How smaller lenders can help you to get the mortgage that you need

Posted 10 March 2015

While the larger banks and building societies dominate the UK’s high streets the truth is that there dozens of excellent lenders in the marketplace. Many smaller lenders offer a more tailored service, commonsense underwriting and niche products that could be perfect for your particular situation.

One of the main advantages of smaller lenders is that they often employ specialists to underwrite applications, meaning they have less of a ‘tick-box’ mentality. One such lender is the Ipswich Building Society. The lender’s chief executive Paul Winter, told the Daily Mail: “We’re standing up for people overlooked by lenders which insist on machine-only application processes.”

As well as taking a commonsense view of your application, other small building societies can be a good choice if you don’t have a large deposit – although some will only offer deals to local borrowers in certain postcode areas. The Mail highlights lenders including the Cambridge, Cumberland, Darlington, Hinckley and Rugby, Leeds and Nottingham Building Societies who all offer good-value mortgages to local first-time buyers.

As well as some regional societies there are also some new and less traditional lenders in the market. For example, Metro Bank individually assesses mortgage applications rather than using computer-based underwriting while Virgin Money offers some excellent deals. In addition, unlikely sources such as Tesco and the Post Office often feature in the fixed-rate ‘best-buy’ tables.

As well as the smaller mutual lenders and newer banks there are also a range of lenders who specialise in certain types of property or mortgage deal. For example, the Buckinghamshire, Ecology, Harpenden and Saffron building societies can lend on listed or other non-standard properties while the Saffron is also good if you want to build your own home.

Scottish Widows offers flexible mortgage deals to ‘professional’ applicants including accountants, doctors, dentists, solicitors and vets while the Dorset-based Teachers Building Society offers mortgages especially designed for teaching staff.

Many brokers recommend Accord, an offshoot of Yorkshire Building Society, for self-employed applicants and if you don’t have a clean credit record then lenders including Aldermore, GE Money, Kensington and Precise may be able to help you.

Keith Osborne, editor of, says: “You may be tempted to walk into a local branch of a major lender for your mortgage but there may actually be more suitable deals through some of the UK’s smaller lenders. One advantage of speaking to an independent mortgage broker is that they have knowledge of the specialist areas of lots of lenders. This means that they can help you to find not only the right interest rate but also a lender who is happy to lend to you.”

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