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Is this really news? I firmly

believe that it isnt, but the
media hype surrounding
the introduction of the
MMR seems to tell a
different story.

Ivan Gould, Chief Executive,

Buckinghamshire Building
Society, June 2014
Under the Mortgage
Market Review, which came
into force on 26 April,
prospective borrowers
now have to prove that
they can afford to repay


The current
Market, a classic
case of supply and

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Mobile talent

So, lenders are now

responsible for evidencing
affordability is this really
such a shock? From a small
lenders viewpoint we are
always concerned about
risking our Members capital
and try to treat every case
on its merits as if we were
advancing our ownmoney.
However, perhaps this
hasnt always been the case
across the financial services
sector as a whole and, if
affordability checks have
been skimped in the past,
then I can fully understand
where the Regulator is
coming from. Perhaps
they are right to insist
upon more rigid checks
However, care is required
as to how far we go with
all of this MMR hype,
particularly with regard to
discretionary spending.
Most people will cut
back on what they see as
discretionary spending
in times of an income
squeeze, especially if
this is to protect the roof
over their heads. On
many occasions I have
seen mortgage payments

preferred ahead of
credit card and other
As always, the devil is
in the detail. Take Sky
TV for instance is this
a necessity in times of
financial strain? For some
it will be and others not.
Should we be able to trust
our borrowers to make that
I think we also need to
be cautious regarding
the need for crystal ball
gazing. Its all well and
good to enquire about
likely future events, but
unexpected occurrences
will still keep happening!
If there was no risk in
lending money then there
wouldnt be a variety of
charges for it. There are
lots of unknown unknowns
redundancy, divorce and
the possibility of accidental
children to name but
three! What is certain is
For some, the MMR will
mean the collection of
much more customer
data and the involvement
of intermediaries in
more cases. Personally I
see this as a good thing,
provided the advice given
is of good quality and value
In the early stages of

discussion relating to
the MMR I was at a
seminar where one of the
other participants was a
larger lender. They were
challenging the need to
see bank statements and
quizzing me as to what
we did with them when
we got them. I answered
that, for instance, we
compared the car loan
on the budget planner to
the bank statements to
evidence both the amount
of the payment and also
that it was going through
that bank account. They
also validated monthly
income rather than seeing
individual payslips. The
comment I got was that
this lender didnt have the
staff to undertake such
an exercise and their
costs would rise if they did
undertake those checks.
They then stated that 95%
of their applications went
through without touching
the sides. Might I suggest
that their fall out rate will
now be somewhat higher as
they have to checkmore?!
Oh, times-they-are-achanging.
Ivan Gould, Chief Executive,
Buckinghamshire Building
Society, June 2014

This article is the opinion of the author and not necessarily the Society

The current Recruitment Market,

a classic case of supply and demand
In 2013 we saw a gradual, but marked, increase in recruitment levels throughout the year.
Business Leaders throughout the Retail, Mutual and Mortgage sector spoke to us about the
increased demand for Mortgage products as the housing market gathered pace and of course
the need to prepare for the implementation of the Mortgage Market Review. In 2014, all of that
slow growth changed.

Increased demand
The first quarter of 2014 saw a
relative explosion in demand across
many areas, but particularly anything
related to Mortgages, something I am
sure comes as no surprise. We have
seen strong demand across Mortgage
Underwriting (both Residential and
Commercial), Qualified Mortgage
Advisors and Sales & Marketing
roles as lenders look to forge deeper
relationships with their broker
networks. We do expect the trend
to continue and in recent months
have seen increased appetite for
commercial lending as well.
This is certainly backed up by the
economy as a whole showing
consistent growth and the jobs
website showing a 28%
rise in advertisements in April,
compared to the same period

Limited supply of
Talent, pressure
We have witnessed more counteroffers in the first half of 2014 than
probably in the whole of the last 5
years, a sure sign that the balance of
power (when it comes to recruitment)
is shifting back toward the candidate.
We are stressing the need to speed
up the recruitment process, good
candidates will no longer have to wait
for opportunities to come along, they
are telling us that roles are coming to
them and are often getting more than
one firm offer.
This is backed up by a report released
by KPMG (in conjunction with our
trade body, the Recruitment &
Employment Confederation REC).
The report shows 37.7% of employers
had fewer candidates available to

them than in the previous month,

forcing companies to offer higher
starting salaries and more creative
reward packages.
REC director of policy and
professional services Tom Hadley
says that employers are learning to
be more flexible in their approach
to hiring, with recruiters having to
manage their expectations around
recruitment times and availability
of suitable candidates. Over the
last few years, hiring managers have
been used to getting people in within
a week or two and with relatively
little effort, he said. Thats not the
case anymore. Now theyre having
to be proactive in their approach,
maybe look at their recruitment
processes, and realise this is a
candidate-driven market. Hadley
added that businesses may have to
accept candidates who do not fit all
of their criteria immediately, but who
can be trained up to perform their

Bernard Brown, partner and head of

business services at KPMG, warned
that employers ignore the increasing
number of candidates who are new
to the market at their peril. Not
acknowledging what they have to
offer continues the very real risk
of losing a generation of talent, he
said. It makes no business sense,
because without a blend of youth
and experience the workplace will no
longer reflect the marketplace.
It has been well documented
recently that finally wage growth is
outstripping inflation and we would
suggest that there is still plenty of
pent up wage inflation to come.
With confidence in the economy,
a strong housing market and
continuing regulatory demands, there
is a scramble for talent and many
organisations looking for the same
candidates, thus a perfect storm
potentially brewing.

How long have you worked at National Counties?

Ive been here a year on 1st May and have enjoyed every minute of it.
Having spent 4 years working in central London even the journey into work
(including the M25) is better.

What do you like about working for a Mutual?

Having not worked for a mutual since the late 1980s its refreshing to come
to somewhere like National Counties that is not completely driven by the
bottom line (although thats not to say it isnt important) and where the
members are genuinely thought about.

Being the Lending Guru what have been your challenges

since MMR?
Each quarter we will have a
one minute interview asking a
couple of pertinent questions
about the market. Many thanks
from the team at Ultimate to
the first interviewee Andrew
Deeley, Associate Director,
Lending at National Counties
Building Society.

Thats a big question and obviously its still relatively early days but our
biggest challenge from a lending viewpoint has been how to interpret the
rules around affordability. Id like to think the approach we have taken
by developing a model to incorporate spending data from the ONS is a
pragmatic and straightforward solution and has avoided some of the issues
that we have seen in the press about people asking what some may see as
intrusive questions like what do you spend on steak!

Where do you see the Market going over the next year and
what do you think will be the biggest challenge?
I think the impact of the MMR might well slow the market down and if this
doesnt I think there may be steps from the Bank of England to do this,
especially in London and the South East.

On a personal note what is your favourite film and why?

Its a bit old school but I love Zulu, especially on a Sunday afternoon. Its
a great film and the cinematography with the fantastic African landscape,
blue skies and red of the uniforms is brilliant.

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Lord Myners

According to a consumer survey (admittedly by google)

recently, 88% of people have searched for a job on
a mobile device. I am unsure this quite reflects the
population as a whole, as I presume you would have to
be on a website to answer the survey, but nonetheless
illustrates the increasing use of mobile technology. Sit on
any morning commuter bus or train and where once you
saw papers and books, now you see people plugged in to
their mobile/laptop/tablet.
The question is; are you ready to adapt to this? In the
constant scramble for top talent, can you afford not to be
investing in attracting the eyes of such a wide market? In
looking at a large number of company websites within the
Banking sector from our mobile devices this morning, the
answer is unequivocally No. We struggled on many to
find the recruitment/jobs section and when we did they
were quite often out of date or poorly displayed on the
screen. On some there was no recruitment/jobs section
at all.
That is not to say it is easy (or cheap) to achieve, but
with so many now searching from their mobiles, a poor
experience can be damaging to that brand. Mobile users
want quick and simple functionality and in order to be
compatible with this, we should re-think how we set out

the application process. A long application form is not

going to encourage users on the move, being able to
quickly attach a CV stored on dropbox might, or even an
ability to simply send a link to their LinkedIn profile. This
does require more follow-up by the receiver, though, but
companies are going to have to adapt to the needs of the
applicant if they are to be at the front of the queue for
those applying on the move.

Ultimate Banking Ultimately Different

Ultimate Banking
Phone: 020 8777 5833

Tim Betts
Expert Retail, Commercial & Corporate Banking Recruiter

Phone: 07590 253 277

Claire Phillips
Expert Recruiter in the Mutual and Mortgage Market, FIRP

Phone: 07590 254 473