Equifinance traditionally provided lending solutions to the second charge market to fulfil the needs of consumers who were excluded from mainstream products, usually due to a less than perfect credit profile.
Whilst still serving this market, 18 months ago, the Company realised there was another opportunity. This was to lend to consumers with good credit history who needed to borrow more than they could get on an unsecured loan and/or over a longer term to reduce monthly outgoings. This sector was tested in the middle part of 2017 and has been expanded through the last year.
Our ‘customers’ up to the point the loan is booked are our distribution partners, almost exclusively ‘master brokers’ who advise the applicants and place them with the most appropriate lender. The consumer considers themselves a ‘customer’ of the broker at this stage, not the lender. Equifinance therefore concentrates on the service proposition to the broker. We visit each of our major brokers weekly to ensure we understand their current needs in a rapidly changing market.
We have hired a very experienced team including a General Manager, new underwriters, senior regulatory compliance personnel and more field-based sales staff in the last year. Five members of our senior management team have collectively been the consumer lending/second mortgage market for over 150 years. We believe we have now assembled the best senior team in the industry.
Our growth has been achieved by developing creative and innovative products whilst also reducing our product development lifecycle to just six to eight weeks, therefore keeping our proposition fresh. We ‘test and measure’ reaction to products then change them as required. In addition, we believe that our fees and early repayment charges are amongst the lowest in the industry which helps our brokers source new consumers who then benefit from these features.
The above initiatives have enabled us to very quickly increase volumes of loans and hence increase revenue and profits whilst reducing costs per loan via economies of scale.
This strategy has rewarded the team in terms of results – from a tiny insignificant market share to around 5% of the second charge loans and £’s originated in 2018. All this has been achieved within two years whilst maintaining and indeed improving long-standing enviable service levels.
Equifinance now provides loans to ‘heavy adverse’ consumers at half the interest rates that prevailed three years ago. Due to the ‘customer focused’ underwriting of higher LTV loans, Equifinance often completes a loan in less than seven days from when the consumer first contacted their broker.
Winning this award would be great recognition for a small team who have worked very hard over the last three years to transform an unknown name into a recognised and respected ‘player’ in the second mortgage sector.
Please find commendations from master brokers below:
Chris Birks – Lendle
Lendle have worked with Equifinance since launch in March 2017. In that time a fantastic working relationship has been built and I’m delighted to say that both businesses have gone from strength to strength.
The team at Equifinance are not only approachable and professional, but innovative and forward thinking. It has been refreshing to hear a lender looking for ways to grow their market share by introducing new products, rather than simply cutting rates.
Whilst the Equifinance product is without doubt a specialised and at times complicated product, the way in which the underwriting team approach business means the packaging is straight forward and efficient.
Regular visits from Des and Tony has helped the team have the confidence to pick up the phone to ask questions and referrals complex cases.
The team at Lendle are looking forward to working with Equifinance in the coming months to help develop their new IT platform.
I have little doubt that the Business will continue to grow and maintain their well-deserved reputation in the years to come.
Matt Tristram – Loans Warehouse
In an age when specialist lenders in the first mortgage market are the centre of attention celebrating the service they offer and the diversity they bring from the high street lenders, every one of them from the biggest to the smallest could take a leaf out of the service provided by Equifinance who sit firmly in the specialist lender category when it comes to Secured Loan, unmatch them for speed and service.
Barney Drake – (Y3S) Specialist Mortgage Group
Equifinance’s service and product is second to none; Proactive, helpful, flexible and fast. They are an invaluable lender with SMG’s business and a credit to our industry. Any packager that does not have them on panel is losing business!
Here’s some examples of recent cases…
USP: Customer recently divorced, no mortgage history, payments evidenced by bank statements, case completed swiftly
USP: Client recently purchased a new home with planning permission to extend. 98.95% LTV. Submitted at 11am, offered by 4pm
Speeed: Courier visited customer Thursday 9th, sent to Equifinance on Monday 13th August, offered on Wednesday 15th August