What’s the down low – on Mortgage Expo?!

By Bridging Loan Directory -

The Bridging Loan Directory is delighted to unveil new signing, Director of Prolific Mortgage Finance, Lea Karasavvas or Mortgage_Mind for those of you who follow on Twitter.

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

You can read Lea’s first post below:

You may have heard many mortgage brokers uttering the words “Mortgage Expo” under their breath of late and thought to yourself, what is this? Well, for us brokers, this is the biggest indication of the year as to how the mortgage industry is doing. It is a two day extravaganza, held at Olympia where we basically cut to the chase. We ignore all the headlines, we ignore all media coverage, all the positive spin every lender tries to deliver every day and we go face to face with all lenders, conveyancers, surveyors and chat to them at the coal face.

It’s actually extremely comical. Brokers descend on the venue from all over the UK with one thing in mind…which lenders will be offering the best freebies!

It is judgement day. As far as the eye can see there are lenders set up with their stands knowing that within seconds of brokers coming through that door, they will all be judged. Whoever says size doesn’t matter, lied. At Expo, it is all about the size…of your stand. Your stand alone, will fuel some brokers impressions of your financial klout for the following twelve months. Next time they pick up the phone and they are talking to a client about a lender and the client asks “but are they financial strong” guaranteed… 75% of the brokers answering that question will think back to the stand they saw at Expo and say “yes” if it was big, or “No” if it was basically a small wallpapering table in the corner.

Having completed your “first impressions” round, brokers then continue onto the “best freebies” run. This is effectively a supermarket sweep round the hall, picking up the best freebies they can, knowing that half of them will find their way under your grandparents Christmas tree.
“Oh Lea, a Santander Golfing umbrella! Thanks, that’s just what I wanted”.
“That’s okay Nan. Love you.”
Brokers everywhere, are rearranging kitchen cupboards in preparation for Expo as they know they will need the space for all the free mugs. It’s truly an amazing phenomenon to watch. And you can’t help but become part of it too, as without even realising, you quicken your step to the Abbey stand, in a desperate attempt to get one of the last three Abbey branded calculators…even though you have plenty of perfectly good ones at home.

I love Expo, and the comical value it brings.

When all of the judging and freebie collecting has abated, it is then on to the “spot the ex colleague” challenge. Here, you find that you partake in a finger pointing ritual where you point out all the old brokers that you worked with in the past, old Business Development Managers, and even ex bosses and deliberate whether to go and say hello or not. Over the years, the answers that followed the question “what have you been up to lately” have become a little more depressing and it can shape the evenings events, so you need to chose who you converse with wisely. Depressing stories will mean the aftershow party will be one of doom and gloom. You could ponder your future and wonder if there is reason to continue! Or, success stories will result in a restored confidence in the industry and an evening of merriment. So it is key to only approach those that appear to be smiling.

On completion of “finger pointing” and catch up, it is on to more serous matters. There are often insightful and truly excellent speeches delivered from fantastic market experts giving their version of events and how the year has been. This is always informative and a great part of the day and is normally and excellent way to end the formalities before you head off to the local Public house and find every other attendee in there also. There you will talk about the agenda I have outlined above, whilst comparing your Freebie bag, knowing that it will never really make it home with you anyway, as the evenings drinking starts to take shape.

For the neutral this is a great place to join. This is where the true stories start to emerge, and as some of the banks or buildings societies employees trickle in, the true “I shouldn’t say this but…” stories commence. This is where, if you keep your wits about you, you can find out exactly what is going on at brokerages, lenders, surveyors, everywhere “behind the scenes.” Here, is where you get the “real story” and it is the true highlight of the event for me.

So next time you hear a broker or lender mention Mortgage Expo, I hope this little description of events will give you a clearer understanding of how it works. Announcements concerning lender figures for H1 and H2 are all very interesting. Lenders talking to the media about their % of market share, well that is all great. But if you want the real deal…if you want the “true story”, get yourself down to Mortgage Expo this year, keep your wits about you…and the real stories of the mortgage industry will evolve.

So, see you all there!