Buy to Let

Criteria Hub to sign bulk licencing agreements ahead of Q4 launch

Lender comparison tool Criteria Hub will boost its broker count by signing licencing agreements with networks, clubs and major adviser firms.

Its director Jason Hegarty, who is also a broker, plans to monetise the system with a similar model to MortgageBrain and Trigold once it launches in the fourth quarter of the year.

He founded the system – which lists residential criteria but will add buy-to-let come October – after getting frustrated with the time it takes to jump from one lender’s criteria page to another.

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Hegarty said: “We’re now in talks to secure bulk licencing agreements.

“So we are speaking to a number of networks, clubs and larger firms who are potentially interested in bulk purchasing licences to distribute to their firms and advisers.”

Criteria Hub is currently in beta and free to use after two and a half years of development, but once it launches individual brokers will be charged £25 plus VAT per month.

So far 300 advisers are using the platform, though Hegarty is expecting this to rise to over 1,000 by the end of the year.

Once the system is rolled out in full the plan is to boost the adviser count further by advertising using Google AdWords and the trade press.

The system hosts residential criteria but this will be extended to buy-to-let after the portfolio rules from the Prudential Regulation Authority come into force on 30 September.

The focus has been on making it easier for lenders to list their criteria quickly in the past few months ahead of this update.

Hegarty added: “We’ve cut down the time it takes for a lender to come onto the system by about half since May with buy-to-let in mind.

“We are going to launch buy-to-let in October because that will be after the second implementation of the PRA changes to portfolio landlords.

“Providing they have their residential criteria on the system lenders will be able to look at where it matches and say ‘okay that’s the same as residential’.

“So it’s all about saving time for lenders.”

Lenders list the criteria where they don’t lend at the outset, limiting the amount of forms they have to fill in.

They can access constantly updated reports, with one being ‘opportunities’ that details criteria where they don’t lend but other lenders do.

And from next year they will also be able to see what brokers are commonly searching using the system to get a feel of what’s in demand.

Since May the amount of lenders listing residential criteria on the platform has doubled from 20 to 40, with 10-15 more being in the pipeline.

In that time the amount of individual pieces of criteria on the system has more than doubled from 2,000 to 5,000.

As well as being the owner of Criteria Hub, Hegarty owns Suffolk-based brokerage Keystone IMC.

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