A working life in mortgages

It’s a special birthday week for me so instead of trying to cure your sleep issues with another mortgage education lesson, I thought I would share with you a few nuggets from when it all started for me.

I was an average cattle feed and fertiliser salesperson in the Cotswolds until I saw an advert for a Building Society manager. “Why Not?” I thought. The only problem was that I honestly had no idea what a building society was!

I certainly didn’t bank on 102 other applicants and initially I was second. Thankfully for me, the winner had reference issues so I took the prize. (Have you ever thought what if …..? , sliding doors and all that.)

My first day in my brand-new branch saw snow and 3 customers, and 1 of those was a complainer! I think that he would be happy now that all the bank and building societies are all gastro pubs!

We lent only if there was money to lend and only to people who were members and said kind things to the manager. There are many good building societies out there to this day and I, like most other ex-C&G employees, rue the day that great company was closed.

My daughter was born in Cheltenham and son in Gloucester. You don’t see that loyalty now.

I managed branches in Malmesbury, Devizes, Stroud, Swindon, and Cirencester through my 25 years at C&G. Claire and I are lucky to have made many long lasting friends from staff and customers in those towns.

All the time I was learning to lend.

“Lend it as if it was your own money!” the old experts said.

We never had many arrears borrowers funnily enough.

But I was always slightly envious of my brokers and if I been braver I would have had a go earlier in my life.

I started broking in 2005 and the beginning was, shall we say, challenging.

I didn’t expect the Banks to have to pull the rug on me in 2007/2008 because of the credit crunch. Most applications were still paper based. Some months I didn’t earn a penny but what does not kill you makes you stronger.

I owe a lot to Claire and the children who never doubted me (well they didn’t tell me if they did!) and to John Moss and Paul Wallace with whom I built a successful practise at IFS in Stonehouse from 2009 up to 2015.

In 2015 it was time to build my own business.

House and Holiday Home Mortgages Ltd was born and I owe a great deal to all the lovely people at the mortgage network, Mortgage Intelligence Ltd, who have helped me build this business to a point I am fending off a hostile takeover from my quick-learning son Joe who has passed his exams and will soon be showing me how to get to the next point in our challenge.

I have experienced endowment mortgages, interest only mortgages, self-cert mortgages, lenders not prepared to lend, tough regulation, and of course many innovative ideas like Help to Buy.

But one thing remains constant; customers need to borrow large sums of money in the best way possible.

I am having to learn more and more about technology and how it will shape our future.

When I started I barely knew what an email was, couldn’t use Word and an Apple made cider.

But I remain convinced that most of my customers want and will want just good and proper face to face honest help.

That’s what they will get from House and Holiday Home Mortgages.

My customers are very special to me and I aim to double their number and look after the existing ones with great care and pride.

Thank you all.

Being a mortgage broker is a challenge but it is very rewarding.