As Hope Capital celebrates its 10th birthday, our CEO, Jonathan Sealey, discusses how the bridging market has evolved and what he has learnt about the industry, since establishing Hope Capital in 2011.
I am so proud to mark a decade in business and celebrate this tremendous milestone with my team and everyone else who has helped us achieve this amazing accomplishment. Over the past 10 years, we have worked with many brokers, clients and stakeholders, who have helped us go from strength to strength.
Throughout the years, there have been many occasions where we have had to adapt to changing market trends, whether it is placing a bigger emphasis on certain products or specific lending areas. In particular, the unprecedented nature of Covid-19 required an innovative response, where we had to quickly devise new ways to operate, although our fundamental approach remained the same: what is the demand in the market, and how can we deliver it?
There is no doubt the past decade has been a rollercoaster however, I would not have wanted it to be any other way.
Here are 10 lessons I have learnt over 10 years:
1. Delivering an excellent service outweighs everything else.
The bridging market has developed considerably over the years, transforming from a limited number of lenders operating in a relatively small, niche industry to now, where it comprises a growing force of specialist lenders competing in a highly competitive market. The battle between low rates and an excellent service has subsequently become a major talking point, especially following the implications of the Covid-19 pandemic.
While some lenders focus on offering low rates, others focus more on delivering speed and an efficient service. Naturally, low interest rates are a great benefit to the borrower if the circumstances are right. However, if a lender only focuses on providing very low rates and while this might bring in a lot of enquiries, it will test the lenders product transparency, credit risk appetite and service levels, with enquiries not converting as strongly as they had first hoped. Ultimately, cheaper rates should not sacrifice service quality or product solution. The majority of the time, savvy brokers are looking at lenders in the context of the bigger picture i.e. to support their clients, with a high-quality service, where they can provide transparent and innovative products, which match their customer’s needs and affordability, and most importantly, can also be delivered on time.
2. The appetite for bridging loans will only continue to increase.
With more and more bridging lenders establishing themselves within the marketplace, the number of brokers and borrowers considering specialist finance as a leading option, continues to grow. It is therefore important as lenders, that we continue to ensure we can keep up with the demand, whether that be investing in the right people, technology or processes. It is fair to say that it’s a very exciting time for the industry!
Nevertheless, the specialist lending industry remains a specialised area. The best lenders will take the time to walk through the bridging finance processes with the broker, ensuring they have a full understanding of what is involved and what the best option is for their client.
3. Select the right people.
People in business will ultimately determine the success or failure of the company. There are various factors which contribute to being successful, e.g. having a solid strategy, efficient processes etc. However, it boils down to the people within the business to actually execute the strategies and processes to make the company successful. Company culture has always been a priority at Hope Capital, where I want the team to enjoy coming to work and working together.