"The roadshow gave us a great platform for going out and meeting brokers from different parts of the country and with varying levels of knowledge and experience of bridging loans"
One of the highlights of the last few months has been taking part in the Specialist Lending Roadshows organised by Financial Reporter.
Although we have provided loans to customers all over the country, it’s fair to say that, to date, the majority of our business has come from the London area and the South East.
The roadshow gave us a great platform for going out and meeting brokers from different parts of the country and with varying levels of knowledge and experience of bridging loans and specialist lending in general.
What was clear, however, was that everyone who attended the roadshows was motivated and was there to achieve something, whether that was a better understanding of short term lending on the whole or to increase their knowledge of the products, services and approach offered by the lenders present.
The ‘round table’ format of the events worked extremely well, and rather than our sessions being along the traditional ‘let’s talk about us’ lines we spent much more time engaging with brokers about the market from their perspective.
We talked about the challenges they face and how lenders can make their jobs easier and more difficult. They were frank with us about the most annoying traits of lenders, with poor communications, inconsistent decision making and backpedalling on previously agreed terms frequently cited as the sort of behaviour which causes them to look elsewhere next time.
Rates and charges are still an important factor when brokers are placing any kind of business but other considerations such as service, trust and confidence in the people and the processes were not far behind.
There were some good discussions about potential gaps not only in our product range, but in the marketplace as a whole, and that kind of feedback is invaluable when we’re developing new products and enhancing our service. Consequently we came away feeling that we’d learned just as much (if not more!) from the brokers we’d met as they’d learned from us.
Regularly meeting brokers is something we’re keen to do even more of and Jo Edwards, our new Business Development Director across both Mortgages and Bridging, has been getting to know some of our Bridging brokers whilst out on the road with the BDMs. Jo’s experience and insight is already paying dividends for our team and we’ll continue to share ideas and best practice to take advantage of the common ground that exists between both mortgages and bridging to ensure continued development of our market offering in the best interests of our customers, our brokers and the Bank.
Over the next few months I believe that we’ll start to see more implications of the Brexit decision unfold. It’s still too soon to gauge how significant the impact has been on the areas of the property market in which we operate. Some say the weak pound has given something of a boost to sales in prime markets. Nevertheless, there’s going to be more change ahead which will bring both challenges and opportunities.
UTB remains well funded and our appetite to support brokers and borrowers in achieving their goals is as keen as ever. Our message to brokers at the moment is not to rule us out of any case before you’ve spoken to us. We have funds to lend, we are aware of how price sensitive the market can be and are well placed to make commercial decisions based on the fundamentals of the particular deal. Wherever you are and whatever solution you’re looking for, there’s a good chance we can help.