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Do you expect to see less or more second charge mortgage lenders in 2018?

In the Spotlight with Darrell Walker

In the Spotlight with Darrell Walker

Loan Talk speaks to Darrell Walker, Head of Intermediary Distribution at The Lending Wizard, to find out what he has been up to in the past six months since joining the company...

What have you been up to since being appointed Head of Intermediary Distribution at The Lending Wizard?

It's been a whirlwind of activity over the past six months but also a thoroughly enjoyable new challenge. We really want to ensure that we understand exactly what our brokers want and expect from us, so a lot of time has been spent out and about talking to intermediaries. It’s vital for us to understand what's important to them and to deliver a service that adds value in the long term. It's been very hands on!

How have you continued to develop the intermediary aspect of the loan sourcing tool?
We are extremely proud of the online portal and technology that we have developed for intermediaries, and the recent revamp has made it even easier for brokers to use and to get the information they need. We have also partnered with some of the most recognised and established brands in the UK market and have developed a market leading system that instantly determines the most appropriate products for each individual client - all this using a 'soft footprint’ to underwrite and score all loan enquiries without leaving a trace that could negatively affect clients’ credit ratings. We have also introduced a referral service for unusual cases or large loans and can provide a tailored service to meet the individual broker needs.

How has the company grown in the last three months in the secured loan industry?
The wider company has seen our secured completion volumes go from strength to strength over the last three months, increasing steadily each month from around £3 million in June to almost £6m in August. This growth has largely come from focusing on providing an improved process to our customers.

What is your background and how did you get into the secured loans market?
I have over 22 years of banking and financial services experience and I am extremely proud to have developed my career from the bottom up, having joined NatWest straight from school on the MDP programme. The potential at The Lending Wizard is huge, so when the opportunity came along to join the team, I jumped at it.

With reports showing that remortgaging is on a steep rise, how do you think it will affect the secured loans market?
The rise in remortgaging, and the growth of the credit market should be viewed as good news. Now that all forms of secured lending come under the same FCA umbrella, brokers are not only able to, but obliged to consider a second charge as a viable option when giving holistic mortgage advice. There are many scenarios and circumstances where a second charge loan is the best advice instead of a traditional remortgage, and this change should see more of these situations realised.

As secured loans companies have got their landing slots for full permissions now – do you think we will see a noticeable change in the market as to who will or won’t gain full permissions?
The FCA regulation is a welcome change because it endorses the value of the industry and ensures that everyone is operating in the customers’ interests. Any companies who don’t conform to this brief are likely to be restricted by the regulator, making the industry a healthier place for the remaining firms and their customers.

If you could have any other job, what would it be?
That's a tough one! As a kid I wanted to be a weatherman, chef or footballer! But as a family we love to travel so I'll go with pilot, or Rory Mcllroy's caddie!

What exciting things do you have planned at The Lending Wizard for the rest of the year?

We have just held our first ever charity golf day in aid of our charity of the year, St Ann's Hospice in Greater Manchester which was both exciting and very rewarding. We want to continue building the brand and keep focusing on doing the right things well and providing a service and proposition that intermediaries want and need.

And lastly -what one thing could you never live without?

This one is easy: my family.

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