Ian and Bill’s monthly review – May

We’re delighted to kick of this edition with the fantastic news that we were named as ‘Best Credit Services Provider’ at the recent 2016 Credit Today awards. Our win is testament to all the hard work our teams have delivered over the past year.

You can read more here on our award success.

With the new tax year now upon us, we have seen a number of changes ushered in as the Government continues to manage the pace of the market.

April saw the introduction of the new stamp duty charge on second properties – a three percentage point hike in order to dispel buy-to-let investors. The policy is likely to be the prelude to tighter affordability criteria for landlords, and with mortgage rates falling even for landlords, it will be interesting to see what happens to the cost of loan servicing over the next quarter.

Lately, we have seen a surge in demand for mortgage loans, as shown by the CML’s figures for March, which show how the change has impacted the market. March’s gross mortgage lending (£25.7bn) was 43% higher than February, 59% higher than compared to last year, and the highest figure since 2007. We’ve also more recently seen two of the big players reacting to the issue of later life lending, with both Nationwide and Halifax raising their upper age limits. You’ll see our more detailed thoughts on this market here.

This increase has been much larger than any previous stamp duty change, but the true effect of this will only be seen in next month’s figures as we discover whether this growth slows as the Chancellor’s reforms begin to take effect.

In other news, we have seen the launch of another challenger bank, one we knew was coming for a while. Atom Bank will offer its products via mobile apps as it seeks to shake up the UK’s financial services market. By offering products in such a way, it can be argued the bank is taking innovation in the financial services sector to another level.

With such a high-profile launch, and following the Metro Bank flotation, our sector’s challengers appear to be going from strength to strength. With more exciting players set to enter the market, 2016 is living up to its billing as financial services’ year of innovation.