Helping customers with life-changing decisions

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Lloyds Bank International mortgage managers Laura Carolan and David Le Quesne explain the benefits of their face-to-face service, especially important at a time of rising living costs and interest rates

WITH more than 100 years’ experience between them, there is little that the six-strong Lloyds Bank International mortgage team in Jersey does not know when it comes to arranging this all-important finance for prospective and existing homeowners.

But, as mortgage managers Laura Carolan and David Le Quesne explain, with every customer’s situation being unique, their roles remain as challenging and varied today as they were when they joined the team 15 and eight years ago respectively.

Here, they give readers an insight into their careers and the many ways in which the bank supports Islanders to fulfil their property dreams.

How is Lloyds Bank International’s mortgage team structured to benefit customers?

Laura: The bank has a pan-island mortgage team, with dedicated managers and arrangers in Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man. This means that while the team can draw on expertise from across the group, customers in each island can go into the bank and sit down face to face with one of our experienced team members.

Why is that personal service so important?

David: It’s all about helping the customers. While we may process multiple mortgage applications each week, we never lose sight of the fact that each one represents a life-changing moment for the individual concerned. Spending time talking to the customer and understanding both their financial situation and property aspirations also means that we can help them to make an application which is likely to be approved either now or in the future.

How much flexibility is there within Lloyds Bank International’s mortgage offer?

Laura: While we have a clear and simple lending policy, not every customer may fit the criteria at first glance. However, because we are not just inputting information into a computer but are sitting down and building relationships with those customers, we can not only guide them through he application process but also explain what we need to see in terms of their savings, income and expenditure. If their aims are not immediately achievable, we can direct them to one of our personal banking managers who can help them to devise a saving and budgeting plan to grow their deposit.

What do you find most rewarding about your role?

Laura: I get tremendous satisfaction from helping people, especially first-time buyers, onto the property ladder. It is always especially heartwarming when you help someone who thought that they wouldn’t qualify for a mortgage. Lloyds Bank International supports the government’s Affordable Housing Gateway and there have been wonderful moments when people who never thought that they would be able to own a property see their application approved. The joy of those moments is incredible.

With interest rates and the cost of living rising, how are you helping people who are either concerned about their existing mortgage repayments going up or who are trying to buy their first property?

David: If people are looking for their first mortgage, we can have a preliminary discussion with them to assess how much they could borrow so that they can tailor their property search accordingly. We can also do a ‘dry run’ for people where we look at their loans, savings and any other information pertinent to an application.

Laura: We are very aware of the way the world has changed over the past few months and we have a team of people in the branch, as well as support available online, to help any customers who are worried about their repayments. We make it a priority to see any customers who raise a concern and really encourage anyone in this position to reach out to us as soon as possible.

David: While a lot of people may be concerned, in a lot of cases, the increases are likely to be less than they fear. When a fixed-rate mortgage comes to an end, we will explain all the options to the customers and help them to find solutions, whether by addressing their expenditure or adjusting the mortgage, perhaps by extending its term to reduce the monthly payments.

How quickly are you able to process mortgage applications?

Laura: The great advantage for Islanders is that the underwriters, who make the lending decisions, are based in Jersey, and we work very closely with them. Because of those relationships and their understanding of the local market customers are often pleased with our speed of response.

David: We aim to see customers at the first available opportunity. The feedback from customers shows how much they appreciate having clear and regular communications so that they know exactly what’s happening at all stages of the process.

How extensive is the bank’s mortgage offer?

David: We offer two-, five- and ten-year fixed-term mortgages as well as two-year trackers, so there is plenty of choice to reflect people’s varying circumstances. The rates for each product, together with a mortgage calculator, are published at Lending is at the bank’s discretion and you must be 18 or over and resident in Jersey, Guernsey, Alderney or the Isle of Man to apply. Security will be required. You could lose your home if you don’t keep up your mortgage repayments.

How can people interested in applying for a mortgage get in touch with you?

Laura: They can either pop into the branch in Broad Street to make an appointment or email After that first approach, we will send them an application form and details of the interest rates before inviting them in for a more formal interview to go through all the details.

If emailing us, please note that email is not secure and could be read by others, so do not include any sensitive personal information.

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