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

In the Spotlight with Tom Garratt of Omega Secured Loans

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In the Spotlight with Tom Garratt of Omega Secured Loans

Loan Talk caught up with Tom Garratt, Head of Omega Secured Loans, to discuss the second charge market and what 2016 has in store for Omega.
What is your role at Omega and what does it consist of?
Secured Loan Director – I run the secured loan arm of the Omega Group.
What is your previous experience?
I’ve worked in the secured loan market for 18 years now and have pretty much filled every position from new business calls to company owner. In the last 10 years, I have predominantly worked in introducer-focused businesses, meaning I fully understand how important it is to deliver a continued high service to our introducing partners. 
How do you think MCD changes will affect the second charge mortgage industry in 2016?
I believe it will provide a huge opportunity for introducers and brokers alike. For those individuals and companies who embrace it and do not run scared, there is huge potential for high volume and quality business to be written.
What would you ban in the seconds market?
A lot is changing so it’s a hard one to answer. I think it’ll be fairer to readdress that question in the middle of the year.
Do you think the seconds market is overcrowded and why?
In my opinion, it’s nowhere near the size it should be and a long way off where it was at its peak. So, in short, no I feel it has huge potential to grow further.
What is the most interesting case you have dealt with at Omega?
I’d say the commercial team underwrite some really interesting deals on a daily basis, but on the secured side we recently had a client unable to complete on a buy-to-let property as they had run out of money and therefore had insufficient funds to do so. The property was habitable, had a tenant in waiting with assured shorthold tenancy signed, however most lenders would not touch it until the property was actually occupied and being rented out.  
We managed to get the deal agreed using both the potential income, which would satisfy the required criteria once in place, in addition to the client’s existing income which covered the loan plus both mortgage payments. It’s these common sense decisions that allow the industry to stand apart in the right way from the main stream mortgage market, and I think it’s important to retain this no matter what regulatory changes we experience.
What do you think there is a gap in the market for?
There are gaps in the market certainly, mainly in the 70-85% LTV bracket. Personally, I think, once the industry gets through the next few months and the imminent changes have had time to settle, we’ll see a lot of new innovative products being launched and, through our relationships with lenders, we will be able to bring these to market.
What exciting developments do we expect to see from Omega this year?
Although the Omega Group has been established for 23 years, the secured company is still in its infancy in comparison, so we have big expansion plans with new personnel being brought in, with a continued emphasis on service and a manual personal approach. At the moment, we’re probably a quarter full on where we’d ideally like to be, but we’re only looking to employ people who we believe fit into and will uphold our company beliefs.
How has Omega grown since your arrival? 
Omega Secured has gone from newly formed to an established, highly thought of B2B broker. We’re not ones to shout about what we do on a daily basis on social media, we’re more Bobby Moore than that. Actions speak much louder in our world.
Do you think there needs to be more education on second charge mortgages? 
Yes! First, there is the acceptance of the introduction into the mortgage market, then focus needs to be on mortgage advisers when they realise what fantastic opportunities there are available to them and their clients. 

We recently rolled out a series of workshops which were thoroughly worthwhile for everyone and really well received. The more brokers that engage with the introducer market the better. We want to continue to grow awareness in the market, work closely with our introducing partners and work with real people and real businesses in a personal manner. 

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