Bridger calls for clear-cut lending

Bridger calls for clear-cut lending


Earlier this year Which? Money announced that lenders are charging their customers a total of 39 different types of fee. It claims that, since the credit crunch hit, the number and level of fees has been on the rise.

In specialist sectors like bridging hidden fees can be an even bigger issue because many consumers – and indeed some brokers – do not fully understand the product in the first place. Adding a myriad of fees to the mix and trying to help customers understand why is a tall order for even the most experienced broker.

On many occasions product fees and things like exit charges are hidden so deep in the small print consumers are completely unaware of them.

With transparency the order of the day we chat to Nigel Alexander, Director at Fincorp, to find out why straightforward, clear-cut lending is important to Fincorp, what it means for brokers and consumers and why 'clear and simple' is the company’s mantra.


B&C: How important is transparency to Fincorp?

Very, we've been in the business over 20 years. We take the view that a reputation takes a long time to build up and can be ruined in a second. We're very motivated by that and treating customers fairly. We like to keep everything above board in a sector that hasn't always enjoyed the best reputation.

B&C: Why is it so important to the consumer?

It's important for them to see what they're getting themselves into. People can be seduced by a headline rate. One lender may only charge a rate of 0.9% while others in the market charge 1.5% but there's a 3% of fees hidden in the small print. We don't have any small print. What you see is what you get with us. We're perfectly upfront about it. We tell people exactly how much it will cost from day one. If they're seduced by a lower rate we encourage them to look at the overall costs rather than just the headline rate.

B&C: How does it help brokers?

It's an easier product for them to sell. If they like us, and they like what we say, they can go back to the customer and say 'Here you are, this is what you'll pay. There are no extra costs. There's no fees in the transaction'. You pay a single rate and that's it. It's easy for them to explain to the clients.

B&C: Why are some lenders not as transparent?

I don't think it's a lack of transparency, I think it's how they present themselves. Everyone in this market has a way of presenting themselves and we're just different because we don't have any fees. It's indicative of how we do business; it's straightforward for the customer and the broker. Our mantra is 'clear and simple'. People ring up and, initially, find it hard to believe we don't charge any fees.

B&C: Do you think documentation for loans should be clear in terms of fees?

It's in the terms and conditions so lenders who charge fees would say it is. That's fair enough. Loans are a huge commitment; it's like taking on a mortgage. I don't suppose everyone reads the conditions on the back of a mortgage document but they do read the headline terms.

B&C: Finally, why do you not charge fees? How do you manage?

We have our rate, that's how we are remunerated. We don't seduce people with our headline rate. We get brokers or clients ringing up saying they can get a better rate elsewhere and we tell them, before they do, to check if there are any fees. When they do, they often find we are extremely competitive. In the consumer market consumers expect to be stung with a fee. Often it's in the small print, but our print is all the same size. We don't have anything to hide.

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