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In the spotlight with Alex Mollart of 1st Stop

In the spotlight with Alex Mollart of 1st Stop

Loan Talk sits down for a chat with Alex Mollart, Chief Executive Officer at 1st Stop Group, to find out more about the secured lender arm 1st Stop Home Loans
1. Could you tell us a bit more about the 1st Stop Group and your role there?

1st Stop Group offers loans from £300 - £15,000 for homeowners and tenants who choose not to or cannot borrow from mainstream lenders. There is a large pool of such customers who are essentially creditworthy but may be 
excluded due to a recent bump in the road in their credit history or have little or no equity in their property.
The Group offers secured and unsecured loans through brokers and introducers and also has a car finance division offering HP contracts through nationwide dealerships and brokers.
As CEO I spend most of my time working with our funding Partners which include Banks and Specialist Finance Houses or developing product lines to facilitate more lending in our chosen space. 

Picture: Alex Mollart, Chief Executive Officer at 1st Stop Group


2. You started your career at Yorkshire Bank and at Cattles Plc – what led you to co-found the 1st Stop Group?

After spending ten years working at Welcome and Dial4aloan, myself and a few colleagues were experiencing corporate fatigue and wanted to build our own business away from the structure and constraints of PLC life. Ten years further on, the majority of the original team are still with us today.

3. Did you always want to be involved in the world of finance? When did you realise you did?

I didn't really know what I wanted to do. Unfortunately, I didn't have much time for College so I decided to leave after just one term. I spent a few months working as a chef before finding a job with the Yorkshire Bank and completing my banking exams. It's at that point I moved to Welcome in its early days and I found something I loved doing: lending money! 

4. 1st Stop Group celebrates its 10th anniversary this June – how has the firm changed over the years?

1st Stop Group has been many things over the last 10 years. We started by helping clients buy their council houses, then we added loan brokering during the boom. We had a mortgage broker, a debt management firm, an insolvency practice and our own lending arm. Whilst we tried many things to varying degrees of success, our own loan books always performed the best. After the credit crunch, we simplified what we did and decided to concentrate on being a lender. The business has not looked back since, we now have significant and robust funding lines, our lending is up 75 per cent year-on-year and we have recently doubled our office space in our Blackpool Head Office.

5. What are your interests outside work? Do you have any hobbies?

I enjoy fishing and shooting during the seasons. To keep fit I box most mornings before work at a friend’s gym. I also love a good night out which is handy when you live in Blackpool! We really like to entertain our brokers in Blackpool and have had many a memorable night with them there.6. 1st Stop Home Loans launched its offering into Northern Ireland earlier this year – what has the response been like? 

Northern Ireland has been a success, writing the first deal the month we launched. Offering loans in Northern Ireland is one way in which we can help convert more loans for our brokers. We're working hard on new products and new market leading processes to try and squeeze every deal we can out of our introducers’ leads. We expect to make more exciting announcements in the very near future.

7. What one thing would people be surprised to know about you?

I'm a black belt in taekwondo and jujitsu.

8. With the recent regulatory changes what are the biggest challenges that face the secured loans industry now?

Clearly, the industry has had to work hard in recent times to make the necessary changes but what has been comforting is seeing how seriously lenders and brokers are taking the new regime and how engaged everybody is in trying to work within the spirit of it. There appears to be a real confidence that as things settle down the changes will prove to be much better for our industry.

9. If you could ask for advice from any famous figure, who would it be and what would you ask?

Warren Buffett – got any tips for the market? 

10. If you were stranded on a desert island, what’s the one thing you’d want with you?

It's a sad answer but definitely my phone. Like most people I'm totally lost without it. 



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