It has been a challenging 2020 so far, as the global pandemic has continued to create huge uncertainties across the property market and the wider economy.
However Together – which has been providing bridging finance for more than 34 years and has an overall loan book of £4bn – remains resilient our continuing support of key intermediaries and customers through these turbulent times.
Speed and service are of the essence when it comes to bridging and we’re committed to delivering major changes through our modernisation and transformation programmes, to vastly improve the application journey for our partners.
For example, brokers can now submit packs to us electronically and we’re using AI technology to validate some aspects of the applications – removing the need for manual sorting and verification of documents – saving at least half a day in the time it takes for us to underwrite applications.
Our new Head of Innovation and his team are testing technology such as voice biometrics, automated compliance and the use of chatbots, and we’re exploring ways for intermediaries to use the new Together app to submit cases, again creating a swifter process.
Following discussion and feedback, we’ve simplified bridging products across our regulated and commercial ranges for ease of use and we’re continuing to involve our partners in developing our offering. This month, we’ve launched a new commercial bridging product at 0.65% at 50% LTV and have many more product innovations in the coming months.
We also put a great deal of emphasis on the end-to-end journey of our customers, closely supporting them if, for instance, their exit strategy is not working out. In such cases, we can provide solutions such as turning the bridge into a term loan – to get the best customer outcome.
Together’s dedicated bridging underwriting team continue to provide a high level of service, going above and beyond, and working in partnership with valuers and our solicitor partners at Priority Law, to make sure we can provide brokers’ clients with the finance they need, when they need it.
This month, for example, we provided a £3m bridging loan in four hours for property investor Mat Rees, who’d been let down by another lender. He stood to lose £3m – and the property – if he didn’t meet the completion deadline.
He said: “Together did the unbelievable and impossible by agreeing and paying out a bridging loan in less than four hours.
“Thanks to the team at Together I was able to complete and didn’t lose the property. This is the best service I have encountered in nearly 25 years of working in property and finance.”
Our latest results show we lent £130.7m in the quarter to September 30th, while strengthening our liquidity and capital. We are one of the largest lenders in the bridging market in terms of value and volume and we are well-positioned to help even more brokers and borrowers – and to play our part in the UK’s future economic recovery.