Why I’m targeting ex-military to join my mortgage broker academy

Effective recruitment is an ongoing challenge for business owners, and the mortgage industry is no exception. Paul Flavin, MD of Zing Mortgages, explains why he is targeting ex-military personal for his own mortgage academy.
In times of old, companies such as Allied Dunbar and Pearl took raw recruits, sent them away to insurance boot camp and out popped ready-made advisers, able to generate their own leads, cross-sell products and build a relationship with their clients.

Nowadays, that investment in sales expertise has gone, replaced by compliance training and product knowledge.

Anyone who’s tried opening a bank account will know exactly what I mean: an eager young bank employee sits you down and starts off with the scripted compliance speech and, if you dare to interrupt with a question, it results in them having to start the patter all over again.

A generation of order takers

There are very few sales-trained advisers coming into the industry. Those stalwarts who survived the 2008 crash, which saw the number of registered mortgage advisers drop by around 80%, have become order takers, simply signing up the mortgage and moving on to the next customer.

The cross-selling of protection and general insurance has become something that they’ll get around to sometime later… or, more often, sometime never, as they’re too busy.

I keep hearing about the threat from automated robo-advice, allegedly the beginning of the end for traditional face-to-face consultations. But, how many advisers can put hand to heart and genuinely say that they give their clients a full and valued service? To me, that also includes maintaining the relationship after the mortgage completes, not calling the customer 21 months later and hoping they remember you enough to use your services again.

Mortgage boot camp

I really want Zing to expand but I have a constant battle on my hands, trying to find quality advisers. It’s led me to believe my only way forward is to start my own Zing Mortgage Academy.

I want to take people in their late twenties/early thirties with a bit of life experience and an ability to follow structure and procedure. I’ll give them some intense training including: phone skills, self-generating leads, overcoming objections, cross-selling and relationship building. I’ll have three months to produce the ideal mortgage sales person who doesn’t expect £100k per year, 10 leads per day passed their way and no evening and weekend work.

But where does a ready supply of such candidates exist, I hear you ask. Well, that’s the easy part, the military, or rather people coming to the end of their service and looking for a new career path.

Think of it, they fulfill everything on my wish list. It may turn out to be a crazy and expensive experiment but, unless we start training people to give our clients someone they can trust and value, then roll on robo-advice as there will be no delineation between what you offer and what’s available on the internet. In fact, the internet choice will probably be a lot more efficient.

‘Zing’ it from the rooftops!

HLPartnership AR business Zing Mortgages scoops another prestigious award.

Zing Mortgages has just been awarded Winner in the Mortgage Finance Gazette Awards for Best Customer Service. A testament to their structured approach to customer service. Paul was presented with the award by Joanne Atkin, Group Editor at Mortgage Finance Gazette (pictured).

Zing were not just the only non national provider to win, but also to be nominated! Judges including IMLA and CML were in no doubt that Zing’s customer service was second to none.

This comes hot off the heels of recent acknowledgement at The European Business Awards, another gold medal winning performance, where Zing took the top spot in the Best Overall Company award.

These awards are recognition of their structured approach to customer service which has seen Zing grow its revenue by over 300% in just three years.

Click the link below to read more!

‘Zing’ it from the rooftops!

Mortgage Gazette Award

Zing Mortgages is delighted to announce that it has won Best Service Provider for non-lenders in the 2017 Mortgage Finance Gazette awards.  These prestigious awards recognise those in the lending industry who really understand their role in delivering great customer service to clients.

Paul Flavin, Managing Director of Zing Mortgages comments “At Zing we have recognised that to build a successful business you have to understand the needs of the customer, especially when it comes to the biggest purchasing decision of their lives – buying and enjoying a home.  By being able to introduce a technology led solution that allows a Zing adviser to invest their time in the advice, safe in the knowledge that the administration process is delivered to the highest of customer expectations, then the end result is a satisfied customer willing to provide recommendations and positive feedback.”

Flavin continues “Being recognised by such a high profile judging panel for offering great customer service and competing against Banks and Building Societies whose budgets and resource are significant means this award is a great achievement for the firm, its advisers and staff.  For many businesses great customer service is just three words, but for us it’s the ethos behind why we launched Zing and developed the company in the way we have.

This award comes shortly after the firm took home the Best Overall Company title at this year’s European Business Excellence Awards, which shine a light on successful and innovative firms. Zing was also nominated in two other categories- Best Service Based Business and Fastest Growing Business. The European Business Excellence Awards were launched in 2007, annually attracting nominations from more than 24,000 firms across 33 countries. Past winners have been from a range of industries, including cosmetics, pharmaceutical, engineering, fashion, and manufacturing.

Zing Mortgages was set up in 2010 to give members of the public access to quality mortgage advice at a time and place most suited to them.


For more information contact:-

Paul Flavin, Zing Mortgages: Office: 01702 423900; Mob: 07968 822606


The decline of first time buyers

In the UK last year there was a 0.5% drop in the number of first-time buyers, to 310,000, according to the Halifax, which they put down to the lack of affordable housing, particularly in London and the south east.

I think that’s an over-simplification – there are many other economic factors to explain the reduction in  first time buyer numbers. For a start, the average 27-year-old earns less today than they did 25 years ago, and over the past 10 years,  owner occupation in the 25 to 35-year-old sector has dropped from 59% to 36% – not to mention the fact that, this last decade, first-time buyers’ deposits have rocketed a whopping 88%

Although these statistics are undeniable, I do wonder if this is also a social shift in expectation as much as an economic one.

Being a 60s baby boomer,  I was born into a family environment where home ownership was seen as a status symbol.  It was drummed into me from an early age to invest your money into bricks and mortar, but this was at a time when parents’ memories were still filled with a much less plentiful post-war era.

It was also a time when only people looking to follow a profession went to university. You left school, either got an apprenticeship or a friend or family member found you a job at the company where they were employed. You would see adverts for second hand cars stating “house purchase forces sale,” showing the lengths people would go to achieve home ownership.

Fast forward now to the present batch of 25 to 35 year olds and the background is very different. They have generally grown up in more affluent times, attended university or have friends who have attended university, where the idea of renting has been given credence. Gap years and travelling are more common and defined career paths aren’t established so early on. People also get married and have children later. This means that the pressure and status of home ownership no longer exists and the taboo of renting has been smashed. It’s now far more acceptable to rent, to be more transient with work and to establish a career path later in life.

It’s also a world of instant gratification. If you want something don’t worry about saving for it, just have it and put the cost on a credit card or loan. Perhaps the approach should change? First-time buyers are making a genuine effort to purchase an asset which will increase in value over the long term, but getting on the property ladder is made hard for them, sometimes impossible, if they can only raise a small deposit. How about making their lives easier and concentrating economic policy on making credit harder to obtain through loans and credit cards? This would lower monthly financial commitments as well as reducing reliance on credit, which must be a good thing.

Yes, the statistics confirm what is happening to the first-time buyer and  I 100% agree that, for those wishing to purchase their own home the new stress tests have made the entry bar harder to achieve. But, and it’s a big but – I do also feel that some of the people not purchasing have made an informed choice not to, delaying that leap until they are at a time and place in their life when they are ready to settle down.

Enviably perhaps, some of the current batch of potential first-time buyers do choose living life to the full  over home ownership!

On the verge of a housing revolution

In the UK we currently have…

  • An estimated shortfall of 1 million houses
  • 3 million 20 to 34 year olds living with parents
  • 4 million people on the social housing list
  • 1 trillion in housing equity held by people in retirement
  • The average 27-year-old earning less today than 25 years ago – allowing for cost of living increases

Something must give – but what?

In 2015, 150000 new homes were built and 20000 offices were converted to residential properties. At the same time 275,000 building plots were approved. It’s expected that within two years, the building of new homes will break the 200000 per year barrier. That’s a few baby steps in the right direction, isn’t it?

The government has  pledged £3 billion to a Home Builders’ Fund, which will provide loans to galvanise the housing industry.   A further £2 billion is promised to  an Accelerated Construction Scheme which makes public land with planning permission available to builders.  They are also pursuing an Urban Regeneration initiative which is looking at the release of brownfield sites as well as speeding up the office to residential boom by granting more permissions. More baby steps…

The trouble is that, following the 2008 crash we have lost many of the skilled tradesmen involved in the housing industry and  currently we rely on sourcing tradesmen from EU countries to fill the skills void. With the Brexit button  looming, can we rely on this source of skilled labour?  We certainly can’t train enough home-grown talent in the short term to meet demand. Baby trips up…

The insensitively-titled – Last Time Buyers

In Europe, Australia and America there are various house building programmes specifically for people in retirement. It gives them the option to downsize into something that better suits their needs whilst releasing equity they may have tied in the current property.  A further upside is that it releases housing stock back into the market.  Such a programme  is currently being considered in the UK which is cheering news for an ageing population.

Starter Homes – Will they or wont they ?

For some time now plans have been in place for a starter home programme where first time buyers receive a 20% discount on their chosen purchase. There will obviously be limitations which could be that:

  • Applicants must be under 40
  • Property value is limited to £450000 in London and £250000 elsewhere.


Hopefully, Philip Hammond will have news of this in his Autumn Statement but, as I said, this project has been on the cards for some time so, don’t hold your breath.


Currently the standard way of doing things is labour-intensive, slow, and faces a shortage in both skilled labour and materials.  A new approach to traditional house building must be sought. Urgently.  Whether it’s modular housing, light steel frame construction, large panel construction or custom build, we need to have a way of delivering highly efficient, quality homes of a style that people want to live in.


With massive demand, we need to be embracing new technologies to solve this chronic need. You never know, the reduction in build costs may see these new, modern houses being offered at a lower cost than traditionally-built houses.  After all they involve less labour and promise to be more efficiently built…oh, sorry must have slipped into an alternative world where profit over the good of humanity wasn’t an issue…