FR: How did you first get into the mortgage market?
Like many people I suspect, I fell into the mortgage market completely by accident. I was previously in music management, which was very much the life of a single person. There came a time when I felt like I needed something of a lifestyle change and a shift in direction.
I applied for the position of an administration manager through an agency and got the job which happened to be with Lancashire Mortgage Corporation. That was more than 20 years ago and here I still am.
FR: You recently rebranded to Envelop from First 4 Bridging – tell us about the business and the decision behind the rebrand?
We are a packager who has been operating in the specialist mortgage market for well over 20 years now and have seen plenty of change over this time. As the name suggests, our primary focus was on bridging finance, and this is where we initially established such a strong reputation.
F4B was a fantastic brand for attracting and writing bridging-related business but, in more recent years, we found that our introducers were asking us for support in other specialist areas with increasing frequency due to the quality of service they had previously received. Therefore, it was a natural progression to become more heavily involved in complex residential transactions, buy-to-let, second charge, commercial term loans and development finance as these sectors grew in prominence.
As we were focusing less and less on bridging-related business – although this remains an important component within our overall proposition – we felt we needed a brand which reflected the variety of enquires we were receiving and transaction types we were dealing with on a daily basis. Hence the rebrand to Envelop and our ongoing quest to be the home of property finance.
FR: What has been the reaction to the rebrand so far?
It’s been very positive. We made a conscious effort to speak directly with all our lending partners and introducers to explain the decision and outline our offering.
The truth is that we haven’t really changed as a business. We remain focused on providing the best service possible and in demonstrating the value of speed and efficiency throughout the specialist lending markets. However, that’s not to say we aren’t constantly evolving as a business. We have ambitious growth plans in place and the rebrand certainly puts us in a stronger position to be able to achieve them.
FR: How can you stand out in what remains a crowded marketplace?
Our experience and longevity means we have director-level relationships with a number of lenders and a variety of unique, flexible and trusted referral arrangements.
From a service perspective we ensure our introducers always have access to a case manager who, as a fully trained underwriter, will package everything together and be their one point of contact throughout each project. No more being passed around multiple parties trying to find the right answers. Just dedicated support, as and when our introducers need it.
The highest service standards, trust, expertise, experience and the quality of lending relations are vital components in any successful packager and constantly delivering on these will always mean that you stand out.
FR: What’s your one wish for the specialist finance market in 2022?
It’s a simple one. For brokers to realise the full value of working with a trusted packaging partner and to benefit from treating it as an extension of their business.
Donna Wells, Director at Envelop