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and scrape but I think that’s all part of the fun. It’s also reasonably impervious to recessions – yes we’re having tough times now but consumer desire to live in and own a property will never go. I don’t think we’ll ever become like mainland Europe and be a nation of renters.” Duffy also makes a bold prediction for the future. “By next Spring being a mortgage broker will be one of the best occupations that someone could hold,” he says and you can see he means it. He’s confident on this year’s remortgage opportunity and buy-to-let is also a big focus.

The CML anticipates £133bn gross lending this year, but Duffy is more upbeat. “It’s very early but my vibe right now is that this year could be 5% to 10% better than last year,” he says. “I think the £130bn figure that’s been mooted is the base. I think we could end up somewhere nearer £140bn to 145bn.” Duffy is animated about the specialist end of the market and sees continued capacity in buy-to-let, bridging and complex prime business this year. “People who only see a threat when opportunity knocks won’t endure in the new market,” he says. “Making money and developing a business isn’t easy. Anyone can graft away but it’s increasingly about being imaginative and taking calculated risks. I challenge my team with the words: average is over, what’s your extra?

Education: University of Surrey, English Literature

Greatest Briton in history: William Shakespeare

Favourite play: Macbeth

March 2010 compared to a £7,784 profit in 2008/09. The same month it came to light that the management would buy the firm out from its owner West Bromwich building society. In March 2011 the deal was done for an undisclosed sum and Duffy became the majority shareholder. “We are now firmly back in the black and that skin in the game makes every day count.

“I’ve been in the broker business for 18 years and through six businesses

and made as many mistakes as the next guy. In the beginning I think you try to be all things to all people and really that’s a foolish way to go about it. As you get older you realise less is more and it’s more important to have a few fertile relationships with partners you enjoy engaging with rather than two dozen just for the sake of it.”


One of the things you notice about Duffy when speaking to him is his positivity. “It’s a fun industry to work in,” he says when asked why he’s stuck with mortgages through thick and thin. “It’s filled with garrulous and cantankerous individuals. It does suffer from being perceived as being a bit bump

“I also say to people, you’ve got fifteen months of mucky gardening ahead. But cultivate your business between now and spring 2013 knowing that there may be only 8,000 mortgage brokers at that point. In comparative terms you’ll be in a better position than in 2007.” As those who know him will be familiar with, Duffy admits he overdoes his metaphors – and sports are his favourite. The 10 time marathon runner leaves me with this advice for brokers: “We’re at the 20 mile point in the marathon. It’s only pain and we are through the worst of it. See it through.” People who say what they mean and say it to your face are few and far between. You might disagree with Mr D. But he’s worth listening to.


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