Launching into first-charge market more important than ever before

Given market conditions are tough right now, what was the decisioning behind launching into the first-charge market?

Launching into the residential mortgage market is something we have been planning for a very long time and we have invested an enormous amount of time into the development of this proposition.

Despite the market conditions I genuinely believe it was more important than ever to launch. There are an increasing number of borrowers who are struggling to obtain mortgage finance against a backdrop of the numerous product withdrawals as well as lenders temporarily suspending new mortgage applications.

I have to say I have been really overwhelmed with the reaction from intermediary partners who see real value in the product offering which really supports our sentiment around the timing of the launch.

We have not entered into this lightly, and we have a plan in place that I believe will make us a leading lender in this area of the market. We are raring to go.

West One Loans mentioned an initial list of specialist network distributors, what are their plans for future expansion? 

As all lenders do when entering a new market, we have decided to launch through a carefully-selected panel of distributors who we know well and trust or who we have worked with before.

Once we have fully tested the proposition we will start to roll this out to other specialist distributors, with aspirations to start onboarding mortgage clubs and network partners during 2023.

Over the coming weeks and months, we will work closely with our broker partners to find areas we can improve so we can achieve our aim of becoming a leading lender in the specialist first-charge space.

As part of the launch, West One Loans enhanced its broker portal and added a new case hub, could they expand on this? How was the portal enhanced? 

The great thing about entering a new market is that it gives you an opportunity to start with a blank sheet of paper. We have spent months researching what works well and what doesn’t, and thinking about how we build cutting-edge infrastructure and efficient processes to make this launch a success.

Every part of our process and back-end is completely bespoke and has been planned carefully to deliver a market-leading customer experience. That includes our broker portal and case hub, which were created and finely-tuned in tandem with our in-house development team to very specific requirements and standards.

We have designed our processes to be simple and efficient, allowing brokers to reach the DIP stage quickly. We have also automated the product eligibility process to offer products based on the borrower’s credit profile, as well as pre-populating mortgage documentation to save brokers time. Our case hub also enables brokers to upload supporting documentation and to receive automated email alerts to flag any changes to a case’s status. We also provide a dynamic underwriting needs checklist and offer direct interaction with underwriters via our messaging facility

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