Fintech lender Habito to cut broker team by more than a dozen

Fintech lender Habito to cut broker team by more than a dozen
Habito’s chief executive, Daniel Hegarty

Fintech lender Habito is set to cut the majority of its broker team, giving advisers - or ‘mortgage experts’ as the start-up calls them - up to two months to find other jobs.

The entire broker team has been "put on risk", according to two people familiar with the matter. 

More than a dozen brokers will be made redundant after a "consultancy", or notice, period, which FTAdviser understands is up to two months.

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UK employers have to give employees at least 30 days notice legally.

The remaining brokers - thought to also number around a dozen - will keep their positions, but the identities of these brokers will not be known until the end of the consultancy period, it is understood.

In November 2021 Habito told FTAdviser it had 36 mortgage brokers. A source said this figure is now closer to 30. Habito employs some 158 people in total, according to its profile page on LinkedIn. 

This means the cuts could represent anywhere between 18 per cent and 22 per cent of the company's overall employee count, and could affect up to 60 per cent of its mortgage broker team.

One source said some of Habito's long-standing brokers were now applying for broker positions at competitors, having been on a £55,000 basic salary at Habito.

“That salary is pretty much unheard of in the mortgage broking industry so they don't leave easily,” a person familiar with the matter said.

Another source added: "Putting these brokers on such a high salary has made a big impact on the market. It's ironic. They started out saying 'we're going to disrupt the mortgage broker industry', and they have, but not for the reasons they intended. It's sad, really."

FTAdviser understands one recruiter is speaking with up to 25 of Habito's brokers.

At least a third, or 12, of Habito’s mortgage brokers have been at the company for four years or more, according to LinkedIn.

A handful of brokers still listed as Habito employees have now put ‘#OpenforWork’ filters on their LinkedIn profile pictures.

The firm's chief marketing officer, Abba Newbery, left in June for sustainable investment platform Circa5000. A month later, its vice president of talent, Javaad Abdul-Rasool, left for corporate e-gift card provider WeGift.

There are no live jobs currently advertised on the company's careers page. As of July 27, its job list page read: "Habito has no live roles at the moment."

A Habito spokesperson told FTAdviser: "We're currently exploring a number of strategic partnerships to shape Habito's next chapter. We're unable to comment on market rumours but will provide an update on our future plans in due course."

The company did not confirm how many staff members it would let go.

Habito’s chief executive and founder, Daniel Hegarty, said in an interview with FTAdviser late last year that the business was “predicated on technology”, which was why it hired so few brokers compared to rivals such as Trussle - which aims to hire 1,000 advisers by 2023.