The mortgage broker is campaigning to bring in more British Sign Language (BSL) consultants to help deaf and hard of hearing people get mortgage counseling.
Greenacre Financial Services, an appointed representative of the JLM Mortgage Services brokerage network, is already home to BSL-trained consultant Matt Butler.
The firm intends to expand its Deaf Mortgage Counseling service to other JLM augmented reality firms by training BSL staff and encouraging consultants to actively market to Deaf people.
This allows Greenacre to attract up to 66 consultants working for JLM’s AR firms.
Greenacre is concerned that the Deaf community has become “underserved demographic borrowers.” According to the latest government statistics, there are 11 million deaf or hard of hearing in the UK.
By comparison, there are only 151,000 BSL users in the UK. This means that for every 73 deaf or hard of hearing people, only one person knows sign language.
“Diversity and inclusiveness have taken on new meaning in the mortgage consultancy market, especially over the past few years,” said Sebastian Murphy, JLM’s head of mortgage finance.
“I think we can all agree that we have potentially neglected the needs of these clients and fully support Greenacre’s campaign to get more people to get the advice they are entitled to.
“We will share this with all JLM AR firms and hope that it will serve as a catalyst for other consulting firms offering similar services.”
There are several consulting firms and individuals outside the JLM network that are already touting affordable mortgage advice for the deaf and hard of hearing.
These include Plus Financial Solutions from Northampton, Money Advice Plus from Brighton and Hove, and individuals through cherryFind’s referral search tool.
Greenacre’s services include mortgage and protection advice. Its managing director, Greg Stanworth, watched Butler, a BSL consultant, sign these services to clients.
Stanworth said clients were “happy and overjoyed” to be able to discuss their mortgage needs with someone who could sign. He added: “We are encouraging other firms to see what they can do in this area.”
JLM employs 89 consultants in total. Private network consultants are involved in the protection and management of capital, as well as mortgages.