Paul McGowan has been in the West End since he was an 18-year-old fresher at the University of Glasgow in September 1982. He has continued to live and work in the area since then. In 1998, he opened The Independent Mortgage Store at 93 Byres Road, providing first-class mortgage assistance to first-time buyers and property professionals alike. Paul’s hard work has recently been rewarded; The Independent Mortgage Store has just won Independent Mortgage Broker of the year (Scotland) in the Prestige awards.

Being on the doorstep of the University of Glasgow, they have assisted thousands of students obtain property through the guarantor mortgage schemes and then further assist these clients when they start their first jobs.

“Over the 33 years I’ve seen many businesses come and go, and with it the whole face and character of the road changed time and again. Who is old enough to remember the fresh pasta shop, or the men’s designer pants store, or that wonderful depository of pocket-money for everyone under the age of 50 that was Woolworth’s? And with it, the West End’s business community is also constantly changing and evolving, but the one thing that remains constant throughout all these decades is the energy and buzz that you get nowhere else in the city. I’m now old enough to be doing mortgages for children of my original clients, and one of the great benefits of having a now well-established bespoke mortgage business is remaining in touch with clients and seeing their life and businesses evolve and grow.”

“All these years on, it’s great to still be in Byres Road. When I see all the new freshers about to start their adventures at the university, and it takes me straight back to 1982 and the soundtrack of Michael Jackson’s Thriller blasting in the background!”

Like Byres Road, The Independent Mortgage Store has also had to evolve over the years. When they first opened, before the internet, everything was paper-based. Now they are paperless and are developing a strong online presence on their website, Instagram, and Facebook.

“With the current pandemic that has moved us forward again and for the last year all our client interviews have been via conference calls.”

As a thank you for looking after us all during the pandemic, The Independent Mortgage Store is waiving fees for all NHS staff for the remainder of 2021.

In his spare time, Paul is a keen traveller. “My passion is travelling and food, so experiencing new countries, cultures and cuisines would best describe my hobbies. With over 70 countries under my belt I’m eagerly awaiting lockdown being relaxed so I can get traveling again. First trips lined up will be a tour through central America and then a tour along the Silk Road taking in five of the Stans, both completely different.”