Specialist broker Mortgages for Business is rebranding to Mortgage Finance Brokers to reflect its diversified lending focus and gear it up for growth over the next two years.
Mortgage Finance Brokers (formerly Mortgages for Business), which was founded in 1990, has relaunched its website as part of the rebrand, but will maintain the acronym MFB and keep its hexagonal logo.
The rebrand was done by Tunbridge Wells-based creative agency, Cheeky, which has worked with Moneysupermarket, Majestic, and Axa.
Gavin Richardson, managing director of Mortgage Finance Brokers, said that over the last 32 years the company had “evolved to do so much more than our ‘old name’ suggests”.
He added: “Mortgages for Business no longer represents what we do — we do mortgages for everybody.”
Richardson explained that it had started by focusing on commercial mortgages but now it wrote mortgages for “every type of client from buy-to-lets for individuals as well as limited and trading companies, to short-term and refurbishment finance via development loans, residential owner-occupiers — and, of course, all types of commercial finance.”
He said that when it was founded the company was not offering mortgages for houses in multiple occupation, multi-unit freehold blocks, vanilla buy to let, holiday lets, student accommodation or residential mortgages.
“The property finance sector has evolved since the early nineties and our company has, too. We want our name to reflect that,” he noted.
Richardson said that the decision to keep its original hexagonal logo and acronym was a “nod to our heritage”.
He said: “We want to reflect that, even after three decades, we’re still a family-owned business; we’re proud of our roots. While we’re keeping the logo, the overall colour scheme is changing to a more modern palette.
“We want to bring some of our personality into “finance”, so it’s a balance of a corporate and slightly softer tones. We’re modernising, but still holding our excellent service levels and values at our core — those aren’t changing.”
Richardson continued that the rebranding exercise “reflects our belief in the sector”.
“There’s been a lot of challenges for our clients and peers over the past few years and landlords are facing some headwinds, but we wouldn’t be investing in the brand, enhancing our service proposition, and planning for the next 30 years if we didn’t believe in the sector,” he noted.
Mortgage Finance Brokers to grow to 30 brokers
Richardson said that Mortgage Finance Brokers was currently sitting at around 21 brokers, with plans to increase that to 30 brokers in the next two years.
He added that it had embarked on a number of partnerships, including with Boswell for Insurance, SortRefer for conveyancing, BrickFlow for bridging and commercial enquiries.
Richardson continued that it had also signed partnerships for discount schemes with the Armed Forces and the NHS.
“This was our plan pre-Covid. Now we’ve got more opportunity, better partnerships and a better service proposition. We’ve got residential brokers, commercial brokers, buy-to-let brokers and now we’ve got the insurance, conveyancing, bridging the commercial and a lot of these kind of ancillary services such as EPC certifications and will writing.
“We learned from Covid that you need to diversify the business to survive and then grow. We have really good plans and over that time they come into fruition at the beginning of this year so we are now embarking on a growth period,” Richardson added.
Richardson said that its residential business had shrunk last year but it was “now putting it back on growth mode”. The team currently consists of around five specialist residential brokers, which could double this year.
“That is potentially the largest growth area for us,” he said.
Richardson added that the commercial market was another area that could potentially double this year as well, with bridging, short-term finance, refurbishment finance and development finance sitting in that bucket.
Buy-to-let sector growth predicted
On the buy-to-let side, he said that he expected it to “grow steadily over the year and get back to pre-pandemic levels by the end of this year”.
Richardson said that around 80 per cent of its business was buy-to-let, with that being a mixture of portfolio landlords, smaller landlords and first-time landlords, the latter of which Richardson saw as an “encouraging confidence booster that people are still entering the property investment market”.
He explained that last year was “incredibly challenging” with rate increases making remortgages difficult as landlords or clients couldn’t get or achieve the borrowing amount they wanted or at the price they wanted.
“I think as we go into this year that will soften as we’ve already seen mortgage rates starting to come down. We think we will probably end the year with a base rate of four and a half per cent,” Richardson added.
He continued that landlords would see “opportunities” in the market as house price growth hasn’t been significant, with house prices falling in some areas, and demand for rental property still being incredibly high.