Robert Owen (pictured) is managing director of mortgages and bridging at United Trust Bank (UTB)
At UTB, things don’t stand still for very long. In 2015, the Bank moved to new, bigger offices in Moorgate to give us room to grow. Just over two years later and we’ve expanded onto another floor of CityPoint because we’ve run out of space.
One of the reasons for our rapid growth has been the success of our entry into the mortgage market with our range of second charge loans. From just three people early in 2016, we have grown to a team of 16 underwriters and four support staff dedicated to serving our master brokers and the borrowers they introduce.
Having received such a warm welcome by the market, we want to ensure that our high service standards don’t fall due to the volume of cases now coming in. Our bigger team will ensure that brokers receive just as good a service going forward as they did when we first launched, if not better.
We haven’t just been developing the mortgage team however. Last summer Jo Edwards joined the Bank as business development director for both disciplines. From then on, Jo, the commercial directors – Gavin Diamond and Buster Tolfree – and I started to look at how we could bring some of the best practices of the mortgage and bridging teams and apply them across the whole division. The two products are different beasts but they also have similarities. We identified that with some changes we could share some resources, make our internal processes slicker and improve the turnaround time and service for both products. As our customers are at the heart of everything we do, we want to ensure that all of them benefit from the same high service levels. Subsequently we recognised that with our mortgage book growing rapidly we needed to think creatively about the best way to look after our mortgage customers whilst keeping the necessary resource available to scale up our mortgage business and quickly develop and launch new products in response to customer need. After careful consideration, we agreed that the best solution for our customers and the Bank was to outsource the management of our mortgages back book and I’m very happy to say that after a meticulous six month project we have successfully completed a very smooth transition.
As a team, we also felt that our ability to give swift credit decisions should be priority and this, combined with our fast turnaround at initial enquiry and quick, credit approved reliable decisions, will lead to an improved experience for brokers and customers alike. Overseeing that operation in bridging is Faye Quigley, our newly appointed underwriting manager who joined us from RBS. Faye will be ensuring that the proposals we receive are dealt with quickly and professionally and, as we’re aiming to grow our volumes as well as improve our service, these changes are vital to support our new team of BDMs.
Jo Edwards has built a BDM team to deliver UTB’s ambitious growth targets for the division. Rob Love and Nick Warren have been joined by Chris Pedlar, Paul Mansell, Andy Keehner and Mike Walters. Rob, Nick and Mike will focus on bridging, looking after their existing contacts and developing new ones in and around London and towards the West. Mike lives in Cardiff and he will be introducing our bridging offer to brokers in Wales and the South West. Chris, Paul and Andy will introduce the Bank’s mortgage and bridging products to brokers further afield than we’ve previously been able to cover effectively. Chris will cover the Midlands and the North West, Paul the North East and Scotland, and Andy will serve brokers in East Anglia and London. Jigar Patel will continue as key account manager, assisting our brokers with training and compliance matters for the mortgage side of the division.
These changes are key to the future success of UTB’s mortgage and bridging offerings, but we are not stopping there. At UTB we continually push ourselves to improve and over the coming months you will see more positive changes to support the growth of the combined Mortgages & Bridging division. By making best use of technology we will improve our communication and boost our responsiveness. We are enhancing our online Broker Portal, streamlining internal processes and continuing to recruit excellent staff to deliver what is ultimately our number one goal – to provide the very best products and service to our brokers and customers.