Martin's Mailbox: The good, the bad and the ugly

Martin's Mailbox: The good, the bad and the ugly



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It’s good to see bridging punching above its weight again. There may be some over-hyping, but no-one can deny the impact the sector’s continuing to make.


I’m speaking, of course, about last week’s Mortgage Business Expo held in Manchester. My spies tell me it was a pretty low-key event. Hardly surprising given the economic doom-and-gloom being served out in ladles of late. But it didn’t stop the bridgers from making their presence felt.

 

The resulting comments from observers have been predictably mixed. Some found the vitality and optimism of the short-term lending crowd refreshing and a source of hope (the good). Some suggested the sector is rife with attempted fraud (the bad). Yet others spoke of lenders enjoying ‘fat cat margins…splashing the cash’ (the ugly).

 

Umm... Some might say there’s no such thing as bad publicity, but that’s a cliché I’ve never bought into. So, let me have a go at answering back.

 

With regard to fraud, show me a consumer-facing part of financial services that isn’t targeted: mortgages, loans, banking... they all suffer. As for insurance, just ask why your premiums continue to rocket year-on-year.

 

The key point surely is whether the ‘attempt’ to defraud succeeds. The world is full of chancers and criminal low-lives looking to make a crooked buck out of another’s honest endeavor. Of course they’re attracted to bridging – it’s active and lending – but where’s the hard evidence of systemic fraud? A couple of sensational headlines don’t make for a pandemic.

 

Contrary to the views of some, bridging isn’t entirely populated by short-termist, gullible half-wits incapable of protecting their own interests and those of their investors. Quite the opposite. As the sector has grown, so has awareness of the potential problem fraud presents. I would argue the industry has acted, and continues to act, to counter the threat.

 

As for splashing the cash, if only! I can’t speak for others, but I know we at Omni Capital keep a pretty tight lid on the petty cash tin. Sure, some bridgers are clearly spending significant sums promoting themselves. So what? If it’s legal, moral and helps them meet their targets I don’t see the problem. Nor do I see much evidence of silly extravagance – and as a former participant in the sub-prime boom, I know extravagance.

 

All success stories have their detractors. Bridging cannot expect to be the exception. Nor are all the less-than-positive comments inaccurate or misconceived. But let’s not be too quick to beat-up one part of the market that’s actually functioning.

 

To wrap up, I’d like to mention that we welcomed a new addition to the Omni Capital preferred partners panel last week. AToM is one of the big hitters in the packager-distributor sector, and we’re delighted to have them as a partner. My thanks to Dale Jannels, Pete Turner and the rest of the team for rolling-out the news in great style.

 

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