Try Financial is essentially three businesses in one: we operate with an expanding network of appointed representatives; we act also as a Master Broker specialist for second charge mortgages, residential, buy to let, bridging, development, and all aspects of commercial finance; and we provide an independent whole of market mortgage, and protection advice service for consumers.
We provide access to an extremely wide range of customer journeys, including Sharia Property Finance having a permission from the FCA. Representatives, brokers, and consumers alike have access to much under one roof.
Where are you based and where do you operate geographically?
The business is based in Ipswich, Suffolk. However, our remit is the whole of the United Kingdom, and through the use of Zoom and other conference call software, we can have dialogue with customers whenever, and wherever they might be, including overseas.
What are the main issues impacting your local market?
Availability of property is said to be an issue. However, the latest statistics for Suffolk do show an increase in the number of 4 and 5 bedroomed properties available compared to June 2021 but, at the same time, the same source data shows reductions in the number of 3-, 2- and 1-bedroom properties being on the market.
The length of time properties have spent being for sale has also reduced by 21% in the same period. This is more likely to be due to a correction following the ending of the Stamp Duty and Land Tax holiday.
The feeling within the firm is that we have a significant number of clients, particularly first-time buyers, searching for property in what is a very competitive, understocked market. We work very closely with all of them to ensure that when they do need to move quickly, we are there and ready to support.
What challenges are you facing as a broker?
A rising interest rate market does make it more difficult for brokers, as fixed rate products are pulled at short notice. You would like more time but that never has been the case and still isn’t. Again, being close to your client or prospect really is key.
We are now in a period of choppy economic waters but, it is still a tough challenge for brokers everywhere to convince clients of the need to protect themselves, and their asset. It never ceases to surprise me how difficult sales seem to be for protection products, especially where property asset is owned jointly, and both incomes are needed to meet affordability.
What are the main opportunities for brokers in your area and nationally?
One of my own favourite industry sayings is, “people always need money”. Right now, the cost-of-living increase is biting hard into real incomes everywhere and, the price of borrowed money is on the way up.
Brokers have more cause and opportunity than ever to seek to review a client’s unsecured credit commitments, and consider whether it’s a fair outcome, at this point, to consolidate sensibly and appropriately, any of their client’s loans and cards into more a manageable, and lower secured loan payment. Household cashflow is everything right now.
If there are brokers reading this unsure of exactly what to do, then we, or other Master Brokers like ourselves, will gladly assist. Their clients will, quite possibly, need money and need it now.
Cash is being squeezed like it hasn’t been for quite some time, and this really is an important opportunity for all advisors to help clients keep their heads, as much as possible, above water and to keep earning themselves.
What could lenders do to further your business?
Talking to a lender – sales support staff, underwriters – seems to be an increasingly difficult task. Not all lenders I hasten to add, but there are some where this has taken a nosedive. Live chat is particularly more common this year, but at times incredibly inefficient, and somehow makes issues worse as the lender operative doesn’t appear to have much clue about your case, and you can spend hours going nowhere.
Again, while not necessarily typical, one lender, who will remain nameless, recently agreed to a request for a phone call from us to its processing centre, to determine exactly where processing was on a deal that was time critical.
The call was made but we were only to be told, in a very polite and customer friendly way, that while they could speak to us as the customer’s broker, since the onset of COVID-19 they could not discuss the position of the case with us!
The quickest way, they said, to obtain a case update, was for our client to ring their centre which, eventually, of course, they did! We couldn’t quite believe how unimportant we seemed to be. Nor did the level of embarrassment seem to be appreciated at all in us having to explain and persuade the necessity of all of this to our very busy client.
I thought (naively perhaps) this attitude towards intermediaries was something long gone but, apparently it is not. I hope, truly, as the year progresses, senior staff at lending organisations everywhere take stock quickly of the service they are providing to brokers and, for the benefit of all, re-double their efforts to provide us with the very best service they possibly can.
What sets you apart from the competition?
Simply, the range of expertise and experience in our business, means the spread of product and services on offer to customers and brokers (representatives or not) under one roof, is extremely attractive and difficult to match.
We operate as a close knit, family run business, built on an ethos of honesty and hard work, where there is access always to the owner-directors.
We always do our best to be inclusive of everyone and their needs. We cannot always provide what’s required or wanted, but it is never, ever, for the lack of trying.