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NEVER UNDERESTIMATE THE UNDERDOG

By Kit Thompson

Those that know me will realise I am NOT a huge football fan, but despite this, I still enjoy getting caught up in World Cup fever and rallying behind the England squad, along with the rest of the Nation. Whilst I don’t think anyone really expected England to win the tournament, their failure to even to make it out of the group stage, following defeats to Italy and Uruguay means that even with a game to play, England will be packing their bags and going home – despite the result against Costa Rica on Tuesday night.

On the plus side, we saw Andy Murray beat David Goffin in three straight sets today, whilst defending his Championship title at Centre Court at the opening day of Wimbledon.

The English football team may be a disappointment and the tennis may bring us some hope and happiness, but it shows that sometimes life throws us curve balls and we need to know how to deal with them – nobody expected the underdogs to qualify the group stages in the World Cup and everyone assumed that the perceived leaders, (the likes of defending World Cup champions, Spain) would fly through. England proved that is not the case.

The same can be said for the bridging industry. There are more lenders now in the sector than ever before, with the ASTL and AOBP both boasting more members than ever. It is often the big names in bridging who steal the headlines, with news of jumbo loans or the cheapest rates and I wish to take nothing away from any of them or the great things they bring to the sector. However, some of the smaller lenders and newer entrants to the market also have a vitally important role to play and at Brightstar, we are finding that as demand for bridging continues to grow, it is the ‘smaller’ or lesser known bridging lenders that we are increasingly placing business with.

That is not to say that we are putting less to the mainstream lenders, as volumes here continue to be better than ever, but as the demand for different types of niche, short-term funding has increased, so has the use of these niche lenders. They cannot always compete with the so called ‘big-boys’ on pricing, but where they can win over some of the larger firms, is by offering more flexible funding options, outside of the box underwriting and thinking and really excel on speed and quality of service.

Every bridging lender will state ‘speed’ as a reason to use them. It is a given. We expect bridging lenders to act quickly. It is the whole nature of bridging finance to be fast. But like nearly all businesses, it is very difficult to maintain the same level of excellence when staff numbers and business volumes grow, to keep the same (or better) than they were when things were smaller.

The best example of this I can think of is the Bridging and Commercial Awards, which are being held this week at the prestigious Hurlingham Club. The bridging industry will come together to celebrate a diverse range of awards that recognise all aspects of what makes a good company, including best newcomer, best use of technology, best underwriter, best BDM, surveyor and legal partner, amongst others.

When looking at the nominees in each category, it was pleasing to see a whole range of companies being represented and in with a chance of winning in their respective categories. On the night, I am sure there will be a few surprises and nobody should ever underestimate the under-dog or assume who the obvious winners will be. Win or lose, we will be there on the night and I look forward to celebrating with the rest of you.