Bridging completion times fall: Industry reacts

Despite a fall, the average bridging loan completion time is still "shocking", according to Jonathan Sealey, CEO of bridging lender Hope Capital.

The comment follows the latest Bridging Trends report which found that the average completion time of a bridging loan application had decreased by 11 days in Q2 to 39 days, compared with 50 in Q1.

However, despite the fall in loan processing times, Jonathan wasn’t impressed. 

“While completion times have fallen by 11 days according to Bridging Trends, the average completion time is still a shocking 39 days.  

“This is still way too long for a bridging loan, which is meant to be renowned for speed to completion.”

“I think that completion times most definitely need to fall further.  

“For them to be as high as they are indicates that either some lenders’ processes need streamlining or that the borrower has not been made aware of what information they need to provide and by when.”

Why have bridging completion times fallen? 

Jonathan felt that the drop in time had probably been driven by an increase in competition.

Meanwhile, Richard Tugwell, intermediary relationship director at Together, added: “I think the fall in completion time comes as a result of lenders like us being much clearer on our lending criteria, with brokers knowing very quickly what our product offering is. 

“Our dedicated team of business development managers proactively contact intermediaries, building up strong and long-lasting relationships with them, so that they can make sure they are aware of the expectations for packagers.”

Michael Dean, principal at Avamore Capital, felt the stats in the Bridging Trends report seemed like a bit of an outlier. 

“In this quarter’s stats, there’s less regulated bridging as a percentage of the total, so that could go some way to explaining why the average times for completions have gone down. 

“Lenders in the regulated space that have to behave like banks (because they are now banks in many cases) will probably mirror slow high street banks in their behaviour.”

How to further speed up completion times

Jonathan felt that the broker could play an important role in helping to speed things up by making it clear to the borrower from the outset what was required and by recommending the right lender.

“Then it is down to the lender to be able to turn around the case quickly, while still conducting appropriate due diligence.  

“Too many cases are delayed by lenders requiring sign off from an external credit committee or by them promising one thing and changing their mind at the last minute. 

“This is not only bad for the borrower, but also risks damaging a broker’s reputation. 

“Borrowers should be relying on their brokers to use the fastest, most-streamlined services.”

Jack Coombs, director at Aspen Bridging said it was taking a pragmatic approach and relying on title insurance to achieve consistently faster completion times.

“This combination enables our eight-day standard completion and we can reduce this with an experienced borrower.”

Michael added: “From our perspective, I don’t think there’s been a material change in completion times – we’re ready when the borrower is or, more importantly, their solicitor is. 

“We’ve done a few drawdowns in under a week in the last month alone."

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