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

In the spotlight with Darrell Walker of Prestige Finance

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In the spotlight with Darrell Walker of Prestige Finance

Loan Talk caught up with Darrell Walker, Head of Product and New Business at Prestige Finance, to discuss the lender's future plans.

Give us an idea of your previous experience and why you decided to work for Prestige?

I left school at 16 and joined NatWest on their Management Development Programme. I now have nearly 24 years experience in banking and financial services and developed my career from the bottom up, through branch banking, intermediary lending, business development, relationship management and senior leadership roles.

I decided to join Prestige for two reasons.  Firstly, it’s one of the longest standing and key second charge lenders in the UK and has a heritage it can be proud of. Secondly, it’s a business built around partnerships and delivering, and providing products and services that our partners want and need.

What developments do we expect to see in 2015 from Prestige?

With Prestige being part of OneSavings Bank, it gives us the opportunity to really leverage the strengths and expertise of the Group and it's our desire to continue to deliver well priced products in our chosen market as well as looking to develop new product opportunities. We have recently released a range of fixed rate products as well as enhancing our prime and large loan range. But we have some really exciting projects that will deliver some eye catching propositions to help our partners write more business coming very soon.

What makes you different from other second charge lenders?

Competition is a good thing and it's great for our industry that pricing as well as innovation is high on the agenda. But we at Prestige pride ourselves on our approach to relationships backed up with a very open and transparent proposition. We also strive to develop our products in partnership with our master brokers - we don't give them what we think they want - we talk to them and where possible deliver products and services that they truly want and need. We are also fortunate to be part of a bigger group, a specialist lender that is making a big impact, with its modern approach to the specialist lending market. This also brings great opportunities and this space!

Did you always want to be in finance?

I possibly still hold the record for the youngest Bank Manager in the UK! I was the manager of the school bank, a sub branch of Midland Bank in 1989! I was also fortunate enough to have part of my work experience at Lloyds before leaving school that cemented my hope of working in a bank when I left. I did have the opportunity to become a footballer as I was offered an apprenticeship at Derby County...but my mum and dad wanted me to get qualifications and a proper career!

What one thing would you change about the second charge industry and why?

Tough question! I suppose my desire would be, like others, to continue to promote the merits of our industry and the opportunities it brings for the wider lending community. Education and awareness is key to our continued success.

Do you think there is a rise in commercial loans from second charge players in the market? Why?

Definitely. Often the lines between second charge lending, bridging, and commercial can be blurred. Brokers themselves are not always sure where a particular deal fits and this is where the expertise of master brokers comes in to play. We work closely with our Interbay colleagues (also part of the OneSavings Bank Group) to help brokers find the most appropriate solution for their clients.

What, in your opinion, will be the biggest challenges for the secured loans market this year?

As I mentioned before education and awareness are still big challenges...and also a huge opportunity! EMCD is also a topic on everyone's agenda, both for lenders and brokers, and it's imperative that we continue to work together to ensure that we come out the other end as strong as ever.


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