A number of broker firms are defying the coronavirus downturn and ploughing on with plans to expand their businesses.
Purchase enquiries and mortgage lending took an unprecedented hit as the country went into lockdown in March.
However, mortgage advice will be more important than ever in the coming months, according to company owners who are recruiting for new members of staff.
Chesterfield-based Mortgage 1st took on two new advisers last month and has recently offered positions to a further three.
The new brokers will take the total adviser count to 20.
Lisa Stones, HR and marketing director at the company, said: “Continued growth is a huge part of our company vision and even though we have had to adapt quickly, like all businesses have during the past few months, this hasn’t stopped us – we’ve just become more virtual.”
Broker firm The Mortgage Mum has recently started a recruitment drive, despite the coronavirus pandemic.
Founder Sarah Tucker said at a time of “real negativity” she wanted to provide something positive.
She said: “I wanted to publicly show my faith in the industry, and its resilience, and put my money where my mouth is.
“This lockdown is an opportunity for us all to reflect on where we are in our lives, and where we want to be.
“Some brokers are not in the right company for them.”
The firm particularly wants to open the industry up to women.
Tucker added: “Some mothers are struggling to juggle work and children, and find a balance. Some women are ready for a new challenge, and a new career.
“We are here to show them the seed of an idea, and give them a clear path to follow, to give them the courage to take action, which could lead them to a huge positive career and life change.
“I am passionate about helping women enter and thrive in this industry; and I have loved interviewing and recruiting during this time.”
Advice more important than ever
Corby MacDonald, managing director of firm Vickers Young is also planning to expand his firm with new advisers.
The company currently has three self-employed brokers who already worked from home and have continued to do so during the pandemic.
MacDonald said he sees the coronavirus as a “blip” and plans to grow should continue.
As with many firms, activity has picked up since the property market reopened for viewings and moves.
MacDonald told Mortgage Solutions: “I’m determined to grow the number of people across the country that work for us. If they’re hungry there’s plenty of business out there.”
Mortgage brokers offer a valued service and MacDonald said he would hate to see people walking away from the industry because of the coronavirus.
He added: “I’m positive for the future. I think we will grow the business and lot of people that I’m competing against will too.”
Mike Brown, director at Crystal Clear FS is currently the only broker at the company and is now recruiting for another mortgage and protection adviser to join the firm.
He admits that Covid-19 threw his plans a little, but already feels that the market is coming out the back of it.
Brown’s future plan is to diversify the company into offering advice on all areas of personal finances, including insurance, equity release and investments.
He envisions taking on an equity release specialist in the coming six months or year, and in perhaps the next two or three years bringing wealth advisers on board.
He said: “While there’s challenges in the market, there’s a greater need for advice.
“People need support and there should be a massive demand for mortgage advice – with regards to things like furlough and credit commitments. Now is the time to grow the business.”
There could possibly be some advisers who currently work on their own and may feel overwhelmed by the coronavirus and will be looking to join established firms, Brown said.
He pointed out that there are a lot of advisers who were not around in 2008 and will be looking for support from those who were.