Figures from the Association of Short Term Lenders have shown that bridging lending reached £857m in Q2 this year, up 12.1% from Q1. The bridging market continues to mature and grow at an exponential rate, as an increasing number of entrants come into the market. This competition will certainly benefit the borrower.
However, as competition continues to increase, it is worrying to hear that a good level of service is seen by some lenders as ‘added value’. This suggests that they do not see this as standard practice, which of course it should be.
A trusted and transparent service is absolutely key and is a vital component when working with a bridging lender. Lenders that fail to do so inevitably will get left behind, because bridging finance and service levels, alongside speed and transparency, should always go hand in hand. Lenders who demonstrate due diligence will ultimately succeed. Rates take a backseat if the service isn’t there and the lender doesn’t deliver.
A well-known network and packager recently said that one of the key issues in the market is that bridging lenders all focus on the same USPs such as speed and flexibility. However, at Hope Capital, we are not only a bespoke principal lender; we pride ourselves on our ability to lend on very complex cases such as high LTV lending, while offering a transparent service to ensure the broker and the borrower are aware of any fees and interest rates.
We also look at each case on its individual merits. So unless the borrower hasn’t declared all the facts, a yes means a yes, as we don’t need to go to an external source for funds. Being a family run business also ultimately means that our reputation relies on providing a good service and everything we do is based on family ethics and principles.
Back in 2015 I said that service is the Holy Grail of bridging and, in an ever changing market, this is truer than ever. Looking forward into 2018, we still don’t know what type of Brexit we are going to end up with. However, if the UK fails to get the deal it needs, externally funded lenders could have their funding lines pulled. In comparison, I believe that well capitalised, principal lenders that truly value good service levels will ultimately thrive. Offering a high quality, transparent service, as well as surety of funds and access to decision makers must continue to be a priority going forwards because it is our responsibility to continue flying the flag for responsible lending.