Stonebridge, the mortgage and insurance network, has today revealed a continuation of its recent record monthly lending volumes having processed over £1 billion worth of mortgage applications during September.
The network said that its member firms placed over 5,600 lending applications in September, up 19% year-on-year, and that – at the end of August – its year-to-date lending volumes were up 7% on the same period in 2019.
Stonebridge said its appointed representative (AR) firms were continuing to maximise the opportunities presented by strong mortgage market conditions including the post-lockdown boost in demand and the impact of the stamp duty holiday announced in July.
Stonebridge also announced another strong performance in adviser recruitment – by the end of September the network’s total adviser headcount had risen to 733, with 13 new starters recruited by existing AR firms using the support of Stonebridge’s recruitment team.
It anticipates that recruitment will continue at the same pace – at the end of September Stonebridge had over 150 applications either pending authorisation and onboarding, or in the initial application process.
The network said it would continue to give strong support to organic growth by existing AR firms looking to recruit more advisers to meet growing demand – since the start of the year, 59 advisers have been recruited by existing Stonebridge member firms.
Stonebridge also gave an update on the continued investment it is making into Revolution – its wholly-owned trading platform – with further development work taking place on its multi-phase restyling project. In addition to this, new functionality which helps advisers source protection more immediately, and further improvements including document updates, a CPD import from Stonebridge CAL and the integration of the system with Legal & General SmartQuote.
As part of its ongoing business planning activity, and in light of the current restrictions put in place by the Government, Stonebridge has also increased its phone support to firms, increased remote training on Revolution, facilitated additional external training from lenders and providers, and has introduced greater numbers of its protection masterclasses.
Rob Clifford, Chief Executive of Stonebridge, commented: “We’re very pleased to see a continuance of our AR firms’ excellent mortgage and protection results which have been progressing well ahead of forecast, since the first lockdown was eased back in May.
“Mortgage application numbers are performing particularly strongly, and our completion levels continue to grow every week. In that sense, it has been an excellent recovery and we anticipate this will continue to strengthen particularly over the next two quarters.
“The ongoing support we are able to offer firms extends into proactively helping them to recruit more advisers in order to meet demand and their own firm’s growth ambitions, and again we have seen excellent levels of organic growth within firms, with the majority of new Stonebridge advisers joining our existing members.
“Market growth is currently accelerating the recruitment success of our members, however, our recruitment and business support teams are able to help them with their short-, medium- and long-term plans, plus how they get the best advisers and what they should be considering when looking at increasing the size and shape of their business.
“We’ll continue to support those firms who wish to grow in this way and to outline and provide a range of opportunities – mortgage, protection and GI – which are available to them through Stonebridge.”