Beth Fisher

We are adamant to deliver transparency to brokers, especially during this time

What better way to spend your lockdown time than with a copy of Bridging & Commercial? It's been great to see so many of you reading it from the comfort of your homes.

It’s been a mad few weeks for the team that powers Medianett (we designed this entire issue over WhatsApp with our designer), and somehow we still managed get it to your door (or desktop) on time. 

While some lenders have taken the decision to temporarily halt new business, we are applauding other companies within the sector who have come up with new and positive approaches to working remotely and getting business done, or at least lined up for when we’re out the other side. Covid-19 has indeed ripped up the rule book, with surveyors on lockdown and many bridging lenders taking a hiatius, but the industry’s cogs are still turning—albeit slower than before the pandemic hit.

Most of our articles were heavily researched and written before the crisis and associated uncertainty had an impact on the UK and wider economy, so please keep that in mind when reading the opinions of market experts, and our own. However, with the help of our strong relationships in the sector, we produced a coronavirus reading corner to look at how lawyers are mitigating social distancing challenges [check out p28] and a broker’s personal diary #WFH [p24], the week before this issue headed to the printers.

The main thing us at Bridging & Commercial are adamant to deliver at this time is transparency to brokers. While the typical ‘business as usual’ statements have littered our LinkedIn feeds, it’s quite clearly the opposite — and our readers deserve to know what that means for them and their clients now, rather than on the day of completion, for example. Transparency is something which we aim to deliver in every topic we explore, which is why we dissected the jump in packager-originated bridging business in 2019 [p34], and whether this is making the market more efficient and competitive. To coincide with origination models, we invited network heads Stephanie Charman and Jonathan Burridge to discuss how they treat product areas which are less mainstream [p50].

Technology is set to make a much bigger mark on the industry during this period (it is a wonder that Zoom is able to cope with the rise in users it must be experiencing) as the human approach [p66] is becoming less viable. We spoke to Aurius from Apak Group, a Sopra Banking Software company, about its new tech solution which aims to reduce risk, increase efficiency, and help control the cost of managing complex loans in the development finance market [p10].

And, if you want to brighten your day with simpler times, flick straight to The Cut [p6] where we have included a montage of our favourite pictures from our annual Directors’ Lunch, in partnership with Brightstone Law. While valuers are being responsible and are currently safely staying at home, you can also read one experienced professional’s [p44] day in the life, pre-coronavirus. 

While it is important the industry works together during this time to ensure it can keep offering solutions to borrowers who need them, please keep in mind that your health and mental wellbeing do come first. Make sure you get your one exercise per day — I have been doing online yoga classes which have really brought down the stress levels, just make sure you turn off your laptop camera first. Also, try to keep up the social aspects (both business and personal) of your normal week through phone and video calls. We are still doing ‘Friday afternoon work drinks’ with the team through Zoom, and one Sunday, a friend of mine hosted a very boozy ‘pub quiz’ on video chat. It’s imperative we all stay at home safely during this period of time to ease the pressure on our country’s real heroes — the NHS.

Didn’t get the print copy? Read the full issue online, here.

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