‘Lenders are more jumpy about Covid than in 2008’
By Laura Miller -
Career pivoting is very a la mode right now, out of choice, sparked by lockdown inspired epiphanies, or because you’ve woken up to find a virus has wiped out your industry and replaced it with a quango run by Dominic Cummings’s cat. Kim McGinley was ahead of the curve.
“I had been working as a hairdresser and being quite ambitious, realised I couldn’t make the money I wanted in that particular industry and so I started looking for another job,” she says.
McGinley ended up working at a residential mortgage brokerage and then went on to start working for lenders in the specialist finance sector.
She set up her own specialist mortgage broker VIBE Finance in 2018 in the seaside Hampshire town of Lee-on-the-Solent, where according to Google the average three star hotel costs £61 a night, good to know for when we can sleep in strange beds again.
“I set up VIBE after working for specialist lenders for 12 years, which gave me the best insight into how lenders work, the underwriting and credit process,” says McGinley, “it gave me an opportunity to add some real value to my own clients”.
Insider intel that is proving increasingly valuable in a world where fear the true economic impact of coronavirus will be darker and deeper than currently being felt (thanks to Sunak’s temporary sugar rush of cash injections) drives almost every lender decision.
“Our biggest challenge without a doubt is lender appetite, criteria and products changing almost weekly,” says McGinley. “I don’t think as an industry, even in the crash in 2008, we saw times like these in relation to lenders. ”
On the flip side, this creates an opportunity for brokers to truly step up and add some real value to their clients “who need us now more than ever”, she says. Communication, she adds, “is simply everything right now” – a lesson companies slashing marketing budgets in response to the crisis would do well to heed.
VIBE’s mission statement is ‘transforming dreams of property ownership into reality so that our clients dare to dream even bigger’. It’s a life lesson McGinley learned the old fashioned way when she swapped her scissors for specialist finance. She admits though, echoing many of her peers, “if I’m being totally honest I fell into it – don’t think anyone I know left school or university with a sole goal of working in the mortgage industry.”
A massive increase in jobseeking is underway. According to data from the world’s largest job site, Indeed, two thirds of a million UK workers uploaded or updated their online CV during the final weeks of the first furlough scheme. October’s spike in CV-posting comes after 2.7 million jobseekers uploaded or updated their CV during the past six months.
What advice does McGinley have for someone looking to enter the industry today?
“Do it! Be prepared to work hard – the pressure sometimes is unreal – and attention to detail is key, but if you can do this and have a positive attitude you will reap the rewards and it will take you far.
“Being a part of a client’s journey is incredible.”
Laura Miller is a freelance journalist who writes about money and business. She regularly appears in UK national and trade newspapers and magazines, and has previously worked for ITV News and the Telegraph among others. Find her on twitter @thatlaurawrites