The Cambridge will target shared ownership in 2018

Ryan Bembridge

October 9, 2017

Cambridge Building Society plans to expand its mortgage lending by focusing on shared ownership in 2018.

The society has £75m of capital and is looking at shared ownership as a growth area – where customers mortgage a share of a property from a housing association and pay rent on the rest.

The Cambridge increased its mortgage book by 13% last year, and expects to grow it by 6-7% this year and by a double digit amount in 2018.

Andy Lucas, chief operating officer at Cambridge Building Society, said: “One area we want to accelerate is shared ownership.

“We already do low level shared ownership activity but we want to push forward into the shared ownership space along with supporting first-time buyers.

“It’s been a little bit overshadowed by Help to Buy; obviously Help to Buy has taken a different tack because part of it [the mortgage guarantee part] has been withdrawn.

“It’s fair to say it’s seen as not for the masses and actually that shouldn’t be the case; in reality for a lot of people in London and Cambridge it’s not the case at all.

“That is an area we see as growing and we want to promote it as a good choice – it’s not a last resort.”

While the society, which only lends in the East of England, has been in the shared ownership space for 10 years it’s not something that’s been given much advertising space.

The Cambridge, which announced receiving a £15m capital injection from the Cambridgeshire County Council Pension Fund in September, now has £75m of capital and wants to use that eventually to lend £200-250m.

The Cambridge plans to up its advertising and expand its business development manager presence to boost lending.

The society is also focusing on new technology after launching a mobile app for consumers in July.

Indeed, staff are talking about having an app for brokers if there’s sufficient demand.

At the end of the month The Cambridge will launch websites for both intermediaries and consumers, with the intermediary website featuring an affordability calculator and enhanced product finder.

The society will refresh its product range in November.

Lucas added: “The last 10 years have been a little more profit constrained due to low interest rates.

“That’s where we got to our discussions at board level to say ‘what we need to do is find a way to continue to accelerate our lending’.

“We haven’t been as active this year but we are going to be a bit more assertive in the marketplace.”

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