Meet the broker…. Manuka Mortgages

Meet Carl Atkinson, director of mortgages and protection at Manuka Mortgages

Tell us a bit about your business.

Manuka Mortgages is a mortgage brokerage that provides access to all property related lending products, as well as insurances and other financial services. 

One of our strongest selling points is that we don’t charge any broker fees for what we do. We pride ourselves on the belief that people should have access to quality mortgage advice without the need for upfront fees.

In addition to our fee promise, something that I’m incredibly proud of is that I personally look after all my customers from start to finish.

I handhold them all the way through the process, from the first interaction, to either getting the keys or completing a re-mortgage.

I also like my customers to know that the service doesn’t end there. Questions around home ownership, insurances and other matters can arise any time, so I always make myself available for any queries.

I see the customer relationship as a lifelong support service which isn’t always about fee generating activity.

Where are you based and where do you operate geographically?

I’m currently based in a developing office at my home in Lancashire. In keeping with our Manuka Mortgages brand, our office is affectionately known as “The Hive” which we hope to have fully finished by the middle of 2023. 

On completion we will welcome the opportunity to offer clients the option of face-to-face advice.

Geographically, I service the whole of the UK, so it’s not just the local vicinity. Having that variety is great and it’s been lovely to assist people from all over the country.

What are the main issues impacting your local market?

The Bank of England base-rate increases and the general cost of living is hitting the market hard, but we appreciate these issues are impacting everyone.

The most prominent change that I’m seeing is a considerable reduction in house purchases and the confidence to commit to buying new property.

As rates continue to drive upwards, unfortunately this trend will almost certainly get worse.  

I believe it’s just a case of navigating through the coming months and hopefully the Bank of England and the Government will provide us with mechanisms for a more stable market.

What challenges are you facing as a broker?

I would say the biggest challenge for brokers at the moment is that we are being absolutely inundated with lender emails, changes to lending policy, affordability criteria and rates being withdrawn with very little notice. It’s all systems go!

Thankfully, lender timescales have become much better in recent weeks as they are not seeing as much traffic as they were previously.

Probably the most frustrating thing is the very little notice in withdrawing products from the market and as well as this, not knowing how quickly lenders will return to market with repriced products.

What are the main opportunities for brokers in your area and nationally?

The biggest opportunity at present comes through re-mortgage traffic, not just in the local area but nationally.

People need to establish a sense of stability in such turbulent financial times and understanding re-mortgage options can often provide the required assurance.

Due to the market differences, I’m also finding myself discussing a lot more options around variable rates and trackers than would previously have been the case.

Depending upon a customer’s circumstances these can present a viable option, as although these products can fluctuate, they are priced much more competitively.

What could lenders do to help further your business?

I think giving brokers further notice on product withdrawals is a key message for lenders at the moment – not just for me but for brokers up and down the country.

As things stand, you just hit panic stations as soon as you get a lender email. You’ve often worked hard to place your customer with a lender, and you’re then given unrealistic timeframes to get it over the line.

The current structure doesn’t support the delivery of fair and reasonable customer outcomes which should always be the consideration.

Having additional notice periods on these product withdrawals would be really helpful.

What sets you apart from the competition?

I pride myself on the fact that my business has grown by word of mouth, solely on referrals, it’s all built on the foundation of trust.

One of the biggest factors as well is the fact that we are fee free, especially in these current times of turmoil that we find ourselves in.

With increased energy costs and cost-of-living, it’s nice to think that we offer access to help combatting cost of living problems, without inadvertently adding to them.

If I can help somebody without having to charge them for renewing the mortgage that’s one less expense they’ve got to worry about.

How should potential borrowers contact you?

Potential borrowers can contact us via phone on 0800 640 6240

Alternatively, they can reach out through our website at:

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