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In the Spotlight with Paul Stringer of Norton Finance

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In the Spotlight with Paul Stringer of Norton Finance

 Paul Stringer, Managing Director of Norton Finance talks riding out recessions, his goals for 2012 and lost dreams of a F1 career…

1) Norton Finance has been around in the industry for a long time, when did the company first launch and could you tell us a little more about it?

The company was founded in 1974 by my father Keith Stringer and he is still active in his daily duties to this day. We started broking insurance and secured loans in a local office and gradually grew from there. We now have over 280 staff and cover products from all areas of financial services.

2) What do you think has been the secret of your longevity? Have you had to adapt and if so, how so?

I think the reason we have lasted so long is first of all down to the hard work and dedication of our staff many of whom have worked here for over ten years. Secondly, I feel the family business ethos we have instilled has a great effect and provides a great work ethic, which has enabled us to ride out three recessions during that time. Our willingness to change and adapt especially during the last recession has really helped, where other brokers stood still we made changes to expand our product range and secure the longevity of the company.

3) Your job title is Managing Director at Norton, what five key words would you use to describe your role?

Exciting, challenging, rewarding, diverse & hectic.

4) In light of the ongoing financial crisis, what do you think has been the biggest challenge the market has faced in recent years?

Adapting to the dramatic reduction in loan volumes and managing the transition to smaller monthly completion values, alongside constantly adding to our lender panel to ensure a whole of market product range. Changing to offer a range of products and a more comprehensive financial service offering to match the needs of the customer has been the key to success.

5) Aside from secured lending, what other financial services make up your portfolio?

The introducer side of our business is known as the “One Stop Shop”, by this we aim to provide a solution to every enquiry we receive. In addition to secured loans this we offer unsecured loans, all mortgage products (including our own funding), bridging loans, debt management, IVA’s, commercial finance, equity release, guarantor loans, life insurance and property rescue products, with more being added all the time.

6) What inspired you to get into the lending industry?

My father, and a sense of helping people out of difficulties when other lenders say no.

7) What is the perception of secured lending as portrayed in the mainstream press and do you think more needs to be done to change the stereotypical view of the industry?

Without a doubt the mainstream press still see secured loans as some sort of second class product, when now is more important then ever to realise the importance of the product and the huge benefits to client. With ever improving rates now from 6.9 per cent and one month early redemption penalties, a secured loan is often the best value product in the market. More needs to be done to inform consumers that a secured loan is often cheaper than many high street lenders products and will in a number of instances be cheaper than a remortgage taking into account ERCs.

8) What are your goals for Norton Finance during 2012?

For us to continue our growth as one of the largest finance brokers in the UK and firmly establish ourselves as the largest “B2B” broker in the UK with the most extensive range of products in the industry.

9) Regulation is always a big issue in the secured lending arena, do you think aspects of the MMR and the forthcoming FCA regulatory body will have a significant effect on the market?


I think it can if people allow it to – at Norton have been preparing ourselves for this for some time. Our vast experience and knowledge in the regulated first charge market will give us a huge advantage when the time does eventually come around. The MMR will impact on consumers’ ability to source a mortgage so looking at alternative options for the customer will be paramount to meeting their needs.

10) If you weren’t working in the secured lending arena, what do you think you would be doing instead?

Either some other area of financial services (this industry is in my blood) or working as a dogsbody in a Formula 1 team in the hope that one day I might get a drive in one of their cars!

 





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