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Nottingham Building Society Simplifies Mortgage Application Process for Foreign Internationals

Applying for a mortgage can be challenging, especially if a clear credit history or income isn’t readily available. One group affected by this are foreign nationals in the UK. However, a partnership between the Nottingham Building Society and Nova Credit, the cross-border credit bureau is looking to make the home-buying process easier. 

The Nottingham’s new mortgage range is an innovative solution that will empower more borrowers from overseas to realise their home-buying dream in the UK. The solution will be primarily underpinned by NovaCredit’s Credit Passport, its cross-border credit technology.

Having embedded Nova Credit’s technology, the lender can now invite mortgage applicants with limited or no UK credit history to permit access to their credit history from overseas – an outcome that enables a faster and more comprehensive underwriting experience.

It will primarily be available to borrowers entering the UK on a Skilled Worker or Health and Social Care Worker visa.

By partnering with Nova Credit, Nottingham Building Society now has access to siloed foreign credit data in a growing number of countries worldwide. These countries include India, Philippines, Australia, US, Canada, Germany, Austria, Spain, Switzerland, Mexico, Dominican Republic, Kenya and Korea.

Since 2017, Nova Credit has forged partnerships with top consumer credit bureaus in more than 25 countries globally enabling newcomers all over the world to move across borders taking their credit history with them.

Need for overseas workers

The launch of this new product comes at a time when the need for overseas workers to plug critical skills gaps has never been higher. A significant proportion of employees in the healthcare and IT sectors are from abroad – nearly one in five NHS staff are not British nationals – and well over 325,000 work visas were granted last year.

The Home Office anticipates this number to hit over half a million by 2028 / 2029. What’s more, there were over three million entry clearance visas granted in 2023, which represented an increase in work and study visas granted in 2023 (36 per cent) when compared to 2019 (19 per cent).

The 2021 Census shows that more than one in seven people living in the UK (10 million) were born overseas. It’s estimated that by next year (2025) the UK’s net population growth will be driven entirely by immigration. Despite this, however, foreign nationals remain an under-served population of borrowers, with often restrictive and complex criteria making it difficult for lenders to support them.

Creating a welcoming environment in the UK
Praven Subbramoney, chief lending officer at Nottingham Building SocietyPraven Subbramoney, chief lending officer at Nottingham Building Society
Praven Subbramoney, chief lending officer at Nottingham Building Society

Praven Subbramoney, chief lending officer at Nottingham Building Society, said: “It’s a proud moment for us to be able to introduce this exciting new product; one that will transform the homeownership prospects for the growing number of foreign nationals coming to live and work in the UK.

“Many thousands of people come to the UK to work and indeed, we rely on skilled foreign workers in critical areas like healthcare and technology. But up until now many have been unable to obtain a mortgage within the first two years of being in the country because of restrictive and inflexible lending criteria. Together with our partners at Nova Credit, we want to change that.

“As a foreign national, trying to get a mortgage proved far more complicated and frustrating than it should have been. It’s as if only 75 per cent of me was allowed into the country – the UK was able to match my aspirations to earn a good living and play my part in supporting the economy, but I was unable to comfortably settle with my family.

“The need to better support under-served segments of the market is central to our purpose as a forward-looking building society. And we are delighted to be able to now meet the evolving demands of people moving into the country, not just as a place to earn money but to settle long-term, put down family roots and make the UK their home. That’s the role we believe a modern mutual should fulfil.”

Preventing financial exclusion
Misha Esipov, co-founder and CEO, Nova Credit
Misha Esipov, co-founder and CEO, Nova Credit

Misha Esipov, CEO and co-founder, Nova Credit, concluded: “When people move countries, we believe they should be able to bring their credit history with them. We are delighted to partner with Nottingham Building Society to enable UK newcomers who have the means and credit track record to put their best financial foot forward to access mortgage financing.

“Not only does our technology help serve financially excluded individuals with the access and service they want and deserve, but partnerships fuel growth for our partners in a highly strategic way. With our Credit Passport solution, we are delighted to support Nottingham Building Society as it takes advantage of a compelling new expansion opportunity into a valuable, and much under-served market that has been hiding in plain sight.”

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