"I remain unconvinced of the reliability of certain business models that lenders utilise to operate in our space, in particular crowdfunding and P2P."
We spoke to Katie Devine, senior underwriter at Affirmative Finance, about why there will be a reduction in bridging lenders in 2020 and why she would like to see financial services out of the headlines in 2020.
FR: As a senior underwriter at Affirmative Finance, what does your role involve and what does a typical day look like?
There really isn’t a typical day in the bridging industry!
Each day customers present us with new challenges and requests to get them the funding solution they need, and that keeps me on my feet.
In this industry, you have to be ready for anything, but thankfully at Affirmative, we remain flexible and present to face any requirements the customer may have.
Other than the day to day as an underwriter, one aspect of my role I take great pleasure in is working with our junior underwriters. It is great to collaborate with them and pass on my knowledge and experience but what I enjoy more than that is when they come to me with innovative solutions to secure funding for customers in ways even I wouldn’t have thought of.
FR: What are Affirmative’s main aims or focuses in 2019? Do you have any exciting news or plans you can tell us about?
Given the volatility of the market in recent times I think our primary goal for the rest of the year will be to continue to lend responsibly and to fund financially sound loans.
In our 15 years as a lender we’ve experienced economic turbulence like the 2008 credit crunch but the way we’ve have persevered is by lending in a responsible and honest way, making sure we are underwriting loans that meet the customer’s needs without putting them or us in a compromising position.
We will focus on delivering bespoke and flexible lending solutions and continue to be upfront and transparent with our fees for the remainder of 2019 just as we’ve done year on year since 2004.
FR: What trends do you expect to see within the bridging market in 2019?
I think there will be some reduction in the number of players since there have been many new entrants over the last few years. I remain unconvinced of the reliability of certain business models that lenders utilise to operate in our space, in particular crowdfunding and P2P. I think there will be instability if the economy hardens which negatively affect many lenders. I would also not be surprised to see rates rise.
At Affirmative we always take the view of sensible lending and caution.
FR: What are the biggest issues facing advisers in the current economic environment and what should they be aware of when dealing with clients?
Advisers need to be aware of credible exit strategies and demand for properties being sold. Where this is dependent on the sale or refinance of property, the former will be affected directly by the availability of money in the marketplace where in the future will depend upon base rate and economic awareness, the latter already problematic since fewer houses are selling from the latest data.
FR: If you could see one headline about financial services in 2020, what would it be?
Personally, I’d like to see financial services out of the headlines in the coming months. With the historical PPI scandal dominating the press for so long and recent negative publicity surrounding parts of the P2P market, it would be great for some stability so we can all focus on positive outcomes for the customer.