10 Questions with Keir Morris of West One Loans

10 Questions with Keir Morris of West One Loans


Bridging lender West One Loans (WOL) hired a new BDM in Keir Morris last month and Jason McGee-Abe spoke to the man himself to find out a bit more about why the move into bridging, what makes him tick and the developments he predicts will affect the bridging industry over the coming year...  

B&C: You joined WOL last month. How did you get to where you are now?

KM: I’ve worked in Financial Services for 17 years – in Intermediary Sales for the past 12 for several Banks as a mortgage BDM.

What did you want to be when you were younger?

A rock guitarist for the obvious, stereotypical reasons! Slash, Eddie Van Halen, and Angus Young are the Holy Trinity in my opinion.

Why the move into bridging? And why WOL?

It was time for a change – a new challenge and to stretch myself. Bridging is hugely attractive because the industry is coming into its own and growing while the mainstream mortgage market stagnates – West One’s quarterly Bridging Index found gross lending in the twelve months from March 2011 to March 2012 rose to £1.1 billion, 21 per cent higher than in the twelve month period from January 2011 to January 2012.

And why West One? I wanted to be somewhere where I said ‘yes’ a lot more than ‘no’. As a sales person, if you are saying ‘no’ to people who want to buy from you something’s wrong somewhere! I like the positive attitude of everyone at West One and the fact they don’t tie brokers in red tape. I’ve had a look at the forms and you can fill a West One Loans form out in 20 minutes. In fact, if you do the first half, we’ll start looking at a deal for you even if you haven’t finished the form. It’s a very ‘can do’ place to and that appeals to me. I also like their commitment to making sure brokers deal with people – not procedures.

What do you think are the biggest problems in bridging at the moment?

I’m new to the sector so this is a little difficult to answer but it seems to me to be an Intermediary perception of transparency and trust.

If you could change one thing about the sector, what would it be?

It’s already evident that the main problem in Bridging is the same as the Regulated Mortgage market – not every client (or indeed every introducer) gives us the full picture from the start – no matter how many times you ask!

Which sports team do you support, if any, and why?

Man United – my best friend supported them at school and the first game I watched was the ‘85 cup final – so I’ve lived with all the Liverpool supporters through their glory years! So yes I’m a glory supporter but have at least been to Old Trafford!

If you could have one superpower, what would you choose and why?

I’m in sales so I’m going to ask for two! I’d be a shape-shifter with the ability to time travel. That way I could have changed places with Gigi Buffon the Italian keeper before last week’s penalty shootout. Honestly – when are we ever going to win at these?

What would you put in room 101 if you had the chance?

Lenders who hoard proc fees. It’s outrageous how long some are prepared to keep that – at the expense of hard working brokers. At West One we pay proc fees immediately; on the day the deal completes, we pay by same day transfer. On average, I think the industry takes a week to pay but some lenders are far worse.

What do you expect to happen in the bridging finance industry over the next 12 months?

More innovation, more new entrants, greater recognition from the wider lending industry, more interest from the FSA and more growth.

If you could do anything you wanted this Sunday, what would it be?

Play with my kids, relearn the guitar solo to Sweet Child of Mine and spend the rest of the time in the pub.  

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