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Should more bridging lenders launch mobile apps?

Moving to an app-based approach is something that many players in the bridging industry would like to do sooner rather than later, according to LendInvest.

The comments follow the news that bridging lender Henley Finance will be releasing its first app on 1st June in order to make applying for finance easier. 

To find out whether more bridging lenders are looking to launch a mobile app and whether it would be a good thing for the industry, Bridging & Commercial spoke to a number of leading industry professionals.

‘We are exploring options like this ourselves’

“Moving to an app-based approach is something that many players in the industry would like to do sooner rather than later,” said Matthew Tooth, chief commercial officer at LendInvest. 

“It would certainly be beneficial from a customer service point of view.”

Michael Dean, principal at Avamore Capital, felt that mobile apps and web-based systems could be of great benefit to consumers if they could provide real improvement to the user experience. 

“We are exploring options like this ourselves, but will only proceed with this if we feel that it will genuinely improve the customer service and streamline our processes. 

“If an app can speed up the time [it takes] to make enquiries and the due diligence process to draw funds, then this is a value-add and is worthwhile.”

Paul Wertheim, operations director at Mint Bridging, said an app was something it regularly considered. 

“But we do account that face-to-face and phone communication generate our primary bread and butter results, from enquiry to loan conversion. 

“If lenders constantly feel the need to introduce technology simply for appearances sake, that's their call.

“But, as we continue to talk to brokers, if they ask for a Mint app, we can introduce it very easily."

Customers still value a human, personal service

Liam Cavanagh, operations director at Ashley Finance, felt lenders needed to ensure the funding application process was as simple, streamlined and accessible as possible. 

“Technology can play a big part in simplifying the application process, not only for time-strapped businesses, but also to meet the needs of today’s tech-savvy, modern businesses.

“In addition to our digital investment, we know our customers still value a human, personal service on the phone and face to face. 

“This is unlikely to ever be replaced by a ‘self-serve’ app – and we would never want it to be.”

Mike Strange, managing director of Funding 365, said it was not considering an app at present.

“At Funding 365, we believe in understanding a case from the outset to ensure that we can offer loan terms that we will ultimately be comfortable completing.  

“Gaining a deep understanding of a loan’s complexities upfront requires a detailed conversation with the introducer.  

“We do not believe that such a detailed conversation can (or should) be replicated by a mobile phone app.”

‘The processes must be in place behind the scenes’

“…If the app purely pays lip-service to customer service and is more a ploy to appear ‘fintech’ in order to boost the platform value, then it has limited benefit to the consumer and I think the market will see through that,” said Michael. 

Sinead Moynihan, head of sales at Mint Bridging, added: “We like to talk to our business partners, borrowers and brokers.

“The subtleties that we pick up from these conversations can affect the way we complete a loan that otherwise would have been missed from an app. 

“So, as and if we introduce one, we'd need to also handcraft it, so we can read between the lines and maximise opportunities." 

Matthew added: “…The processes must be in place behind the scenes for this to be effective and the apps that will be launched will be complementary to existing online and offline services and will not be standalone."

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