Senior Mortgage Consultant Matthew Long has spent his entire working life helping his clients achieve their life goals in home ownership.
But Matthew is all about setting and achieving goals of his own, so let’s meet the most sporting member of the Professional Contractor Mortgages team as he turns 40.
A career in mortgages
Matthew cut his teeth in financial services by joining the Cheltenham & Gloucester Building Society straight from college, working on the helpline for existing mortgage customers. After a short spell at a mortgage broker, he returned to the C & G to become a mortgage adviser after taking his CeMAP qualifications. Matthew went on to become the key adviser for their mortgage and savings customers across the south, covering branches across the south of England and eventually working his way up to manager of the Southampton branch.
Around 10 years ago Matthew set himself two major goals – to get married to the woman of his dreams and to join a specialist contractor mortgage broker. He achieved them both (only a few months apart) and now has a young family and a deep understanding of the needs of contractors and the difficulties they face getting the finance they deserve.
Don’t panic, confidence will return
Decades of experience in the mortgage market, across diverse products and through good times and bad, mean Matthew has seen it all. This gives him a great perspective on the recent chaos in the political arena and the knock-on effect it is having on the economy and the housing market in particular:
“It’s been a rocky time lately but my experiences have made me a better broker. I’ve been around a while now and I’ve seen everything from interest-only endowment mortgages holders struggling to clear their debt to lenders withdrawing their products across the board at the start of Covid. My job is to help people understand the market and the implications of the changes going through and I’m sure that confidence will gradually return. People are waiting to see what will happen, but inflation falling is giving people more confidence and there are some great deals to be had in the property market now. I don’t see a big fall in house prices as demand will always outstrip supply, and I can see the housing market coming back in the spring to summer period.”
Despite being cautiously positive overall, Matthew suggests that remortgaging is one area of the market that is in for something of a shock in 2023:
“More than a million fixed-rate mortgages will be expiring this year, and pretty much all of them will have been set at historically low rates. Rates have jumped significantly and some these customers have never known base rates over 2%, so their next mortgage rate could be something of a shock to them. At PCM, we will be advising clients on affordability and guiding people around all the refinancing options available to them.”
Building long-term relationships
Matthew joined Professional Contractor Mortgages last year as he felt his previous employer had lost sight of creating relationships with clients, rather than simply getting the paperwork signed and moving on:
“I am lucky in that I love my job – I thrive on helping people achieve their life goals. But it’s not just about the mortgage offer but what happens afterwards, and PCM has a different attitude to most brokers in this respect. We’re not a transactional business, we’re a relationship business and follow up with every client at regular intervals during the course of their mortgage. You get to know your clients better over time, so you can meet their needs as their lives change. In short, we take time to put the client first not the mortgage, and you can see how much that matters to people from our Google and Trustpilot reviews or comments on Linkedin. I love reading them and seeing that we have made a difference.”
No one wants to go to voicemail
One aspect of how PCM works stands out to Matthew:
“We work as a team here and we understand that no one really wants their call to go to voicemail. Whatever I’m doing I will always try to pick up a call coming in from my own clients or for my colleagues. I would not want my calls to a business to be parked, it’s important to respect people’s time so we try to take the call wherever possible and make sure that the client is OK.”
Addicted… in a good way!
Outside the office, Matthew played football at a high level for many years, then got seriously into running about 10 years ago. He says he and his family have got the fitness bug in a big way:
“I’ve got an A level in Sports Science and an addictive personality when it comes to exercise – fitness is all about progression for me. I recently ran 10K in under 45 minutes which hit one of my long-term goals. I read an article that said 1% of all people will run a marathon, and only 15% of them will do it under 4 hours, and I’ve been trying to beat that time ever since. I’ve run marathons and half-marathons all over the country, one of my favorites is Milton Keynes where you finish in the stadium. My wife used to be a gymnast so thankfully she understands the training that has to go in, but I’m carrying an injury for now and had to pass up the London Marathon this year. My eldest is just getting into it as well, he’s going to be taking on a 5K so it’s great to see him have running goals of his own.”
No bad habits?
“I was very weight conscious as a schoolboy, which makes me super disciplined with food. I don’t like chocolate as I made myself ill with it as a kid, and if I haven’t been to the gym I get guilty! I do like a bag of wine gums though”.
Taking the challenge
“My colleague Olivia challenged me to do the Great South Run in Portsmouth and offered to pay for my entry, but only if I did it in fancy dress! I wore a flamingo outfit and could hardly see where I was going as the head piece almost completely covered my face. I managed a very decent time though, so I didn’t mind.”
Matthew has this to say about his future at Professional Contractor Mortgages:
“It was a big decision to leave my previous employer after 10 years, I could could have stayed but I left for a new challenge at PCM, a company that has the right outlook towards its clients. I am bought in, we are a close group here and we care about giving our clients the right advice for the big decisions in their lives. In the long term I might think about working in a new area of the business such as compliance, but I want to stay here for as long as they will have me.”