Latest news

Matt Yates joins Precise Mortgages' growing sales team

06 July 2017

Precise Mortgages, the specialist lender, has welcomed Matt Yates to its Sales Team to provide expert support to its network of intermediaries in the East Anglia region.

Matt joins as a Business Development Manager, a new role created to boost its presence in the Cambridge, Chelmsford, Colchester, Ipswich, Norwich and Peterborough areas.

Matt was previously a BDM at Platform, the intermediary lender of the Co-operative Bank, where he developed a range of key broker contacts.

Jamie Pritchard, Head of Sales for Precise Mortgages, said: “Matt is a perfect fit for the role and will be helping mortgage intermediaries in his area access our vast range of products.”

Matt added:  “I’ve been keeping a keen eye on Precise Mortgages for many years and have watched their growth with interest. This role feels like a perfect opportunity for me and I’m looking forward to helping the business grow further.”

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Precise Mortgages to host nationwide specialist lending masterclasses

14 June 2017

Brokers who want to learn more about specialist lending and how to spot new business opportunities have been invited to a nationwide series of masterclasses organised by Precise Mortgages.

The masterclasses, which are being hosted by Precise Mortgages’ Head of Sales Jamie Pritchard, are being held in locations around the country throughout July.

The much anticipated series kicks off in Milton Keynes on Tuesday 4th. It moves on to Brentwood on Wednesday 5th, Reading on Thursday 6th and Leicester on Tuesday 11th. Next on the list is Norwich on Wednesday 12th, Manchester on Tuesday 18th, Barnsley on Wednesday 19th and, finally, Newcastle on Thursday 20th.

During the three-hour masterclasses, Jamie will cover a number of topics, including the pros and cons of a Limited Company structure for landlords, changes to buy to let underwriting standards and new tax rules. He will also discuss the options available to customers with adverse credit, and look at different methods of finance, such as bridging and second charge loans.

Jamie encouraged brokers interested in attending the masterclasses to reserve their place quickly.

“Places are limited and the masterclasses are filling up quickly,” he said. “Anyone interested in learning more about specialist lending and how it can help add value to their business should book early to avoid missing out.”

He added that all attendees completing a masterclass would receive a certificate which would confirm three hours of CPD.

Places can be reserved by visiting and completing the online form.

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Work starts on new offices for CCFS

13 June 2017

Work has started on new state-of-the-art offices for Wolverhampton-based Charter Court Financial Services (CCFS) as it continues to grow its business and expand its local footprint.

Plans for the new building at Wolverhampton Business Park include a three-storey office complex boasting cutting edge technology, environmentally aware design, and on-site parking for staff.

CCFS, which was recently named one of the UK’s most inspiring companies by the London Stock Exchange Group, took up residence at the Broadlands site in 2008 with just 28 members of staff. Since then, the business has grown dramatically to its current headcount of more than 500, drawing staff and skills from the local community.

This expansion is a result of carefully planned diversification from its core activity of credit risk analysis into mortgages and, more recently, savings accounts. Exact Mortgage Experts, Precise Mortgages and Charter Savings Bank, the three brands under the CCFS umbrella, work as one well-oiled machine.

Ian Lonergan, CEO at CCFS, says the continued growth and success of the company is down to the skills, commitment and enthusiasm of its staff.

“We select carefully at interview but then we make sure that working for CCFS is something people can be proud of” he said. “Staff turnover is low and feedback from our annual surveys shows that employees feel valued by the business and enjoy working here. As one of the founders of the business, that gives me a great sense of achievement.”

The new office space will house approximately 250 people. The business is working closely with architects and Wolverhampton City Council to ensure the build has minimal impact on the local environment and its residents. Traffic impact assessments have taken place and there are assurances that a new road junction will minimise any pressure on the location.

City of Wolverhampton Strategic Director for Place, Tim Johnson said “CCFS is one of the City of Wolverhampton’s success stories and is an important cog in the Midlands Engine. It is a prime example of companies thriving in Wolverhampton where there is now £3.5bn of investment delivering jobs, prosperity and growth”.

In keeping with the business' commitment to supporting its community, local suppliers have been sourced for everything from office furniture to security systems. Staff will benefit from the best innovations in office layout planning, while the building will be protected by a variety of on-site security measures. Industry experts will advise on all aspects of IT and data protection.

Alan Cleary, Managing Director at CCFS, sees a great future in Wolverhampton for the business “We've come a long way in a short space of time and there's still more for us to do. Any business is only as good as its people. We've built a great team here which deserves the best in terms of career progression and working environment.”

“For the last two years we've been ranked in the top 10 of the Sunday Times 100 Best Companies to Work For. Hopefully next year we'll be celebrating top 10 again in our new offices”.

With plans for yet more expansion over the coming years, CCFS will also continue to occupy the space it already uses at Wolverhampton Business Park.

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How brokers are playing a key role in helping first time buyers purchase their dream home

17 May 2017

There’s an old saying popular among those who have been in the mortgage industry for a while. When applying for your first mortgage, how do you stand?

Answer: you don’t, you kneel.

This refers back to the days when owning your own home was not broadly considered a right, but a hard-won aspiration. First-time buyers scrimped and saved and went to their local community building society manager to ask for a mortgage.

I was reminded of this recently, following a report from the Building Societies Association, that highlighted just how much the mortgage market has changed since then.

It focused largely on the need for more flexibility on lending to those in retirement, but the research also laid out a future where first-time buyers would not be taking their first step up onto the property ladder until their late 30s or, more likely, early 40s. This future, they argued, is not too distant. This looks like it could be the reality facing would-be homeowners in just 13 years from now.

Separate research was also published this month by Legal & General, suggesting that the so-called Bank of Mum and Dad is set to be the UK’s ninth biggest mortgage lender by the end of this year – lending somewhere in the region of £6.5bn in 2017.

These studies reiterate what brokers know all too well – after decades of it getting easier to get a mortgage, it now takes more commitment, bigger deposits and better credit records than ever before to realise the dream of homeownership.

I think there is a tendency however to focus on the hardship involved, with this making for ‘better’ headlines in the national press. The reality is that getting on the housing ladder is still possible for a wide swathe of younger hopefuls.

1. Bank of Mum and Dad

This one is a bit of a misnomer – parents aren’t a bank and more often than not, they’re not lending via a mortgage to children. The vast majority of so-called Bank of Mum and Dad ‘lending’ is actually made up of gifted deposits. We see a good chunk of first-time buyer applications where parents or grandparents have given the applicant some or all of their deposit. This may be out of their own savings but not every family is so fortunate – or liquid – as to have several thousand pounds lying around.

This is where second charges are worth their weight – particularly if parents are reluctant to give up incredibly low lifetime tracker rates got before the financial crisis. Second charge rates have dropped significantly over the past two years, as have fees. For smaller capital raises, they are a viable and often competitive alternative option to a remortgage and allow parents and grandparents to give children a much needed helping hand into property ownership.

2. Help to Buy

The Government’s Help to Buy equity loan scheme is still in full operation – and will continue to be until at least 2020 - with thousands of hopeful buyers given the step up they need to realise their homeownership aspirations. The latest figures show that more than 259,000 people have bought a home using a Help to Buy scheme. Yet these loans still seem to be viewed as slightly second class to the traditional mortgage with many brokers who don’t specialise in them.

At Precise, we think Help to Buy is a critical part of the mortgage market and should be part of every broker’s arsenal to help first-time buyers. The scheme is available to buyers on new build properties and with the help of a five-year interest-free 20 per cent equity loan from the Government (40 per cent in London), borrowers with a 5 per cent deposit can benefit from the rock bottom mortgage rates reserved for those taking a 75 per cent loan-to-value mortgage. The high street lenders have a range of deals, but for borrowers with a less than perfect credit score, there are also options.

These are just two tools in a broker’s kit to help first-time buyers, yet both second charge and Help to Buy are still seen as specialist areas. But with house prices higher than ever, wage growth still under pressure and the spectre of inflation becoming less spectral every month, the financial reality facing first-time buyers is very different from that faced by first-timers even just over a decade ago.

Brokers have always helped first-time buyers make their dreams of owning a home a reality. Despite the tougher economic environment, this is still within their grasp – it just takes a little more imagination to get the finance sorted, something brokers have always proven good at.

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Precise Mortgages named one of the UK’s most inspiring companies

12 May 2017

Charter Court Financial Services Limited (CCFS), the owner of Precise Mortgages, has been named as one of the UK’s most inspiring companies in an influential report which showcases the country’s most dynamic businesses.

The Wolverhampton-based financial services company has been included in the London Stock Exchange Group’s 1,000 Companies to Inspire Britain 2017 report.

The report features small and medium-sized companies from more than 40 sectors which have demonstrated positive growth in revenue and strong performance in their areas of expertise.

Founded in 2008, it is the first time CCFS has been included in the report, and comes just months after it was ranked, for the second year running, in The Sunday Times 100 Best Companies to Work For. CCFS was named the third best company to work for in 2017, after featuring tenth on the list in 2016.

CCFS employs more than 450 people. It offers savings products which regularly feature at the top of the best buy tables, and is a top 20 UK mortgage lender.

Ian Lonergan, CEO of CCFS, commented: “We’re delighted to be named one of the London Stock Exchange Group’s 1,000 Companies to Inspire Britain 2017.

“To achieve recognition in such a prestigious publication less than 10 years after the company was founded is testament to the hard work and dedication everyone who works for the business has put in.”

Xavier Rolet, Chief Executive of the London Stock Exchange Group, highlighted CCFS as an example of how London’s dominance is being challenged by the West Midlands and other regions.

“CCFS is a successful specialist bank that is growing rapidly and has created more than 450 jobs in a sector which is traditionally associated with the Square Mile in the City of London,” he said.

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