The mainstream-specialist crossover

Jo Breeden, managing director, Crystal Specialist Finance

Like black and white, apples and oranges and Aston Villa and Birmingham City, the mainstream and specialist finance markets have always been considered two wildly different constituents with no room for crossover.

And while this remains truer than ever of the second city rivalry following Villa’s fantastic play-off final victory and promotion to the Premier League (one example for the Claret and Blue Army), the finance markets are starting to see a significant crossover that can only be for the betterment of the industry and the client.

The mainstream and specialist finance sectors have always been the preserve of firms or brokers who have always written their business. Historically this has all been very well and good, but as requests continue to diversify and become more and more complex we are seeing the traditional barriers break down.

Throughout our last five years of training seminars, roadshows, industry events, one-to-one meetings and our new CrystalCast podcast series, the key message that keeps coming up time and time again is quite simple – education.

The only way the sector can grow, and the client best served, is if more firms and brokers are aware of the opportunities on offer.

Specialist finance should be an essential part of a broker’s toolkit as it solves problems that occur in everyday business – adverse credit, chainbreak, multiple incomes, zero-hours contracts, rental, development, etcetera. But most mainstream businesses will hear these phrases and say nothing more can be done.

I don’t expect many of you have had clients ask you for a bridging loan, or a higher rate commercial mortgage, but they solve problems.

For literally every case there is a product, and through education which results in a far more thorough market knowledge, literally no-one should be told that their application does not meet the standard criteria.

Support, transparency and service

Distributors like ourselves are giving brokers the support, transparency and service that they are used to in the mainstream market to help them identify opportunities and provide a more rounded product proposition to their customers.

In addition, some lenders are now looking at how they can improve without going too far along the risk curve on price or adverse. For example, by looking at the process and asking – why do we need that, what do we do that – and this can only be beneficial for borrowers.

Rates for a specialist residential mortgage are now from the low to mid 2% mark, something that would have been unheard of even just a few years ago.

Villa 2 – Derby 1

Don’t be scared of specialist finance, the process is the same – fact find, source, present – it suits clients who don’t fit the traditional tick box mindset. We are solutions finders, and mainstream education can ensure more crossover, more business and more happy customers.

Why the heading for this paragraph? To educate those who may have missed the result!


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