What we learned in 50 years as a mortgage lender

Ryan Etchells, our chief commercial officer of Together, reflects on a half century of growth
Ryan Etchells
A family buys a house

It’s an exciting year for us here at Together as we gear up to celebrate our 50th anniversary. Since 1974, we’ve been opening doors for our customers, helping them to achieve their property ambitions.

Our story began with a chance conversation over the sale of a car, which lead to our first mortgage funded on a 3-bedroom house in OIdham. Although our founder had never lent money for property before, he looked at the situation, applied his own common sense and realised he could provide the funds required. Five decades later, we are going stronger than ever.

50 years of change

It’s true that things have changed a lot in 50 years. Due to inflation, the average UK price has risen by a startling 158% over the past five decades, and the average age of homeownership for millennials stands at almost ten years higher than when the baby boomer generation were first getting on the ladder.

While less volatile, first-time buyers in the early 1970s faced high prices before a dramatic drop in the economy took hold in 1974. And so it is encouraging that, while affordability remains a concern, there continues to be a healthy appetite for homeownership.

Other asset classes come and go, but property will always be there to invest in. We’ve weathered a lot of difficult financial periods in our time; 2008 stands out particularly. The position the market finds itself in now, despite having its challenges, sees Together continue to perform well, and this is down to our unique ways of doing business.

Being a ‘Relationship Lender’

Relationships are key to everything we do at Together. Whilst other lenders have moved away from the ‘personal touch’, focusing heavily on digitalisation and call centres, we still put a lot of stock in the good old fashioned method of dedicated business development managers on hand to help at any time. It’s not rocket science, but it’s at the heart of our ethos.

This applies to our colleagues as well as our customers. We’re big believers in investing in people, attracting the best talent and nurturing careers. This is passed over to our customers, where they can expect a personalised service that other lenders may not provide. We believe we provide customers with a relationship they can bank on.

Embracing new markets

Another way we have found success comes through our ability to see and engage with upcoming markets. We saw bridging finance appearing in the 80s, and knew straight away this was going to be a strong product in the future.

HMOs (houses of multiple occupancy), student accommodation and shared-ownership mortgages; are all potential markets we spotted over the last few decades and jumped on, all of which are now thriving.

Holiday lets in particular are an area we saw success in; at the time many of the mainstream banks didn’t see it as a viable market, but now it has exploded. Last year it was reported that over 50% of holiday let property owners started their rental business in the previous three years, and around 63% of them are planning to expand their portfolio over the next five years.

Getting ahead of the game, taking a chance and spotting opportunities others may miss; this mentality plays a big part in how we have grown in our 50 years.

Looking ahead

We’ve helped thousands of people realise their property ambitions over the last five decades, and we know that in the current climate, there are thousands more throughout the UK that need the help of a specialist lender to make their next move, either personal or commercial, into a reality.

We’ll be there to help, continuing to bring our common sense approach to lending to continue opening doors for customers… hopefully for another 50 years to come!

Written by
Ryan Etchells
Written by
February 15, 2024