How many times do you hear of firms asking brokers what they want or feel and then doing nothing about it or only paying lip service to it. At Hope Capital we are different.
Back in May, we asked questions of the brokers that we work with. We wanted to really explore what it is that brokers want from bridging lenders, identifying what the key issues were and identify the key areas where bridging lenders could do to improve. But we didn’t stop there. Not only did we publish our findings, but we have then acted on all the feedback.
Transparency is one of our key values at Hope Capital. This not only applies to our rates and our offering, it also applies to our whole business. So in the true spirit of transparency and respecting all brokers, here is what brokers asked us for and, for the first time, what we have done in response.
However, we are not stopping there. Our next broker survey will be going out shortly, so if you want to have your say, look on the website at www.hope-capital.co.uk or email us and we will send you a copy. This is one survey where you know your voice really will make a difference.
Brokers told us: 52% of brokers said that LTVs were the main priority area that they would like lenders to address, with most calling for LTVs to be higher so that it was easier to place their client’s cases
Hope Capital responded: We have relaxed our lending criteria on a case by case basis, extending LTVs wherever the case warrants it. We are also introducing new products which will go outside of our traditional parameters which will be announced any day now.
Interest Rates and fees
Brokers told us: The second most requested area was regarding interest rates. 48% of brokers said that interest rates were a key issue for them, with brokers frequently looking for lower rates. Another 21% of brokers also said they were looking for lower fees.
Hope Capital responded: In response we have lowered rates to the lowest they have ever been and lowered our fees too. All new products will be equally competitively priced with fees at this new low level.
Speed of service
Brokers said: This was the third highest priority area – 47% of brokers said that turnaround times and speed of service was a priority to them.
Hope Capital responded: Our response to this has been multi-faceted, so we haven’t only put one action in place, we have gone much further. As a result, we put a whole chain of measures in place to speed up our service at every point of the process.
Since the survey we have increased our number of new staff; in fact we have increased our staff numbers by so much we have invested in a whole new office in order to accommodate them. We have increased headcount by 37% in the past six months with more BDMs, more underwriters and more administrators.
This has meant that not only do brokers get more time with a BDM in their area if they need it, but cases are processed more quickly as Hope Capital has more underwriters to deal with each case, and more administration staff to ensure that every case is processed as quickly as possible.
In addition, despite our growth, it means that every broker can still always get to speak to a decision maker – one of the key principles that Hope Capital was founded on.
Getting approval from lenders
Brokers said: 21% of brokers say that getting approval for a loan from some lenders can take too long and slow the process down.
Hope Capital responded: We wanted to make sure that this was never an issue when a broker submits a loan application to Hope Capital. As a result, we now issue our Heads of Terms within just one hour of a loan being submitted, so brokers always know that when they send an application to Hope Capital, we will always respond within an hour.
What is more, when we say yes to a case, we stick to that. As long as all the details on the application form are honest and correct, our yes really does mean yes.
Collating client information
Brokers told us: 36% of brokers said that they found collating information from the client can cause delays, especially if they are not sure of what information they need to gather.
Hope Capital responded: We understand that different bridging lenders require different information which can be confusing, especially for brokers who don’t use the same lender all the time. As a result, we have attached a checklist at the top of our heads of terms document, detailing everything that we need right from the outset. This way the broker knows everything that we need within an hour of getting in touch with us.
We are also redesigning our website to include both a check list and a step-by-step process, to make it as simple as possible to submit applications to Hope Capital.
You asked: 64% of brokers told us that they were frustrated with the speed of solicitors and how much this can slow the process down.
Hope Capital responded: Most solicitor delays come down to the borrower using a solicitor who is not familiar with bridging and how differently they need to process a bridging loan compared to a mortgage case. However we thought we could play our part to help too.
As a result we have enhanced our own solicitor panel, only choosing solicitors that are experts in bridging and who commit to turn every case around in the shortest possible time. This means that no matter how many loan requests we receive at any given time, we have the expert solicitors on hand to deal with every one. What’s more they are all committed to turn around a loan in days if not hours.
This collection of measures together, have all had the result of speeding up turnaround times by 40%. But we won’t stop there. We are committed to improving our service on an ongoing basis and making sure that we really do provide both the products and the service that brokers need from a bridging lender.