Emily Moore tells the story of how a visit to Lloyds Bank International enabled the Stansfields to get the mortgage they thought they couldn’t afford and become homeowners
AS Rob and Cathy Stansfield describe the home improvements they are planning to carry out, Cathy’s excitement when talk turns to renovating the kitchen is palpable.
And, while most homeowners planning a major project would be full of anticipation, the plans are particularly significant for the Stansfields, who, up until a few years ago, never imagined that they would be property owners.
‘I was in my early 50s when Cathy first started talking about getting a mortgage and buying a property,’ said Rob. ‘I’d been in Jersey for nearly 30 years at that point and had always rented, so the prospect of taking on a mortgage a bit later in life was somewhat worrying.’
Swayed by Cathy’s dream and determination to get onto the property ladder, though, Rob soon found himself sitting in front of Lloyds Bank International mortgage manager Liz Walton.
‘It was in December 2015 that the opportunity to buy a property through Andium Homebuy – an assisted purchase scheme for first-time buyers – came up,’ said Cathy, who had initially registered for the programme in 2005. ‘We had been offered a property before but a change in our circumstances meant that we had to continue renting for a while but, when this opportunity came up, I was determined to take it.’
So determined was Cathy, in fact, that she almost completed the deal before Rob had seen the three-bedroom home.
‘When I did go to see it, I wasn’t sure that it was right for us, but Cathy talked me into it,’ he said with a chuckle.
‘Despite the fact that I really wanted to move from renting to buying, I wasn’t sure that we would be able to afford a mortgage, especially as my perception of the banks was that they had very strict lending criteria, but I decided that there was no harm in trying,’ said Cathy.
‘I couldn’t see how we could possibly get a mortgage when we didn’t have the money to pay the legal fees,’ said Rob. ‘I was convinced it was a non-starter.’
Driven by a desire to support her clients, though, Liz had other ideas.
‘I could see how much it meant to Rob and Cathy to get onto the property ladder and I really wanted to make those dreams a reality for them,’ she said. ‘However, it was also important to ensure we were protecting the customer by lending responsibly. In keeping with the fundamental approach at Lloyds, I had to ensure that offering the clients a mortgage wouldn’t put them under any financial pressure. After all, there’s no point living in the house of your dreams if you can’t afford to enjoy it.’
‘Liz was very thorough in all her conversations with us, and her advice was invaluable in helping us to budget and avoid any financial stress,’ said Cathy. ‘Before we applied for the mortgage, she recommended clearing any personal loans and credit cards, advice which still resonates with me today.
‘I’ve always been quite good at planning and budgeting, but I was still nervous that our application would be declined because of the value of the mortgage and Rob’s age.’
In March 2016, though, just three months after viewing the property and sitting down with Liz for the first time, the couple had moved into their home.
‘At that point, because of the nature of the Andium programme, we only owned 75% of the house,’ said Cathy, ‘so, a few years later, when there were only eight years remaining on that mortgage, I approached Andium and Lloyds again to see whether we could buy the last 25%.
‘Again, I fully expected to be told that we wouldn’t be able to afford such a move but, once more, Liz worked incredibly hard to make it possible for us.’
And, once more, it was the couple’s financial prudence which enabled Liz to offer them a solution.
‘As with the first mortgage, Cathy and Rob were worried that Rob’s age might go against them when the application was reviewed,’ said Liz. ‘However, because we are now able to extend the term of the mortgage up to the person’s 70th birthday, we were able to look at the amount required over a longer period. As always, though, the question of responsible lending comes in and, if we extend a mortgage into a person’s retirement, we also look at people’s pensions to ensure that they are able to comfortably afford those repayments in the last few years of the term.’
And it was that second mortgage which was particularly significant for the couple.
‘That was the big one because that was when the house became fully ours,’ smiled Cathy. ‘Now we can start the fun part, carrying out some renovations and installing a new kitchen to get everything the way that we want it.’
And with Cathy’s creativity coming to the fore, Rob admits that, despite his initial misgivings, he has no regrets about becoming a homeowner.
‘Taking out a mortgage can be scary because it is a big commitment,’ he said. ‘However, I’m really glad we did it. It’s the best investment we’ve ever made, and it just shows that, with the right support, you can bring your dreams to life.’
Lloyds Bank International is the registered business name of Lloyds Bank Corporate Markets plc in Jersey. The Jersey branch of Lloyds Bank Corporate Markets plc’s principal place of business is 9 Broad Street, St Helier, Jersey JE2 3RR and is licensed by the Jersey Financial Services Commission to carry on deposit-taking business under the Banking Business (Jersey) Law 1991 and general insurance mediation business under the Financial Services (Jersey) Law 1998. Lloyds Bank Corporate Markets plc has also notified the Jersey Financial Services Commission that it carries on money service business. Lloyds Bank Corporate Markets plc, Jersey branch, subscribes to the Jersey Code of Practice for Consumer Lending.