Habito’s lending products will only be available internally

Ryan Bembridge

July 9, 2019

Habito’s lending products are only available for customers going through its broker arm – and there are no plans to widen the proposition to other brokers firms.

The firm launched a buy-to-let lending range today, while it plans to enter the residential lending space.

Martijn van der Heijden (pictured), chief strategy officer, said: “There are no plans to widen this to other brokers.

“We think we can do this – we have grown massively as a broker and we’ve seen lots of customers.”

He added: “The reason we’re doing this is we feel there are some products missing from the market.”

In particular, he reckoned there is a lack of options in the long-term fix and 80% LTV categories.

The broker-turned lender is offering a 10-year fix at 80% LTV with a rate of 4.16% with a 1.50% fee and 4.47% with no fee.

While loans will not be held on Habito’s balance sheet Van der Heijden said it is technically the lender and servicer, though some of the servicing tasks are being outsourced to Pepper as well as another service provider.

Habito has being provided with a £500m lending commitment by another institution – which is looking to build a balance sheet with the aim of securitising the pool of loans.

Habito will offer 2.5% cashback for the first 15 mortgage applications submitted, payable on completion.

Ray Boulger, senior technical manager at John Charcol, took a swipe at that promotion.

He said: “If you are one of the early applicants and you are tempted to apply because the mortgage is not that competitive but with 2.5% cashback it is, you might say ‘if I qualify for the cashback I am happy to go with the deal’.

“This is very unsatisfactory and non-compliant on the basis of being unclear and misleading.”

Van der Heijden responded by saying the applicant will know whether they are eligible for the cashback at the start of the application, adding: “If the customer was told they will get cashback, they will get cashback.”

Boulger also noted that it’s going to be difficult for Habito the broker to justify putting deals through to its lending arm.

Van der Heijden agreed that this will be a challenge.

He added: “The mortgage will only come up if it’s the right one – we will show all of them and explain why the other nine were not the right one.

“At 7 and 10-year and at the 80% price point we are competitive.

“It’s not purely on price for every customer – some others are concentrating on speed.”

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