Guy Harrington comments:
“I’ve always wanted to bring something different to the market, but as we get closer to our first anniversary, that something has undoubtedly turned out to be the astounding demand we have received on the back of our core values: being truly transparent and removing unnecessary fees.”
Since launching in January 2018, we have had £520m worth of enquiries. A lot of these have, of course, fallen through due to not meeting the credit criteria, but in November we nearly hit the £10m mark for loans out in one month, which for us is a milestone – and one I never thought we would be achieving at such an early stage in our business.
As a developer myself, I started the business from a client’s perspective, and being on the other side now as the lender, I definitely underestimated the importance of broker relationships. They are quite literally the core of our business and we will never take a single relationship for granted. For our clients, having direct contact with the lending team and myself on a daily basis is absolutely essential. Over 30% of our loan book has been repeat business, which is something that I am not just really proud of, but is also quite fundamental in knowing that we are doing something right for our brokers.
In terms of completing loans, we put in place a highly experienced team whose skills range across multiple specialities in real estate and finance. We work really hard to anticipate problems before they happen, but I’ve learned that there are many factors that can delay the completion of a loan, which are unfortunately out of our hands. Lawyers, valuation timing and the client’s own position. There are only a finite number of factors we can influence and control.
From a product perspective, we have seen a large increase in commercial loan enquiries. We are showing caution to these so as not to be overexposed and remain a balanced residential and commercial loan book.
One exciting area of growth for us is expanding regionally. The lesson for us here has been to invest locally in the right people. Local knowledge is everything.
On a final point, in terms of our industry as a whole, we have noticed a significant shift in banks wanting to move away from direct lending and instead deploying their capital through alternative lenders. Every week we have a bank coming to ask how to lend through us. We have also noticed a big increase in challenger banks and pension funds offering funding lines to us.
On a lighter note – “I would always say having the best team certainly makes life a lot easier.”