“It’s Good to Talk”
6 December 2011Colin Sanders - CEO
The importance of effective broker-lender communications in the world of bridging
On taking the helm at Omni Capital, I was immediately struck by the personal nature of bridging. Having spent years in the mortgage market, I’d become accustomed to big volume processing and an increasing reliance on technology. While this made for greater efficiencies, something was lost in the process – the personal touch.
Bridging is different. It isn’t a mass-volume game, and each case has its own nuances and character. This requires careful handling by both broker and lender to ensure a positive outcome. Critical to this is how the two communicate.
Spoilt for Choice?
Brokers are almost spoilt for choice in this regard. Technology has seen to that. In addition to the traditional routes of telephone, post, courier, fax or BDMs, other options include email, SMS, internet, websites and the like. The advent of smartphones and tablets has added a further dimension with brokers now enjoying 24/7 access to their ‘virtual’ office.
As regards which route is best, that should be left to the broker. As a lender, it’s our job to provide choice, not to channel brokers down a specific route just because it’s cheaper or more convenient.
Presently, brokers use a mix of the various routes I mentioned earlier: some enjoy personal contact through BDMs or regular phone calls, while others appear more comfortable with remote forms of communication. What matters is what works.
You Never Call Me…
The tools are there, but how often should brokers and lenders speak?
There are no hard and fast rules: bridging is a bespoke business with some cases requiring a greater degree of effort – and, accordingly, a greater degree of cross-communication – than others. Experienced intermediaries understand this and adjust their behaviour accordingly.
In itself, the form of communication is not necessarily important but should be timely, clear and appropriate. Make best use of the most efficient tools at your disposal. And remember that your lender would always prefer too much contact than too little.
A specific point to bear in mind is the over-riding need for brokers to retain complete control over the communication process with their client. If this breaks down, the client will often attempt direct contact with the lender – an unwelcome and avoidable distraction.
There are several key components that make for good broker-lender communications. 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 range 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.
Fourthly, square the circle by obviating the need for your client to partake in direct communication with the lender.
And finally, consider using a specialist distributor. They have access to the best lenders and products, and will help navigate you through the process.