What was exposed at Mortgage Expo

By Bridging Loan Directory -


Industry expert, Lea Karasavvas, shares his thoughts and opinion in the “Secret Diary of a Mortgage Broker”.

What was exposed at Mortgage Expo

As the final few guests trickled out, there was an air of success floating around the large hall of Olympia. Stands were full of lenders, conveyancers, journalists and insurers all with smiles on their faces, patting themselves on the back at a successful couple of days of intense face to face meetings with the industries masses.

The truth is, Expo was a somewhat relaxed affair this year, summed up really by the offerings of most stands which had transformed from pens, post it notes, branded umbrellas and tea mats, to a much more relaxed, branded bottle of beer. There were games galore from mini golf on some stands to a racing simulator from Santander who were clearly still milking the Lewis Hamilton connection. I got the impression the focus was fun. Perhaps to take away from the depression that could have been heard in the seminars about “The year that was” and “where will we be next year”.

Without doubt, the buzz this year was primarily from the bridging lenders with Tiuta and Precise Mortgages really being the focus of the day. Nothing to do with the beer and sandwiches I can assure you, but the welcome that you would receive from them and the hosts genuine intent to converse with us about where they thought they could assist us. I got the impression the bridgers are looking towards a busy 2012 and with several rumours of some exciting buy to let propositions coming in quarter 1 2012, I left the show actually feeling positive about my direction next year. Without doubt, the buy to let market is going to grow next year with several lenders still yet to show their hand so watch this space private landlords, things are going to get better next year.

On leaving Expo, this is where the true judgement began. First port of call was the local public house, where upon entering, I realised actually had more brokers/lenders in than the actual exhibition itself. Many, many well known names all in attendance, some slightly more tipsy than others. I wasn’t sure if this was a case of being pleased it was all over, or drowning their sorrows but either way, there was an abundance of slightly tipsy characters floating around desperate to talk/spit over anyone that would listen (you know who you are!!!) The vibe however was a good one and my day at Expo was starting to get better and better.

Having “networked” with many other brokers/lenders etc it was time to move on to the first “after show party” at the rather swanky Boujis. It was at this stage that I performed the annual “completely forget your bag of goodies you have spent the whole day collating” manoeuvre. And I was not the only one. So do not be surprised if The Hand and Flower public house in Kensington is offering free Aldermore Pens/Northern Rock post it notes with every beer. Press be aware, these lenders are not sponsoring the pub, they have simply “found” a shed load of goodies.

Boujis is the club frequented by the countries princes. Quite why I do not know. It was not quite the swanky venue the website lead us to believe, but Tiuta were the perfect hosts and we had a good start to the evening. As the numbers dwindled, we realised everyone was heading over to the second after show party hosted by Precise Mortgages. This was a little more relaxed and despite being a free bar, a friend still somehow managed to spend £140. The atmosphere was jovial, lots of inter lender rivalry and a really good buzz floating around. Various dancing competitions embarked on the dance floor of which I had to throw in a few of my very dated MC Hammer moves. My trousers managed to stay intact this time round without ripping but speaking of rips I am pretty sure I heard my calf go after my second attempt at the box splits.

The room was filled with smiles, and for the first time in a while, the mortgage industry had a buzz back. Something it has been missing for several years. Everyone was enjoying themselves, everyone forgot about how difficult it has become to broke mortgages, how pedantic some lenders have become with their underwriting and for a few hours, the industry was a happy, thriving one again.

Until it all kicked off.

I made a decision that even though this is a “secret diary” that this shall remain a secret. But it was the final act of a day and evening that literally “had it all”. It was one to remember. One that proved that there are still a lot of us left making a living in this industry and that still, we have the ability to laugh despite often feeling the need to cry.

Whilst there were many contenders for “man of the match” at Expo this year, my award simply has to go to Precise Mortgages who were the perfect hosts from the minute we first saw them in Olympia, to the final goodbye as the bouncers threw us out at Rennaisance (oh sorry, I said I wouldn’t talk about that).

The mortgage industry lives on…

The brokers are still broking…

…and I look forward to next year’s Expo, immensely.