As 2021 draws to a close, I’d like to start by saying a huge thank you to our intermediary partners for your continued support throughout this year. It may not have been as unpredictable as the last, but we’ve certainly experienced our fair share of challenges as a business and industry.

When I cast my mind back over the course of the year, there are so many highlights and things to be proud of. We’ve continued delivering service that has received excellent feedback from brokers. Whether it’s our Operations team providing exceptional service on cases submitted or our BDM team that educate brokers receiving rave reviews in the process.

This culminated in winning Most Improved – Mortgages at the Financial Times Adviser Service Awards. Not only that, but we also won a further seven awards from some of the most well-respected institutions in our market, which shows the steps we’ve taken to better support intermediaries.

We’ve continued to broaden our ranges to better address changing customer demographics ensuring that more customers have access to a mortgage. The launch of our Affordable Home Ownership proposition, including Help to Buy and Shared Ownership to ensure we provide greater options to first-time buyers, is a testament to this. However, we didn’t stop there; much of our criteria that was tightened last year as a result of the pandemic returned to ensure that we were able to lend to those most affected by the pandemic. This includes recent instances of adverse credit or those with Variable Income.

As well as improving our products, we’ve made great strides by implementing technology to make it as easy as we can for brokers to work with us. We launched Automated Valuation Models to speed up the Residential remortgage process, passing on cost savings to customers and reducing the carbon footprint within the application process. Plus, we helped brokers pre-submission by connecting with API providers to indicate how much their customers could borrow.

In addition, we have continued to turn applications around quickly, which has been partly enabled by technology giving our all-important human underwriters the information they need at their fingertips to deliver better outcomes for customers. In doing so, we have continued to operate without depending on computer decisions, to ensure we find fairer lending solutions for more customers.

Over the course of this year, we completed our largest first charge securitisation, worth £425m. This continues to illustrate the exceptional quality of our firsts loan book.

We’ve continued to invest in primary research with YouGov in our Adverse Credit Study to gain a clearer understanding of people who’ve experienced adverse credit in the UK so we can continue learning from what they need from us and the broker community. Look out for our latest wave of research in the new year…

We know that more customers will continue to have diverse financial circumstances, such as irregular employment and missed payments, and you can be confident that Pepper Money will be here to enable those customers to access the mortgage market. Plus, with the Buy to Let market continuing to grow, you can be sure that we’ll be there to support your landlord customers too.

We will continue to evolve our product, our service proposition and continue to meet the changing needs of you and your customers.

In addition to the fantastic improvements available to brokers, we’ve made excellent progress in developing a better organisation for our colleagues to be a part of by launching a flourishing Diversity & Inclusion committee, and have driven forward green initiatives including partnering with Ecologi to offset our carbon footprint, and plenty more to be revealed very soon.

We look forward to working with you in 2022. Until then, we hope you have a safe, enjoyable, and restful festive season.