Key reasons why certain lenders are on speed dial

As Bridging & Commercial readers will know all too well, the specialist property finance market is saturated with lenders — large, niche and somewhere in between.

At the same time, it can also feel small; the reason being, a lot of the time many of us are repeatedly sending the lion’s share of our clients towards the same lenders.

Why is simple enough: they’re a step above the rest. But what qualities do these lenders have that others don’t? And why do so many of us keep going back to them?

For me, there are a number of key reasons why certain lenders are on speed dial, and I’ll list them in no particular order as everything will vary from provider to provider.

Personally, one of the key reasons why I keep going back to a handful of lenders is the fact that I have access to one or all the decision makers.

Yes, a top-level service needs to be in the price, but nothing in my book is more important than the ability to speak to the person holding the purse strings.

It instantly cuts through a lot of the red tape and speeds things up significantly, as the person you’re dealing with is always highly experienced and on the money.

Speed is certainly another key reason why some lenders get far more business than others: they have the processes and systems in place to get deals over the line quickly.

Speed is an intrinsic part of the bridging process and it’s bizarre that not all lenders seem to get that. I suspect those that don’t have been set up by individuals from term lenders.

Another vital factor I look for is flexibility, namely the lender’s ability to adapt to a client’s specific circumstances and, if necessary, fit a square peg into a round hole.

You’d be surprised how many lenders are straitjacketed by rigid criteria and they’re the ones I again tend to avoid. Bespoke deal structuring, by contrast, is a big tick in the box.

And while it goes without saying that pricing – whether the actual rate, exit fees or free legals – are a driver, within specialist lending they’re by no means the primary driver.

There’s no point going for the best rate if the lender that offers that rate can be twitchy at the business end and let your client down just as they’re approaching a deadline.

Above all, as a broker or packager you want certainty from a lender, namely the confidence that – whatever it takes – they will get your deal across the line in time.

In this game, that’s what it’s all about and those that can offer such certainty will always secure repeat business and outperform, even in a market as saturated as ours.

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