How can it be that a successful business owner of a firm with a turnover of £2 million gets snubbed by the banks when he asks for a mortgage to buy himself a home?
The answer, sadly, is that company director Malcolm Snape is 71 and therefore off limits as far as his bank is concerned when it comes to mortgages.
Ironically, the same bank has been keen to lend money to Malcolm’s profitable business, StormMeister, which manufactures and installs flood protection products throughout the UK, Europe and beyond..
“The bank did lend money to my company earlier this year to buy our industrial unit and had no problem in lending to us as a successful limited company. However lending to me as an individual was out of the question, ’Sorry, we can’t help’ was the answer purely on the basis of age.”
“We’ve used the same bank for years and the business has always had a healthy account,” said Malcolm, adding: “In fact we were recently approached by the bank when we mentioned we were bulging at the seams in our present premises. The bank said they would have no problem in lending us 80 per cent of the purchase price of industrial premises..
“They were touting for business if you like, but somewhat strangely for me to buy a house was an absolute no-no.”
Malcolm had been living in a rented house since returning from Nigeria where he had spent some time as consultant to the Akwa Ibom State Government on the establishment of a UPVc manufacturing facility. After returning to the UK it was only when a neighbour offered him the chance to buy her home that he realised his age might be a barrier to returning to home ownership.
“I quickly found out the bank has a rule and there is no negotiating, if you are over a certain age there’s no way you can buy a house”.
“Then I searched the internet and found that the Cumberland had no age limit, it was a God send,” he said.
“The Cumberland were happy to help and thanks to them I’m buying the property next door. It will be a home for me and the dog, Sammy. We’re looking forward to having a home of our own!” he added.
But Malcolm is still baffled as to why other banks and building societies have a different attitude.
“People are living longer and certainly working longer. My ex-father-in-law is 101 years old and he still takes part in the running of his business and that’s why he is 101 years old. If you have some driving force and incentive your body looks after you,” he said.
Malcolm plans to continue in a similar vein as he forges ahead with his StormMeister business. Stormmeister technology was developed by Malcolm and uses water pressure to activate a seal around flood protection products to protect homes and businesses from flooding.