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Mark Piper

Mark Piper on advice against adversity

By Mark Piper

Mortgage Professional - Clover Financial Solutions

In a career that spans three decades, specialist mortgage professional Mark Piper has proficiently served the financial services sector through its rollercoaster of recession, regulation, macro influences, and embracement of new trends.

Having initially worked for some of the largest UK insurers including Abbey Life, Prudential, and Aviva, Mark left the corporate world to start his own mortgage and commercial brokerages with particular emphasis on those borrowers that traditionally get left behind by the high street lenders.

Ardent about helping those with adverse credit, Mark and his Team built one the country’s largest mortgage distributors recognised with industry awards and lender partnerships.

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What type of mortgages do you specialise in?

Our core clientele is people with a less than perfect credit score, who struggle to get financed, and have already received a NO from their own bank. Typically, it's someone that's had a bump in their financial history, it’s not always due to non-payment of something, it could be a simple change in circumstance such as a job change or even divorce – there are so many reasons why people need to take specialist advice.

Our customers need a bit more time and effort and to be able to access lenders that can sometimes only be available by going via a broker. Lenders whose criteria is flexible and sympathetic to the situation in hand.

It must be very fulfilling to find people a solution when they thought there was nowhere else to go.

Absolutely. We’ve had people with CCJs, defaults, missed mortgage payments and even discharged bankruptcy and IVA’s showing on their credit file. It’s the part of the market where most brokers don't want to operate, they want the vanilla stuff.

We work the criteria to the client’s favour to get them what they're trying to achieve. We take people on a journey; sometimes working with a client until their credit file is at a point where they’re able to get a mortgage. It can be a slow burner, but eventually, we can help them.

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"Our core clientele is people with a less than perfect credit score, who struggle to get financed, and have already received a NO from their own bank."

How do you help those clients who otherwise wouldn’t be able to access a mortgage?

We have some good working relationships with the lenders directly, taking the time to understand their criteria and talk the case through with them long before it is submitted. A chance to discuss what the lender wants to see to make it fit their criteria and to give them the comfort to lend. Not forgetting that the client also needs to feel confident that they can obtain the mortgage before committing to the property transaction in front of them.

Mortgage criteria is a minefield that we tiptoe through every single day and the market is constantly changing. The message to everyone has not changed in that we would always recommend that you consult a mortgage broker, especially if you feel that your credit file or situation warrants further advice.

What’s your current assessment of the UK property market?

If we had had this conversation a few months ago then I think my answer would have been a lot different to today. The turmoil that we have experienced in the last month is unprecedented. The increase in the cost of money has meant that every lender has had to reprice their mortgage rates upwards at a speed never seen before.

Anyone buying a property soon is going to pay more for their mortgage. Anyone coming off a fixed rate over the next year will probably see their monthly payments increase, and in some instances quite significantly.

How this impacts the housing market is open to much discussion. It’s a brave person that calls it and recent government intervention seems to have split everyone. I like to think however that everyone needs to live somewhere, and we expect to continue to be busy for the foreseeable future as people look for good advice, and to lock in the best rate they can find for their own circumstances.

"I love some of the stuff I see from our industry on social media platforms; I've seen brokers on TikTok with creative videos about mortgages generating a decent following and level of interaction."

Mark Piper - Mortgage Professional, Clover Financial Solutions

You’ve also got a keen interest in social media?

When I first got into this business, we were putting adverts into the red top newspapers – The Sun, Daily Star, Daily Mirror – to generate business nationally.

Social media has allowed us to be much more targeted in our marketing. I love some of the things I see from our industry on social media platforms; I’ve seen brokers on TikTok with creative videos about mortgages generating a decent following and level of interaction.

I think it’s acceptable now to lower your guard a little bit. The next generation of borrowers doesn’t want to sit at the bank in a three-hour meeting. People like my son, who is 22, just want to go online and click a few buttons. I know my world is changing, and how people buy products is changing as well.

Robo advice – where you can literally go from start to end without talking to a human to get a mortgage – makes me uncomfortable. But social media and the way that the youngsters will transact for this type of thing in the future means that dinosaurs in our industry are having to wake up and change the way they offer their services to the next generation of borrowers.

What lessons have you learnt in your own journey?

My life’s become very simplistic over the last few years; I’m trying to work a bit smarter these days. I love the concept of a laptop lifestyle – not needing an office space and being able to have a Team do this from anywhere.

There’s a brilliant book called The 4-Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss. He went travelling and condensed his working week into four hours, which made me think about what was important to me.

I used to go to work every day. I’d be first in the office and the last one out, and I’d still be taking phone calls over the weekend and never enjoyed it. I’ve promised myself I’m going to be more like Tim Ferriss in my way of doing things.