Stonebridge Group, the mortgage and insurance network, has today (14th June 2018) announced its best ever month for mortgage applications with its advisers last month seeking £800 million of loans for clients.
May’s figures showed a considerable 16% month-on-month increase from April, with the previous best month for Stonebridge being back in February this year.
Stonebridge’s year-to-date figures for mortgage applications also show an overall 16% increase on the same period in 2017.
The network puts the increase in application business down to an increase in productivity from its advisers and AR firms, plus a 4% increase in the average mortgage applied for.
Mortgage application business was split between 55% purchases and 45% remortgages/product transfers.
The record month shows Stonebridge Group bucking the wider market trend with the Bank of England recently announcing that the number of new mortgage ‘commitments’ agreed by lenders had fallen to £61.1 billion in Q1 2018, a 5.9% drop on the previous quarter. This was the lowest amount since Q1 2016.
The network has close to 550 active advisers, spread across 250 AR partner firms; a further 16 advisers are currently in the network’s pipeline and will be brought under its umbrella shortly.
Jo Carrasco, Business Partnerships Director at Stonebridge Group, commented: “Despite some of the general market figures coming out of the Bank of England for recent months, and the year to date, we have had a very strong start to the year in terms of mortgage activity. Our applications continue to move upwards and to post a record month in May, following similar activity levels throughout 2018 is very pleasing.
“Productivity from advisers within the Stonebridge Group is predominantly the reason for this, coupled with an increase in the average loan size, and it’s clear there is a growing demand for mortgage advice from the general public, particularly given the increased complexity and the fact that clients want access to the whole of market.
“It’s for this reason that we are worried by some of the measures proposed in the FCA’s recent Mortgages Market Study Interim Report. The benefits of advice should be clear to all, and the fact the regulator appears to think lenders have over-egged the pudding in terms of following MMR is not helpful. Our advisers provide a quality service with the added protection that advice offers; for the regulator to be supportive of a process which pushes more consumers via direct channels and makes it easier to conduct execution-only business is a retrograde step, and should be resisted by all within our industry.”