand as Crystal Specialist Finance?
A: We have experienced fantastic growth over the last five years, in 2014 alone we issued terms on nearly £675m worth of business, and complimenting this huge rise we have increased the value of applications and doubled the number of completions. During this period we extended our offering to include a number of new specialist areas, but in the market our old name still solely represented our core commercial mortgage and bridging finance areas, and educating the wider audience was tough. The change of name to Crystal Specialist Finance reflects a major strategic decision to really reflect our specialist nature, and within that we are able to differentiate our core offering into five distinct divisions: mortgages, bridging, commercial, development funding and, aptly, second charge loans.
Q: What type of demand are you seeing for second charges?
A: Our business model is based on broker introductions, and the second charge lending division was introduced as we were registering a sharp increase in the number of directly authorised broker enquiries.
Q: What proportion of your business do you hope second charges will make up?
A: We see it as a fast growing area of the business, especially now it has been highlighted as a specialist field. Since the company rebrand in March the rising numbers of enquiries has certainly reflected the positive intent of our decision. In terms of completions I can see second charge loans being 20-25% of the monthly completion numbers by the end of the year.
Q: did Financial Conduct Authority regulation of the second charge market play a part in your decision to enter into the market?
A: Yes , we believe that regulation within the market is a great thing in that it added a layer of transparency and standardisation not previously seen. All of our second charge loan managers are CeMap qualified which adds a further layer of comfort for our broker partners that we understand both the first and second charge market.
Q: Have you already received your licence or are you in the process of applying for it?
A: Our landing slot is November 2015 , we are in the process of applying for full permissions now.
Q: Do you expect more packagers and lenders to enter the secured loan market?
A:Yes, and competition is always welcomed by us as the customer benefits from sharper pricing and better service levels.
Q: How do you see products in the second charge market evolving over the next 12 months?
A: I think the impact of further regulation / EU mortgage Directive in March 2016 and potential changes to the CeMap qualification to incorporate second charges will see further product changes over the next 12 months.
Q: What would your clients’/your ideal second-charge mortgage product be at the moment?
A: Whatever is the most suitable for that customer’s needs at that given point in time, having considered all options available both on a first or second charge basis.