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In the Spotlight with Andy Macmillan of The Secured Loan Network

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In the Spotlight with Andy Macmillan of The Secured Loan Network

Loan Talk sat down with Andy to get his thoughts on the Scottish market, the biggest challenges he faces and his admiration for Phillip George...

1) Could you tell us a bit about The Secured Loan Network and your role there?

 We have been in the business for over 12 years now but have recently gone through a rebranding exercise to better reflect what we offer and that we deal predominantly as a business to business company

We serve the financial services industry by being a specialist within the second charge and commercial environment.  My role is to build relationships with financial advisors and develop new relationships.

2) What is your background and how did you get into the secured loan market?

I spent 18 years in the Air Force traveling around the country and developed many skills in doing so.  In 1999 my brother in law was expanding his secured loan brokerage and because I was leaving the Air Force at that time, he gave me the opportunity. I then began the process of adjusting to civilian life. 

He was a good teacher and found myself hungry for more. We rapidly grew the business, working my way through the different levels from humble beginnings in underwriting through to sales and on to my current position as Business Development Director.

3) If you had to describe the Scottish market in five words, what would you say?

A lonely place to be.

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

 Ensuring that financial advisors see the benefit of secured loans.  Many still see the secured loan industry as a dirty subject, instead of looking at the benefits it brings. Many will still turn away those clients without exploring beyond a remortgage or further advance.

5) What do you think is the biggest difference between running a secured loan brokerage in Scotland compared to the rest of the UK?

 We do operate on a national level but business in Scotland is very keenly contested. There are fewer lenders lending in Scotland which means some clients are blocked from obtaining finance at a competitive rates, especially in the medium to heavy adverse sector.
6) Which figure in the industry (past or present) do you most admire?

Phillip George. He has inspired me with his forward thinking and the more I look into what he did with his time on this fair land, the more he impresses me. With his experience with FNB and now Shawbrook Bank, he is a breath of fresh air in the industry. In fact, I once heard some one describe him as King Midas; every thing he touches turns to gold, which for a lender I found quite funny.

7) If you could have any super-power in the world what would it be?

It would be the ability to heal.

8) In your experience, what are the most common reasons people want to take out a secured loan for?

The most common reason is for consolidation of debts mainly to make life easier in these troubled times.

9) If you could only take one thing on a desert island with you, what would it be?

A dingy – I would hate to be alone.

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

 As I have touched upon above, a lot of advisors are firmly of the opinion that second charge lending is still expensive and unfair to clients. Many are not aware of the change in legislation which takes away high penalties for loans, for example. However, more does need to be done to open the market up to even more advisors. 


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