10 Jul 2020

How will the property lending market respond to COVID? Dan Murray talks to Bridging and Commercial.

What main changes do you expect will happen with regard to how bridging business/working in this market is done after this is over? Was this needed, even before the pandemic?

Communication is, and has always been, key. Through the crisis we have all had to react at pace and over-communicate to the market. It would be good to see everyone adopt this style moving forward to create a new level of transparency, efficiency and standard of service that the market has been screaming out for.  


What will be the benefits and challenges of these sorts of changes? 

Consistent messaging across the industry will be the best collective change for borrowers. In uncertain times it’s important not to give false hope in getting a deal over the line. It’s fair to say that we have been ‘open for business’, but to claim it has been ‘business as usual’ is unfair to brokers and borrowers.  


Do you expect there to be a shift in balance between brokers and lenders after the crisis subsides? If so, why? 

Brokers and lenders need each other. The market will only recover if lenders continue to lend and if brokers continue to introduce business. The good relationships and quality of service will start to speak for themselves.   


Will deal structuring become more complex in the bridging market as a knock-on effect from the crisis? What does this mean for all parties involved in the sector? 

We always encourage brokers to bring the more complex bridging loan to us. We have experience of writing and understand the complex bridging loans. If in the short-term bridging loans do become more complex you should look for those with experience in these.   


What lessons have your/your company learnt during these challenging times, and how can we use them to improve the bridging industry going forward? 

The industry can handle change and it’s important that we work together through these challenging times. Overnight we all moved to working from home, virtual meetings, and collectively coming up with solutions to overcome hurdles that arose. I hope that this crisis will bring brokers and lenders together; communication is one of the ways we can ensure this happens.  


Have previous views you held about the bridging market changed at all?  

The bridging market has been spoilt with business over the last few years and as a result I think the service proposition has suffered. Some have said that the market has become slower, and collectively we need to get back to what bridging and short-term lending is all about: flexibility, transparency and a shorter transaction time. Customers are important and it’s in times like these that this becomes even more apparent. We as an industry will all need to take some sort of responsibility to get it back where it once was, but with greater service.