The rapport, understanding and trust between a broker and client is what gets deals over the line. It’s therefore crucial to the success of the industry. Without it, it wouldn’t have been possible for members of the Association of Short Term Lenders (ASTL) to have written more than £4bn of bridging loans last year.
But, behind the scenes, there’s another relationship that’s just as important to the smooth running and development of the market: that between brokers and the lenders whose products they advise on.
As a business development manager, it’s probably no surprise that I would say this, but a good broker-lender relationship is absolutely the secret to successful bridging finance. Any successful relationship — in life, in business, anywhere — is a two-way street and never has this been more relevant than in the specialist lending market.
- B&C roundtable: BTL lender departures, hybrid products and utopian underwriters
- Masthaven revamps bridging range
- Benson Hersch to step down as CEO of the ASTL
First, as we’ve discussed at Masthaven many times before, there’s still a huge knowledge gap around bridging finance. That’s true not just among the public, but also among many brokers. Still, to this day, many perceive bridging loans as too niche or specialist. They haven’t seen how bridging finance has developed and become more mainstream in recent years, being put to a wide range of uses. Lenders still have a big education job on their hands and that means talking to the broker community regularly and being ready to answer any questions on the topic.
Second, communication is particularly important when it comes to bridging finance because of the importance of the details and potential complexity of the underwriting process. This is completely different to traditional mortgage lending and getting the specifics of each case right at the outset is vital. Lenders must be overtly clear about what’s needed for the application process to run smoothly. This will, in turn, make brokers lives easier, so they thoroughly understand the underwriting process and can effectively implement it into their day-to-day businesses to fully appreciate the benefits of bridging finance.
Finally, relationships and communication are about listening as much as — if not more than — talking. After all, it’s brokers who are closest to the customers, and what they can tell us lenders is easily as important as what we try to communicate to them. Brokers’ feedback — good, bad or somewhere in between — is invaluable when it comes to developing our processes and products to help them meet the needs of an evolving market.
At Masthaven, we try hard to be good listeners — and to act on what we hear from brokers. That is why we’ve recently harmonised rates across our bridging range — levelling the playing field and making bridging accessible to all. It’s also why we’ve introduced a new refurbishment feature to meet the growing demand brokers say they’re seeing from people using the finance for this purpose.
That’s just two recent examples, but they won’t be the last. If we want to keep growing the bridging market and seeing more customers benefit from all it’s got to offer, we have to keep the lines of communication between brokers and lenders firmly open.