The mortgage club says it will use 2009 to growth: either organically or through acquisitions.
L&G head of mortgages Ben Thompson says: “Plans are to keep increasing market share – share for us has increased by 3 per cent or 4 per cent in 2008, so this has been a tremendous year for L&G – and we want to keep increasing in 2009 and beyond.
“That will be through organic growth and an increased sales focus through to bigger things like recruiting ‘lumps’ of distribution. Whether that is organic or otherwise has yet to be played out. We are looking upon this market as a real opportunity and work with people to make them stronger and increase our mortgage bandwidth.”
Thompson admits there will be consolidation within the mortgage distribution sector, but says much of the recent speculation has been over-hyped.
He adds: “You will see a coming together of organisations – for example we have an alignment with the Money Portal and we have more in the pipeline at the moment. You may see, for example, a strong wealth management business that wants to utilise the mortgage services of a strong mortgage player.”
Although L&G will remain bullish next year, Thompson says no one should underestimate the severity of the continuing downturn: “We are going into the market at a low level, rather than entering at a high level, which is different from 2008. With retrospect, the situation in the first few months of last year felt grim, but now it looks very good indeed.
“One only has to look at the States to see that 2009 will be a very difficult year indeed.”