Beyond all expectations
It’s hard to believe that almost two months have gone by since we launched our digital mortgage broker business HOOCHT. with bags of vision, enthusiasm and determination
We were always ambitious for the company, but what’s happened in that time has exceeded even our wildest expectations.
We’ve become incredibly busy, incredibly quickly; we’ve attracted customers not just from the UK but from around the world; the feedback from those customers has been outstanding. We’ve also featured in the regional and national media a number of times.
What do we take from all of this?
More than anything, it’s underlined our staunch belief that the modern mortgage market – and the consumers it serves – were ready for something different.
We completed on our first few cases at the end of December, and those people told us things like ‘you’ve achieved a mortgage for us where others had failed’ and ‘the entire process was so much simpler and more convenient than we’ve experienced before’.
Of course, all of this is no surprise to us, as we have always questioned why people shouldn’t be able to sort their mortgage as easily as their shopping or their social interactions – online, in their lunch hour or break at work, in all corners of the world and at pretty much any hour of the day or night.
And that’s exactly what they’ve been doing – defying any sceptics who thought people might be daunted at the prospect if arranging such a large purchase purely online.
HOOCHT. Founder and MD Rich Wynn said: “Demand has far exceeded all my expectations in our first couple of months.
“We’ve successfully processed applications from across the UK, as well as from British people working abroad in places including the Philippines, south Africa, Somalia and Saudi Arabia.
“The age range of our applicants so far has been 28 and 60,” continued Rich.
“And we’ve dealt with just about every type of case, ranging from standard mortgages and re-mortgages to buy-to-let portfolios, as well as help to buy, shared ownership and first-time buyer home loans.
“We always knew there was a significant gap in the market for the quick and efficient online mortgage services we’re offering but we’ve been very pleasantly surprised by the levels and types of business we’ve had coming through so far.
“Far from a fad for Millennials as some people might have expected, we’re receiving enquiries from people of all ages and backgrounds – and people are more than happy to apply for even the most complex types of mortgage cases online, given they have the reassurance of expert advice from our experienced team of advisors to back up our digital systems.
“Everything’s telling us that our online service fits with people’s lifestyles too. We’re finding that people might start the process one day, for example, maybe in their lunch hour, and then return to complete it with our advice a couple of days later.”
Next step, the future
The positive reception HOOCHT. has received so far fits with our ambitious plans for rapid growth over the next 12 months, and we have already started recruiting to grow our team. At launch, we had two experienced mortgage advisors and an administrative assistant. We have since added two trainee mortgage advisors who are undergoing their CeMAP training with the company’s support.
“I plan to employ at least 20 brokers by the end of 2018,” Rich added. “The great thing about the technology we’re using is that it’s very scalable. I’m an ordinary broker with a vision to change aspects of the industry for the benefit of consumers, and the technology is enabling me to do exactly that.
“The feedback we’ve had from customers so far has been overwhelmingly positive – many of them have said that they’ve succeeded in getting their mortgages placed through us where they’d previously failed through more traditional channels.
“We’ve clearly captured consumers’ imagination already, so I’m very excited about what the future holds.”
And continuing to innovate is a key strand of our future plans.
“From Day 1, we’ve offered something new and exciting and we intend to continue generating fresh ideas, to future proof our offering and solidify our position as a market leader for digital advice.
“While I don’t want to give too much away at this early stage, I can say we’re planning innovations that are different, and not necessarily what people would expect from a mortgage brokerage.”
It couldn’t be simpler
Making it as easy as possible for people to mortgage and re-mortgage has never been more important, according to Rich, given the prospect of rising interest rates and the fact that an estimated 2.6 million UK borrowers are languishing on their lenders’ standard variable rates (SVRs), unnecessarily.
“Anyone sitting on an SVR is paying about 3.33 per cent, which in many cases will be at least one per cent more than they need to,” he added.
“Every one per cent of a mortgage rate equates to £100 extra per month in repayments on a sample £100,000, so we’re talking about a significant amount of money,” said Rich.
“With rates predicted to continue rising, it will become even more important for people to save money on their repayments, and in my opinion, they need to be able to shop around and switch as quickly and easily as possible.
“Our online service gives them an ideal opportunity to do that – and we’ll stop at nothing to achieve success for them. If it’s possible to secure someone a mortgage or remortgage, we’ll do it.”
Making a difference
And not only is it quick and easy to complete a mortgage application, HOOCHT. customers can have the satisfaction of knowing they’re doing good at the same time.
That’s because we are working with the Parkinson’s UK (PDUK) charity to donate the odd pence from every procuration fee we receive, to the charity.
We handed over our first £100 to volunteers from PDUK’s East Yorkshire branch just before Christmas and are hoping to raise thousands more for this very worthy cause in the months ahead.
And as well as raising cash for Parkinson’s research, HOOCHT. will provide kit to grassroots sports teams in return for customer referrals, starting with a pilot scheme with Wanstead RUFC in the south of England.