As the UK’s largest outsourced mortgage servicing provider, Computershare Loan Services (CLS) recognised a commercial opportunity to support institutional funders who want to access the market and avoid high barriers to entry – such as the need to hold FCA lending permissions. Using our subsidiary Topaz Finance, CLS can hold legal title over mortgages on behalf of clients and can deliver an end-to-end proposition covering every stage of the mortgage journey.
A global investment company (wishing to remain anonymous) chose to utilise this model to support the launch of a new mortgage brand – Zephyr Homeloans.
Zephyr is a dedicated BTL lender providing both ‘vanilla’ mortgages and specialist products for Limited Company/SPV investors and professional landlords wishing to restructure/grow their portfolios. A broad range of property types and applicant scenarios can be considered – our criteria covers areas not well-served by mainstream lenders.
Zephyr pilot-launched in September 2018 via a single packager partner, with the full launch starting in January 2019.
Launching and managing our own active lender is a big departure for a traditional mortgage servicer – so this process required a major change programme and significant investment within CLS. There is now a dedicated team supporting brokers and their customers, including field-based BDMs, telephony consultants and expert underwriters, with colleagues in product, policy, risk, marketing and IT roles in the back-office. New supplier partnerships have also been established to strengthen the proposition – in key areas of origination, conveyancing and technology.
Building the brand
After our initial launch with selected intermediary partners, our distribution has recently expanded to reach networks and Directly Authorised brokers, by launching with L&G and Sesame/PMS. To support our ‘whole of market’ proposition, we are now utilising a broader range of sales, marketing, social media and PR activity. Brand profile activity has, as an example, included involvement with Mortgage Introducer, with Zephyr MD Paul Fryers part of an expert panel discussing the future of the BTL market.
We’ve also listened to brokers and improved our proposition – partnering with eTech’s BTL hub, adding Black’s Connect to our conveyancing panel, launching a 7yr Fixed product and, more recently, removing application fees across the whole range.
Topaz Finance – the largest lender you’ve (probably) never heard of!
The launch of Zephyr is one part of a phenomenal growth story at Topaz Finance. Previously a small book of 5,000 loans, Topaz has grown rapidly since 2017 through the onboarding of several UKAR mortgage books – the government-owned lender returning funds to taxpayers. Topaz now includes six subsidiary brands alongside Zephyr – a £13bn loan book of 130,000 customers.
This rapid growth has propelled Topaz up the UK Finance lending table – to just outside the top 10. Amidst so much change, we are delighted and thankful to our people and intermediary partners for helping us to get Zephyr trading.
As we continue to progress with our ambitious growth plans in partnership with our funder, mortgage brokers (and their landlord clients) will undoubtedly be hearing more about Zephyr in the future!