Nottingham Building Society and cross-border credit bureau, Nova Credit have teamed up. Specifically, the collaboration will enable foreign nationals in the UK to access and leverage their overseas credit history when applying for mortgage finance to buy a home in the UK.

The Nottingham says its new mortgage range will empower more borrowers from overseas to buy a home in the UK. It will primarily benefit borrowers entering the UK on a Skilled Worker or Health and Social Care Worker visa.

Nova Credit: partnerships with credit bureaus in over 25 countries

The product’s effectiveness is underpinned by the application of Nova Credit’s cross-border credit technology, known as Credit Passport. Since 2017, Nova Credit has forged partnerships with top consumer credit bureaus in more than 25 countries globally. This enables newcomers all over the world to move across borders taking their credit history with them.

By partnering with Nova Credit, Nottingham 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.

It means the lender can invite mortgage applicants with limited or no UK credit history to permit access to their overseas credit history. It is an outcome that enables a faster and more comprehensive underwriting experience.

The need for skilled overseas workers hits a record high

The launch coincides with the need for overseas workers to plug critical skills gaps never having been higher. A significant proportion of employees in the healthcare and IT sectors are from abroad. An estimated one in five NHS staff are not British nationals. Over 325,000 work visas were granted last year. Moreover, The Home Office anticipates this number will hit over half a million by 2028 / 2029.

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Meantime, over three million entry clearance visas granted in 2023. This represents an increase in work and study visas granted in 2023 (36%) when compared to 2019 (19%).

The 2021 Census shows that more than 1 in 7 people living the UK (10 million) were born overseas. And it’s estimated that by next year, the UK’s net population growth will be driven entirely by immigration.

Foreign workers: an underserved segment of borrowers

Despite this, however, foreign nationals remain an under-served population of borrowers. Restrictive and complex criteria often make it difficult for lenders to support them.

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. It will transform 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. 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.

Misha Esipov, CEO and co-founder, Nova Credit, added“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.”