Stonebridge has reported record yearly lending figures despite the impact of the pandemic.
According to the network, mortgage completions exceeded £8.5bn from April 2020 to the end of March 2021, up 9 per cent on the previous year despite the effect of national lockdowns on the housing market.
It added that lending completion figures in March 2021 alone exceeded £1bn, marking a 79 per cent year-on-year increase, while mortgage applications for the month were also up 20 per cent on the previous year.
Rob Clifford, chief executive of Stonebridge, said: “Once the housing market reopened in mid-May last year, activity levels took off and it more than made up for the fallow period, with completion levels and applications being particularly strong.
“As a result of that ongoing demand, our existing appointed representative firms have been able to grow, bringing on more advisers themselves, and we continue to focus heavily on recruitment to the network.
“This has meant the number of registered individuals is at record levels – 18 per cent up on the previous year.”
According to Stonebridge, the network grew to 829 registered individuals across 412 firms at the end of March this year.
It added that growth had been a combination of internal recruitment by individual appointed representative firms, as well as its recruitment team enrolling new broker firms.
The network also said it had increased staffing levels following the growth in advisers, including increasing the headcount at its head office by 24, and introducing new field- and home-based roles across the country.
Clifford said: “To say the last 12 months has been challenging would be an understatement, and while our head office is again open – and we have made a considerable investment in turning it from a traditional office to a more collaborative space – the majority of Stonebridge staff are still working remotely by choice.”
Last week The Openwork Partnership similarly said it had hit a record £5.7bn in mortgage completions in the first quarter, as a result of the stamp duty holiday and adviser recruitment.
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