Mortgage restrictions ease for umbrella contractors

So here’s some good news: self-employed Brits like umbrella contractors and freelancers are finding it easier than ever to secure a mortgage.

At least that’s what the Intermediary Mortgage Lenders Association (IMLA) says. A new report from the industry body says that mortgage lenders are easing the restrictions on home loans when it comes to people who are not in traditional employment. In fact, so-called non-standard mortgage applicants in general – individuals that include not just the self-employed but people borrowing into retirement and first-time buyers – are experiencing a higher level of approvals, the IMLA’s report said.

The research found that acceptance levels haven’t been this high since 2008 on the eve of the credit crunch that led to the global economic downturn. This has of course has put some bankers on high alert, as these skittish, rabbit-like creatures startle easily; a few lenders have tightened their credit criteria in purse-clutching terror. Still, the overall trend of more approvals continues, which is something that will benefit not just umbrella company contractors, freelancers, and other self-employed Brits but the wider economy of the UK.

For what it’s worth, I’m taking this as yet another sign that the employment landscape of the UK has changed dramatically. Traditional employment methods are becoming increasingly staid and decidedly a more antiquated way of doing things; while there will always be a place for the salaryman in the modern British economy, the fact that something like 4.6 million Brits are earning a living in self-employment right now is indicative of how far the field has evolved. With banks and other lenders coming around to smell the roses as well now, it just reinforces my thought that self-employment is becoming increasingly mainstream.

I mean, let’s be honest. When banks are willing to lend you money, you know you’ve made it into mainstream society. Do you know one banker that isn’t incredibly conservative and cagey with their money – or the money of their financial institution? Of course you don’t! The words “generosity in lending” go together about as well as “military intelligence.” And that’s not me taking the piss out of our armed forces, by the way, so don’t send me any angry letters in the post if you don’t mind. Though if you want to send a few 20-pound notes I won’t say no. Just include a return address so I can send you a receipt for charitable contribution. You know, for your taxes.


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