Lauren Eaton

An interview with Lauren Eaton: 'The entirety of our BTL loan management process sits online'

LendInvest recently announced it would enter the regulated home loan market after securing up to £200m of funding from HSBC UK.

Lauren Eaton, loan operations manager at LendInvest (pictured above), talked to Bridging & Commercial about how they are looking to stand out in the regulated home loan market, this year’s challenges for the bridging sector, and how her previous experience in the fine wine industry relates to the mortgage market.

You’ve just secured funding to enter the regulated home loan market. How are you looking to stand out?

Our technology and commitment to delivering a seamless online experience is our way of ensuring we mirror the success the business enjoys in the specialist market. Watch this space!

What are the biggest challenges the bridging industry will face this year?

Each year, the bridging market sees a further influx of entrants and competition increases. This will continue to be a challenge for all lenders in the industry and staying relevant and competitive — not only with price, but service — will be the differentiator with firms that want to stay front of mind with borrowers.

The volume of deals you manage seems to have grown in a very short period of time, has that been a challenge?

It has been challenging but also exceptionally rewarding — particularly on the BTL side. We launched the product in November 2017 with a very small team. It’s great to see how far we have come in such a short space of time and how the team has responded to the rapidly increasing volume and varied challenges thrown at them. We also have a great company-wide ‘work hard play hard’ culture, which everyone feels very much involved in and rewards initiative and commitment.

Has technology helped to streamline the loan process? In what ways has it made the lives of the team easier?

Absolutely. The entirety of our BTL loan management process sits online. This allows our brokers to monitor their clients’ deals efficiently and effectively, aiding with transparency from both sides. Our key fintech partnerships also help us with this process. For example, our use of Onfido’s ‘selfie’ document based Electronic ID verification means we do not have to ask brokers for certified ID and proof of residency. Our Stripe integration also means valuation payments are made much simpler for the broker, meaning we can instruct the valuer faster. These are just some of the innovations introduced to improve the broker experience and allow the team to focus on providing great service and getting cases through the pipeline as smoothly as possible.

What are the big differences between the mortgage market and the fine wine industry? Are there any areas where they are more similar than you might think?

The markets themselves are completely different in terms of product, and I have enjoyed educating myself on the specialist mortgage industry over the last four years. Surprisingly, there are some similarities with fine wine: I dealt with brokers on a daily basis and the environment was somewhat similar in terms of being very fast paced. A bottle of fine wine is not quite as expensive as a house or flat (although can be), but it is an investment for the future.

If you didn’t work in finance, what would you be doing?

I would probably go back to fine wine. It would be a crime to waste my WSET qualifications.

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