West One Celebrated as ‘Mortgage Introducer’s’ 5-Star Lender of 2023

Mortgage Introducer's recent rankings have highlighted the exceptional performance of 5-Star Lenders in 2023, emphasising their unwavering commitment to service and support despite market volatility. These top-performing mortgage lenders have earned the trust of brokers by excelling in crucial areas.

In a fiercely competitive mortgage landscape, the 5-Star Lenders distinguish themselves by prioritizing:

  • fair pricing
  • streamlined processes
  • reasonable turnaround times
  • comprehensive underwriting 
  • exceptional customer service

These priorities are emphasised by those across the industry with one of Mortgage Introducer's ‘Top Brokers’, commenting: “Ultimately, we are looking for good outcomes for our clients in the quickest and simplest way possible”.

Rebecca Shuttle, principal at MIMA Mortgage and Protection Advice, quoted: “Lenders who can provide all-around good service and products with clear and concise lending policies mean we are better positioned with the tools we need to support our clients.”

Liz Syms, Vice Chair of the Society of Mortgage Professionals, emphasizes: “It is essential that 5-Star Lenders offer the whole package”, with lenders being assessed on the below:

  • Criteria matching clients’ needs
  •  Interest rates matching
  • Speed of service

West One Leads the Pack thanks to Reliability 

West One emerges as a standout 5-Star Lender, gaining praise from brokers for its agility, willingness to lend, and overall reliability; excelling in speed and willingness to lend.

Stephen Hogg, Chief Operating Officer of West One, stresses the lender's commitment to listening to borrowers' needs with an inventive approach. Despite market dislocations, West One maintains stability, profitability, and trustworthiness, reinforcing its position in the non-bank lending space.

We’re not a bank or a scorecard-driven lender; we’re all about listening to what the borrowers want our money for, and we have an inventive approach to solving problems,” says COO Stephen Hogg

We keep lending, and we’ve been running the business through the pandemic, Brexit and all sorts of dislocations in the market,” he continues. “Relative to our peers in the non-bank lending space, we’re large, profitable and stable. It isn’t clever or sexy; it’s repeatable, reliable and trustworthy. If we say we’ll lend money on a certain day and time, we’ll do that.”

While the company has grown significantly, it retains a small-business mentality, prioritizing nimbleness, speed, and efficiency. The focus on customer service, tailor-made solutions, and fair pricing sets West One apart.

West One have continued to strengthen our competitive advantage with an active focus on customer service, tailor-made solutions, and fair pricing which sets West One apart, with this being emphasised by Stephen Hogg:

  • Customer service: “We look at it two ways: there are the basics like answering the phone and responding to emails promptly. But this is entirely a relationship business; people buy people. And we are adamant that our people serve our broker community well.”
  • Tailor-made solutions: “We’re here to fill a role in the industry, listening to people, working out what they need and finding inventive and creative solutions to fit that.”
  • Pricing: “We try to price fairly; we don’t lend money at a loss, and we’ve made very few losses historically. We price for risk, a fair return and the service and speed we can deliver. We’re not trying to be a massive corporate bank smashing out thousands of homogenous widgets.”

West One navigate challenges with customer-centric approach:

The best mortgage lenders navigate pricing volatility with a client-centric approach, which runs through the culture at West One, summed up by the mnemonic CREDIT, which underpins the internal and external culture:

  •  Customer-first approach
  • Results-oriented mindset
  • Energy
  • Development
  • Invention
  • Teamwork

The client centric approach looks to also support and nurture broker partnerships. These partnerships aim to keep West One front-of-mind, with offerings and niches within the lending space. Building those long-standing relationships is a thread that runs through all business strategies, from marketing and campaigns to client service and everything in between. 

“We’ve been working with brokers consistently for many years, and they keep coming back,”  says Hogg. “We’ve also pushed to bring in new communities of brokers as we broadened our product range and got into new areas.

Proactive effectively communicating pricing in a volatile market to support partners has helped push the personal and client-centric approach.

“A lender deemed 5-Star adds a competitive element, but they need to back this up through consistency and, ultimately, in this market, competitive pricing, which has the client’s best interests at the centre,”  Shuttle says.

As West One plans to expand its product range, including semi-commercial and commercial mortgages, its commitment to positive work environments and continuous development positions it for continued success in setting industry standards.

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