Last Thursday was a day of heightened activity as the Bank of England raised the base rate to 4.25%, its highest level in 14 years. Anticipating an increase in enquiries from concerned clients seeking guidance on how these changes may impact them, I braced myself for a busy day. And so it proved to be.
My initial task, before the rate hike announcement, was to craft a communication to an underwriter regarding a complex case submitted the previous day. Due to issues with the lender's system, I had to revisit the case multiple times before it could be submitted.
Given the intricacies involved, I believe it pays to furnish the underwriter with a comprehensive brief, as was the norm in traditional banking before the advent of electronic processes. This ensures the key points are communicated and also makes the underwriters' lives a little easier.
Shortly after, a client contacts me, worried about their mortgage's maturity following the rate rise. I allay their concerns by reassuring them that their current deal remains valid until the end of October, hoping that, by then, the economic climate will have improved. With their previous rate starting with a one, I brace them for what is to come, and we agree to reconvene in May to explore alternative options.
A significant portion of my day involves researching cases, aided by an experienced team that handles the administrative side to the business. One such case involves a client whose mortgage payment is set to increase by roughly £500 per month on renewal. The client wants to explore the option of converting part of the loan onto an interest-only basis to keep her payments the same and I have found a solution. I think we will be having similar conversations with others in the months ahead as mortgage shock takes grip nationally.
Another case involves a couple referred to me who hold a tracker mortgage with a major bank but are interested in exploring if there are any better options available. After conducting a preliminary analysis, it appears that they have viable alternatives to improve the terms with their existing lender even before exploring the wider market. I contact their lender for further clarity before proceeding.
A new client, whose buy-to-let deal is approaching its end date, is then referred to me by an existing client. I outline our approach, encompassing an assessment of options available from the client's lender as well as those obtainable from the broader market. Satisfied with the process, the client engages my services.
In the afternoon, I address alerts from Newspage, a service that enables journalists to seek opinions on changes within the mortgage industry. We joined the service last September when everything went crazy and have not looked back. We have received several new enquiries from our media presence including a German television station that wants to do a piece discussing UK inflation. It appears that our current inflation predicament is gaining the interest of those beyond our shores.
I put a post on LinkedIn about The Mortgage Conference in April where I shall be a speaker thanks to the London Institute of Banking and Finance and my network New Leaf. Upon reviewing my LinkedIn page, I observe that an old MBA colleague has recently scrutinised my profile.
I jokingly reprimand them for spying on me and suggest they call me via phone. We proceed to catch up on each other's activities over the past half-decade, discussing how time flies, and how we should seize the moment. We discuss the mortgage market and I joke that he needs my services more than I need his. He is a urologist.
Later, my wife and daughter pay me a visit, providing a welcome break from the day's activities. My spouse had an exam this week, necessitating my increased involvement in babysitting duties. I have been told that looking after your own child is called parenting and you cannot babysit your own child, but I disagree.
Before concluding the day, a client contacts me about the expiration of their buy-to-let mortgage. As they hold the property under a limited company, I engage their lender to ascertain the alternatives available before exploring additional options.
Since all the recent rate increases, refinancing and portfolio expansion opportunities for landlords and property investors have become more restrictive, and costs have increased significantly. Over the years, the majority of my business was with landlords and property investors but that has swung back to residential, which is our bread and butter. Landlords are really getting it in the neck at the moment and I hope the conditions improve for them.
As I wind down for the day, I delve into a challenging case for a limited company director. My objective is to explore using net profits after tax and salary instead of salary and dividends. Despite the complexities involved, I relish finding innovative solutions to meet my clients' financing needs.
On my way home, I contact a fellow professional, an accountant with whom I collaborate closely. We discuss market trends and potential client scenarios. This weekend, I plan to work on a project aimed at promoting financial literacy. It's something I'm passionate about because so many people don't realise their options and suffer in silence. But first, I have been told I have to help my wife clean the house so I'll be spending a lot of time hiding. The joys of living with a lawyer.