Broker Guide: Communicating with Lenders

Broker Guide: Communicating with Lenders



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How you interact with a lender is essential to determining how smoothly your client’s application for a loan will be processed and to establish good relations. Bridging & Commercial asked a number of lenders what the best form of communicating with them is and also gained their tips of how to improve communications to ensure a thorough and swift application occurs.

What is the best form of communication?

 

Mark Posniak, Head of Marketing & Operations at Dragonfly Property Finance, stated: "Obviously a lot of material will need to be relayed via email, couriers and the post but for us the best form of communication has always been the phone. You get where you want to get far quicker through a good old-fashioned phone call.”

Richard Deacon, Sales & Marketing Director, Masthaven Bridging Finance, believes: “The best form is the good old fashioned face to face meeting. There is a very old saying that “people buy from people” and it is one that Masthaven put their stock into whole heartedly.”

James Bloom, Chief Executive at Regentsmead, said: “The quickest way is a simple e mail but the old fashioned telephone also works for us. An e-mail to one of our team will get an immediate response as will a call.”

Alan Margolis, Head of Bridging at United Trust Bank, told us: “This depends on so many things such as the complexity of the case, how much information the broker has and how familiar they are with the lender's processes and requirements. So for some an email is sufficient to get things started and for others there will need to be a telephone conversation. Emails are great because they are harder to miss, but the method of communication very much depends on the nature of the issue.”

Yasin Patel, Director at Mayfair Bridging, said the “Telephone is always the best form. You can work out the little things straight away. Or if it’s a complicated case email the case over and then discuss over the phone.”

Colin Sanders, Chief Executive Officer at Omni Capital, explained: “Brokers are almost spoilt for choice in this regard. Technology has seen to that. In addition to the traditional routes of telephone, post, fax or face-to-face contact, other options include email, SMS messaging, the internet, websites and the like. The advent of smartphones and tablets has added a further dimension with brokers now able to carry a ‘virtual’ office in their pockets or briefcases.

“As regards which route is best, we prefer to leave that to the broker. Our job as we see it is to provide choice – we don’t seek to channel brokers down one or two specific routes just because it’s cheaper or convenient for us.”

Kirsty Buchanan, Business Development Manager at Tiuta, expressed: “We would suggest that, for anyone completely new to dealing with Tiuta, the first contact comes with our business development team.  That way we can establish a key contact for the broker/introducer and provide the human touch when communicating with us.  It also means that broker knows they can contact that individual or team whenever they are looking for information, etc.  We also try to make the broker feel they can contact us about anything, whether via a call or email.  There is no such thing as a ‘stupid question’ in our book; we are here to help and ultimately to help the broker to secure finance for their client, so if there’s any queries we are open for business.”

Colin Sanders added: “Presently, we find that our brokers use a mix of the various routes I mentioned earlier: some enjoy personal contact through BDM meetings or regular phone calls, while others appear comfortable with a more remote form of communication. We don’t mind so long as it’s efficient.

“The key, I believe, is for the lender to know the broker’s requirements. I appreciate this is easier for lenders like Omni Capital who enjoy direct relationships with a relatively small number of intermediaries, but that’s partly why we chose such a distribution model in the first place. In this way, long-term relationships are formed.”

 

How often should a broker be in touch with a lender during an application?

 

Alan Margolis said: “We're about relationships and communication is critical. We endeavour to keep our introducers in the loop and up-to-date. However, if our introducer wants to know something / has an enquiry or question, then by all means they are welcome to contact us - it's what we're here for and it's what bespoke bridging is all about.”

Mark Posniak answered: "As often as is necessary to ensure the deal completes as seamlessly and as quickly as possible."

Richard Deacon told us: “All cases are different. Some brokers prefer us to handle everything to do with the case and just want a call when the case has completed, whilst other brokers prefer them to know everything at every step of the loan and they communicate with the client.”

Colin Sanders believes: “There are no hard and fast rules in this respect. Bridging isn’t a mass-volume game, and each case has its own nuances and character. Some require greater effort than others and, accordingly, a greater degree of liaison and cross-communication. Experienced brokers understand this and adjust their behaviour accordingly.

“That said, we would always rather have too much contact with our brokers than too little!”

Kirsty Buchanan said: “We like brokers to make full use of the case-tracking facilities we offer which outline the key milestones as and when they are reached.  This way the broker can check themselves and doesn’t have to wait for an update, because it provides one real-time continuous update.  Brokers are probably aware that if there is anything we need then we will be in touch – this is ultra-important in the provision of short-term finance anyway.  We do not hang around before requesting information; we know that both us and the broker are working to the same aim and the quicker a deal completes, the better for everyone.”

James Bloom exclaims: “As often as they feel comfortable, we will always keep our broker partners fully informed at all times so there will be no need for them to have to call us but they can at any time. The initial contact is the most important to ensure we get the right deal and it is actioned immediately.”

Yasin Patel told us: “Brokers have an easy job I believe once the application has been put in here at Mayfair Bridging we like to do everything possible for the brokers for a quick and swift completion we also have an online case tracking system which allows brokers to have a quick look at what stage the case is and what’s outstanding.”

Richard King, Business Development Manager at Bridgebank Capital, said: “We have a policy of almost daily contact with all parties concerned with the deal, as this is the only way to ensure a speedy completion.”

Steve Marsh, Managing Director of GoldenTree Financial Services, told us that he believes a broker should be in touch with a lender every day.

 

How do lenders wish to be communicated with and why is it so important?

 

Kirsty Buchanan disclosed: “Tiuta offers a variety of ways to communicate with us.  As highlighted above via personal contact – all of the development/sales team have mobiles which means we are accessible anytime.  If it is more convenient then the broker can liaise via email, which again we all pick up via mobiles when out of the office.  Finally, we offer bespoke case tracking.”

James Bloom expressed: “All we need is a name and a number of a potential borrower and we will do all of the work from there including collecting the broker’s fee for them with our commitment fee at offer stage.”

Richard Deacon responded: “Whatever is the best method for the situation? Sometimes a simple phone call is best, but other times you need more info so a detailed email that you can refer back to is often very useful. I am finding texts and tweets are also gaining importance for the “instant response”.

Yasin Patel: “Brokers and packagers can communicate via phone email fax post however they want our offices are geared up for everything.”

Colin Sanders said: “We are happy to leave the precise choice to the broker; in itself, the form of communication is not necessarily important but should be timely, clear and appropriate. For instance, long gone are the days when important documents could only be sent by post. Even where originals are required, time-saving work can progress on copies forwarded by email or fax. But that’s teaching grandmothers how to suck eggs.

“One specific point I would make is for the need for brokers to retain complete control over the communication process at their end, by which I mean with their client. As a lender, I’m sure we’re not alone in having clients attempt direct contact – something we strongly discourage – but it is an avoidable distraction.”

Mark Posniak, Head of Marketing & Operations at Dragonfly Property Finance: "There's no better way to get to the bottom of something than via the phone. From there you can move into other channels, such as email. All communication channels are important but the phone is usually the most powerful.”

Richard King, Business Development Manager at Bridgebank Capital, said: From our point of view it is vital that we are made aware of new information as soon as it is available. Bridging, by its very nature, is not always straightforward, and deals get completed because of the ability of the Lender to adapt to changing circumstances and overcome any issues that arise. We are firmly of the belief that once a deal is up and running, with valuations back and solicitors instructed, that the most efficient way to get a loan drawn down is to deal with the client directly. This saves a large amount of time and enables the broker to concentrate on generating new business. Of course, if there are any complications the broker needs to be involved and we will work with him and the client to resolve the situation.”

Colin Sanders added: “Looking ahead, the communication process will always be very close to the top of our development agenda. By way of evidence, our website is currently undergoing a significant upgrade to provide brokers with enhanced information and a wider selection of communication tools. We expect it to be live quite shortly.”

 

BROKER TIPS:

What can brokers do to improve communications with you to ensure a thorough and swift application?

 

James Bloom: “Ensure they get accurate information and ensure they have asked the basic questions of the borrower, experience, location, purchase price, build costs, GDV and capital available. All they need to do to work with us is ask a few simple questions and the rest is down to us, they can sit back and relax while we do all the work!”

Richard Deacon: “The best tip I can think of is to have as much information as possible throughout the duration of the loan. We can only work on the information we have received!!”

Alan Margolis: “The more relevant information that can be provided the better and having the correct facts as much as possible on day one. Lenders do not like stories that change or facts that emerge later in the process which really ought to have been disclosed at the outset.”

Kirsty Buchanan: “For us, quality communication is all about the detail.  The more information the broker is able to provide, the better for everyone and the greater likelihood of a smooth process through to completion.  We aim to have a strong, honest working relationship with all our brokers and we believe that open, transparent communication is a two-way street.  If this is the case then we are likely to have a much improved application process.”

Mark Posniak: "Always ensure you are contactable and reply quickly to any correspondence coming your way."

Steve Marsh believes that a broker should, “Tell us everything- however unimportant it may seem.”

Colin Sanders: “There are several components that come into play here. Firstly, the broker and lender need to know each other; ignorance – whether of products, processes or people – is a significant obstacle to effective communication.

“Secondly, don’t attempt to second-guess or ignore a lender’s requirements. Pulling together a successful bridging deal can be a complex and frustrating business. So, if in doubt just ask. A good lender will never object.

“Thirdly, choose a lender offering a full complement of communication tools – from BDMs to the latest high-tech solutions. You may not use them all, but to deny yourself the choice is to deny the opportunity.

“And fourthly, square the circle by obviating the need for your client to feel the need to partake in direct communication with the lender.”

If you have any queries about how to communicate with a lender then please do get in touch: [email protected]

By Jason McGee-Abe

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