What a year for the second charge market and also what a year for Brightstar Financial. As an industry, regardless on whose figures you look at, this has been a year of increasing volumes of business as the message of how effective second charge loans can be has really begun to strike home among brokers.
At the top of my wish list for Santa, apart from a Ferrari. I have put the importance of having a settled year in 2015. By that I mean that for the lending market to continue to really flourish, we need to have fewer alarm bells across the global economy next year. Will that happen? There are potential flashpoints wherever you look with the most immediate being the EU and its blind faith in more financial sleight of hand to keep the single currency afloat. Although we are not part of the currency, the shockwaves from one or more of its members failing to honour debt repayment, could have wider repercussions for the rest of us.
However, those of us who have survived the last downturn, tend to be optimists and I would hope that next year will be a stable one to allow the industry to continue to grow as it moves towards a fully regulated environment.
One person will be missing from our industry from mid January with the announcement this month that Simon Stern has decided to leave Prestige Finance. Simon is one of the unsung heroes of our industry, who has laboured over 30 years to promote and provide the best of second charge lending. However, I am sure he will not turn his back on the market he has done so much to champion. Certainly once his wife gets tired of having him round the house, I am in no doubt we shall see him again in 2015!
December has seen many a good news story in product terms, with no fewer than five lenders dropping rates and improving criteria. At the risk of repeating myself, rate reductions are great for the customer and reducing rates will always help us master brokers convert cases. But, doing things differently and bringing new and innovative products to the market is what we need for the market to continue to grow.
I recently had the pleasure of judging for the Loan Talk Awards and this year is looking like being even bigger and better with all of the categories very highly contested.
Next stop for me is a week in Dubai over the Christmas break to plan for 2015 and of course to sink a few glasses to celebrate the successes of 2014!
Merry Christmas and here’s to a prosperous 2015!
Bradley Moore is director of second charge lending at Brightstar Financial