"I can’t help but think that these conditions may address some of the less healthy aspects of the market going into this period."
We spoke to Rory Cleary, senior BDM at MT Finance, about how Covid-19 could change the specialist lending market and why brokers have a great opportunity to correct the myths surrounding bridging loans.
FR: You recently joined MT Finance as a senior business development manager for London - what does a typical day look like for you?
Getting up early and doing some form of exercise before I start work is important to me. Yoga is my current go-to as it makes me feel well prepared for the day ahead, both physically and mentally.
As I am new to MT Finance, most of my day is spent trying to learn as much as I can about the company as possible. This involves plenty of reading but also lots of calls with my new colleagues to see what they are up to. MT Finance has not stopped lending throughout this lockdown so there is no shortage of deals for me to look be looking at.
I’m also being contacted by plenty of brokers, so my favourite part of the day is catching up with people I haven’t spoken to in a while to see how they are.
FR: What trends are you seeing in the London market at the moment?
I’m not sure there is enough data around right now to identify any real trends other than the obvious lockdown slowdown. I do think London has been waiting for Brexit to get done for the past couple of years and the property market started to show some green shoots in January and February. Therefore, I expect London and its many property bulls to be waiting to charge once lockdown restrictions begin to relax.
They will face logistical challenges no doubt and I question whether there will be a willingness for sellers to accept lower values quickly. But with keen agents, skilled brokers and responsive solicitors, I’m confident that green shoots can be seen once again by the end of the year.
FR: How will the Covid-19 outbreak affect the market and how can lenders and advisers overcome these difficulties?
The obvious answer is that these challenging conditions have served to highlight exactly how important strong relationships are within this market. Even during this complete lockdown, lenders and brokers are doing a stellar job at keeping in touch. We should all pat each other on the back for this.
Thinking about the bigger picture though, I can’t help but think that these conditions may address some of the less healthy aspects of the market going into this period. The bridging finance market has been saturated with a large volume of lenders offering little or no added-value. Off the back of this, there has been a race to the bottom which has seen ever increasing downward pressure on rates. This can be good for consumers, but only when provided by a reputable lender. Meanwhile, loan-to-values have been rising as too many lenders have sought to compete in a relatively small market. Both lenders and brokers need to work together on maybe correcting some of these issues.
FR: What are MT Finance’s main aims or focuses in 2020? Do you have any exciting news or plans you can tell us about?
Keeping the business model sensible, as it always has been. We want to continue to forge long-lasting relationships with intermediaries as we grow at a healthy pace.
FR: What more should the financial services industry be doing to support brokers and clients?
Education. I bet there are brokers and borrowers out there who think bridging finance is too expensive and riddled with bad practice. I worked for two high-street lenders during my first five years in lending and that’s what I thought. BDMs and brokers have a great opportunity to correct these myths.
FR: If you could see one headline about the financial services in 2020, what would it be?
‘London property market bounces back sharply after Brexit and lockdown setbacks’.