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How product innovation is the key to supporting mortgage customers in 2023

Emma Graham
12th October 2023

When it comes to mortgages, product innovation is a key driving force for the industry, especially within the Specialist Lending segment. Our products are not developed to simply twinkle brightly ‘on the shelf’, they’re designed to support the changing and complex needs of the client. Managing director of mortgages for Hodge, Emma Graham talks about how innovation at Hodge is helping the Specialist Lending market flourish.

As the old saying goes, you either innovate or you’ll stagnate. We often attribute this to businesses but it’s also true of individuals.  Our clients lives and needs are in a constant state of flux.  From starting out as a young professional hoping to get on the property ladder, to starting a family, needing a bigger house, having a higher, maybe more complex income,  eventually looking towards retirement. Whatever the stage your clients are at, our mortgage products need to support them in their financial journey.

Hodge has been at the forefront of innovation since it launched in 1965. Equity release was a pretty bold switch-up from the traditional approach and absolutely changed the outlook for older borrowers. And although we no longer offer equity release as a product, making the decision instead to innovate and offer a wider package of options for the mature borrower, we still recognise it has a  place in the later life lending sector. 

The arrival of lifetime mortgages, retirement interest only (RIO) and 50+ mortgages opened up a whole new world to a generation who potentially thought they were out of options. RIO customers suddenly found themselves able to stay in the home they loved while consolidating other loans or supporting family members just starting out on their own journeys. We then added holiday let and professional mortgages to our product sheet, giving us insight into new markets and, most importantly, the customers these products were created for.

We know first-time buyers are getting older, we know we’re in the midst of a cost of living crisis, we know times are tough. But what we’ve learned is that our potential customers are innovators. Gone are the days of working one job for life, retiring at 60 with a paid-off mortgage and that hefty final salary pension. People want more from life – freelancing on the side of a full-time job just to spend summers travelling or setting up a business young with hopes of retiring by 45 – these people are not standing still. They’re complex and so are their incomes.

Ultimately, that’s what innovation boils down to, recognising that the customers you’ve nurtured and supported evolve. People don’t stay still. They grow and change, they want different things and their needs transform and circumstances move forward. This, of course, is how new products emerge.

At Hodge, we build a picture of the customers we have, we learn what they use our products to achieve and then look beyond our four walls to see what’s going on out there which could disrupt what we already know.

Always working with you

At Hodge, we’ve been supporting customers with their financial futures with innovative products, a common sense approach to lending and years of expertise in specialist mortgages, we have the knowledge and experience to help take the complicated out of complex borrowing.

If you’re looking for how to deliver the best outcomes for your clients in the changing marketplace, 
Contact one of our BDMs  today.

Emma Graham
12th October 2023

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