Thursday, January 12, 2017

Bridging predictions: Flexible customisation and social presence

Article featured in Mortgage Finance Gazette:

Paul Wertheim, operations director at Mint Bridging, looks ahead to how the bridging sector will unfold in 2017
Bridging lending saw a £4.4 billion rise since last summer’s Brexit announcement, partially due to banks getting even slower in approvals. Mint Bridging is predicting that 2017 will see typical annual spikes, such as increased stamp duties and tax changes yet the overall outlook is stable and positive for the bridging industry.
The Office of National Statistics has also confirmed house prices across the nation remain stable and this is supported by construction output unwavering in 2016, compared to 2015. Nevertheless, the industry does need to account that home buying will be lower over the next few years as the property market tends to react swiftly to economic and political ambiguity.
According to the Association of Short Term Lenders (ASTL), although bridging numbers have fluctuated in 2016, the total loan book is higher than the prior year of £2.4 billion loans (representing ASTL’s 36 UK short term and bridging lenders).

Providing there are no extreme Brexit related announcements in 2017, the construction and property markets should be strong enough for the bridging industry to ride through relatively undisturbed. Following is one predominant area that the industry needs to address:
Product flexibility
Over the past handful of years, bridging has become more mainstream yet now needs to address the cusp of maturity. For the industry to grow up, it must adopt flexible customisation regarding interest rates and product range.
Mint prides itself on the personalisation approach and word of mouth has been the company’s biggest scaling attribute. But to accommodate this, we’ve had to address our product offerings more than once in 2016, including increasing our loan size.
As larger companies are notorious for delays in flexibility due to multiple approvals required, 2017 could well be the rise of the smaller, niche bridging lenders such as Mint, that have little restrictions on adapting to market changes.
Social and technology tools
The industry is notorious for taking a back seat regarding social media and technology. Face to face meetings, phone calls and emails are obviously required yet lenders can learn so much more by reviewing clients social accounts.
Personalisation is critical in the bridging arena and gives lenders an extra edge over competitors. Schmoozing clients with gifts is standard but seeing an Instagram with the news that a client has recently given birth, a Facebook post about a new mountain bike purchase or sharing an archery article on LinkedIn – this greatly helps the lender in customising a gift that’s not only thoughtful and timely, but absolutely logical. These are vital characteristics that a client is looking for regarding a deal.
Mint also uses high end technology software for client progress, notes and follow ups. So between analysing these software trends and patterns, alongside being active on social media, we see the full client picture.
The industry needs to step up its online game in 2017, because offering lower rates may not be as important as sending congratulations flowers to a broker who tweeted that his daughter has won a gymnastics medal.

No comments:

Post a Comment