As lockdown began in March this year, like every business we had no idea what to expect or what the future would look like for our industry. However, fast forward 3 months after a not-too-bumpy ride and we are busier than ever before!
Prior to the official lockdown we had already set all our office based team up to work remotely from home meaning we were all available on the phone and email for our customers from day one.
As expected we saw a reduction initially in the level of new enquiries coming through and it became increasingly difficult for our Processing Department to progress ongoing applications as valuations were put on hold, lenders pulled deals and many were operating on skeleton staff.
Our team worked tirelessly during this time, doing all they could to ensure our customers were informed and reassured.
“We are extremely proud of how quickly and professionally our team adapted to the changes and very much took it all in their stride. It wasn’t easy as many of them had never worked from home before and had to set up a makeshift office on their dining table, some also had the added pressure of trying to home school their children at the same time! Our team have been an absolute credit to Mortgage 1st and have enabled us to navigate a difficult and uncertain couple of months together, coming out the other side pretty much in one piece!” Jon Stones, Mortgage 1st Managing Director
The day the restrictions were lifted allowing physical valuations and house viewings to resume and estate agents reopened, it was like someone had flicked a switch and we were inundated with new enquiries in higher volumes than we’d ever received before, even prior to lockdown.
It was like someone flicked a switch!
We presumed this was an initial flurry of activity combined with the backlog that had built throughout the lockdown period, but the higher enquiry numbers have maintained at a similar level since. This offered us reassurance in the market and gave us the confidence to continue with our ambitious growth plans of increasing our adviser population from 15 to 20 by the end of the year.
Recruiting, interviewing, inducting and training new advisers (all done remotely) during a global pandemic felt in many ways a strange thing to be doing but it was absolutely the right decision and meant that by the 1st of July we had 5 new and experienced Mortgage & Protections Advisers ready to hit the ground running and help us to deal with the hundreds of new enquiries we continue to receive each week.
The majority of our advisers have always worked remotely and will continue to do so, never actually meeting their customers face-to-face. This model undoubtedly gave us an advantage during the lockdown period against many other firms that rely on face-to-face appointments. We can deal with the entire process from initial enquiry through to completion via email and telephone whilst offering a fast, reliable and personal service to our clients.
We are delighted to have welcomed Carl, Jason, Elliot, Chris & Hyat to the Mortgage team. For more about them visit our Meet The Team page.
As the first half of the year came to an end and we reviewed our overall performance its clear to see that the recent spike in new enquiries were far from tentative, the majority of those were from clients committed and actively looking to buy, sell, renovate or remortgage. This has led us to break our own record as June was the best month ever in the history of the company for the amount of lending submitted…
206 new applications submitted in June equating to £34.6m worth of lending!
Early signs indicate that we are going to continue to outperform recent years and have a very positive second half to the year.
Our team continues to work extremely hard as we all adapt to industry changes and learning to operate in a ‘new normal’. Our focus has always been to deliver excellent service to our customers and global pandemic or not that’s exactly what we have and will continue to offer.
Lisa Stones, Mortgage 1st HR & Marketing Director