The Precise way - Pioneering bridging finance?

The Precise way - Pioneering bridging finance?


After a flurry of new product announcements, news of strategic partnerships and competitive pricing structures, B&C thought it was about time we caught up with Alan Cleary, Managing Director of Precise Mortgages, to chat about the key to success, some of the challenges out there and what’s still to come…

Just nine months after coming to market, Precise Mortgages is already a leading name in the bridging industry, despite being only one aspect of a diverse range of products they have on offer. Post-Christmas 2011, the lender has established a huge appetite for completing deals and has in particular strengthened its bridging proposition by partnering with packager and solicitor firms to make their brand much more visible and products even more accessible to consumers.

Since the ‘official’ launch into the short-term market in May 2011, Alan told us that Precise Mortgages is currently busy with its initial strategy of cementing brand identity and quality loan book to ensure a sustainable way of attracting new clients and repeat business.

He is confident that the goals established all those months ago are still on track: “We now have nine months under our belt and we are constantly learning and overcoming a number of the initial challenges such a competitive market presents. Our initial phases of cementing core relationships with distributors and widening our offering to include second charges and regulated products have materialised, so in this respect our strategy hasn’t altered.”

Hinting at the company’s plans moving forward, Alan is confident that by the end of the year Precise will have broadened its offering to include not only residential but semi-commercial products too, especially those for mixed use purposes.

With an offering that is due to encompass a large proportion of the bridging market, Precise is also pioneering rock bottom rates. Alan gave us exclusive insight into how Precise charge their Arrangement Fee, explaining that this percentage (typically 2 per cent) will be calculated from the net loan (which excludes interest and other fees) instead of the gross loan, putting the interests of their client at the forefront of their deals.  

However, rather than expanding intermediary reach with these new products, Precise is in the midst of streamlining its broker panel to maximise the opportunities from those intermediaries who bring the most quality business. Alan added: “In this respect, we’re still figuring out which relationships work best for us.”

Commenting on Precise’s entrance into the short-term market, James Harries, Sales Director at specialist distributor Manor Mortgages, said: “The launch is particularly strong where products lead the market on price and they are clearly leading (with a couple of others) on how to deliver this market professionally.  Precise’s sales team is very well known and service is quick and efficient.

“In near-prime, we have used them more and more over the last two quarters.  We like knowing that we have placed a case quickly and that marginal cases will also be referred for consideration. Manor Mortgages has a strong presence in Scotland where Precise come into their own.  They are also clearly listening to broker feedback and making enhancements such as recent changes to self-employed criteria.

“Speed and scope of developments in the last year have clearly made Precise a key business partner for Manor as we expect them to continue to build their, and consequently our, business opportunity in 2012.”

Echoing these sentiments, Danny Waters CEO at Enterprise Finance, added: “Precise are forward thinking, transparent and ethical in their approach to lending. From our experience, they are committed to service and turn cases around very quickly.”

And so, with expansion on the horizon, we asked Alan what he anticipates to be the biggest obstacle. He explained that fraud will present a challenge across the entire industry, which is an unavoidable risk where large sums of money are being exchanged.

He said, “What I am concerned about is lenders’ exposure to fraud and a lack of tools available to protect ourselves against this.”

Yet by taking a proactive rather than reactive approach to fraud prevention, Alan continued: “Lenders need to dedicate resources and money to fraud prevention and should work together to ensure everyone is exposed to less risk. We use the National Hunter anti-fraud data sharing system like many other lenders which flags fraud quickly. We also have a whole team that deal only with fraud detection.”

And so, it is apparent that despite numerous positive announcements in the sector, fraud remains a key issue within the industry that needs to be thoroughly addressed, requiring the entire industry to pull together. Along with a recent departure from the astl, Precise appears to be voting with its feet when it comes to improving the outlook for lenders in the short-term industry throughout 2012.

Alan left us with a lasting thought, focusing on openness and clarity in the short-term market: “There appears to be a sentiment that as a bridging financier, you can ‘pretty much get away with what you want’ but we are going some way to exposing the areas that need to be addressed. Our ethos of complete transparency will go some way in doing this and we will continue to set our own standards.”



By Alexandra Jones

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