Service is key

I was negotiating a new mobile phone contract this week and after a full review of the service providers available, with their multitude of different and sometimes incomprehensible tariffs....

I was negotiating a new mobile phone contract this week and after a full review of the service providers available, with their multitude of different and sometimes incomprehensible tariffs, I decided to opt for a 12-month contract with the 'highly recommended' service provider from an independent industry publication.

After a couple of weeks of poor service and a few frustrating phone calls, I was certainly wishing I had an option to switch providers.

Sounds like a similar story to the bridging world?

There are many topics and arenas which you could start to discuss in the bridging and commercial industry due to the growth of the marketplace in recent years. There is no doubt that the bridging finance market is the most competitive it has ever been. With more lenders, brokers, introducers and, most importantly, more funding available, there has never been a better time to consider a short term lending solution for your client.

With the shear number of lenders promoting their products it does pose the question: “Which lender will offer the funds to my client at an affordable cost, but can also provide the underwriting and customer service, to ensure that the transaction completes efficiently to warrant further client recommendations?"

Of course, competition is healthy and works in favour of everyone concerned – lower rates, higher loan to values and product innovation are at an all-time peak. However, should the promise of product extras really need to be a consideration when looking at those all important facility recommendations? Yes, winning a trip to Dubai may be great if you are luckily enough to get pulled out of the hat but what happens after the client has paid their commitment and valuation fee? Is that application going to proceed to completion as quickly as required or do you rely on an experienced lender that does exactly what they say from the get go?

The product is also not the only consideration – the stability and experience of the lender is of equal importance. This can make a huge difference when making a lending decision – an established lender will be able to draw on years of knowledge to consider the overall deal, including client circumstances, property type and exit strategy. That’s where established lenders like Lancashire Mortgage Corporation can work closely with brokers and share our wealth of experience, knowledge and proven track record across a wide variety of products, services and client circumstances.

It’s vital to look beyond immediate benefits of a low rate, high LTV or the promise of a speedy completion – the exit route must be firmly established to reduce the risk of customer and lender running into severe difficulties when the term of the loan is reached.

The result is a responsible and well-measured bridging finance decision that meets long term aspirations and protects all concerned. So how can brokers decide which lender to use and satisfy them that the business is stable and that it offers appropriate products?

Points which brokers need to consider are:
- Client circumstances;
- How definite is the exit strategy?;
- Lender experience;
- Proven long term stability of the lender;
- Speed of service;
- Wide ranging products; and
- Track record over many years for 24 hour completions.

So, back to my initial predicament... It left me with a new 12 month contract, a ‘fruit’ based phone and tablet, a 55" 3D LED television and a week’s holiday in Slovakia, but the fact that I can't speak to anyone on the phone renders the overall product and service pointless. Personally I wished I'd stuck with the Nokia 3310 with no fancy apps but with Snake and Space Impact, at least the job will get done and that is the most important part.

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