JustJul 1 2021

Just Mortgages sweeps up bank and BA staff

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Just Mortgages sweeps up bank and BA staff

Just Mortgages recruited a record number of brokers last month thanks to the UK high street banks which are shutting their branches and slashing employee counts at rapid rates.

June saw the lender recruit 37 brokers, up from its average recruitment rate of 25 between January and May this year.

Whilst 19 brokers came from its most recent training academy and will join the employed division, the remaining 18 have joined the self-employed division of the business.

The influx in traffic of prospective brokers has much to do with the climbing number of bank branch closures across the country, the firm said.

In January, HSBC announced the closure of 82 branches between April and September this year. Two months later, Santander announced the closure of 111 branches affecting around 840 UK-based staff.

Most recently, Lloyds added 44 branches to its list of closures, which now tops 100 branches in total.

John Phillips, Just Mortgages’ group operations director, told FTAdviser: “June was going to be ‘the big month’” for feeling the effects of these closures. “That being said, we have 25 in July already. So we might see the same this month.”

He continued: “Lenders in the UK train their staff well. And part of this is the mortgage qualification. Individuals can then take these skills with them when they’re let go. We call it ‘banking to broking’.”

Philips said an “awful lot of people” had applied to its academies, which have so far hosted three cohorts - the most recent one starting this month.

“We’re having a lot of success with these applicants,” Phillips explained. “They understand how it works from being in a banking environment.”

But there are other reasons for Just Mortgages’ record recruitment figures. Some applicants have applied following career re-thinks driven by the pandemic’s impact on certain sectors, such as hospitality and travel.

“We’ve had a lot of BA [British Airways] crew apply to us,” said Phillips. “We would have never had this profile before [the pandemic]. I’ve never known someone from an air crew to apply.”

As well as first-time brokers, those which left the industry back in 2005-06 just as the recession hit are now reconsidering whether it is a good time to re-enter the market.

“The market is very buoyant right now, and brokers want to get back into it,” Phillips explained. 

“The health crisis has definitely accelerated this trend, with furlough and job losses leading more people to dust off their qualifications.”

Bank of England data published earlier this week saw mortgage borrowing rebound to £6.6bn in May, from £3bn in April. The rebound has prompted experts in the industry to dub April a “blip” in an otherwise well-performing market.