Tell us a little bit about yourself and your role at Clever Lending?
I am a commercial and bridging case manager at Clever Lending and have been with the business for just over five years. Previously, I worked in finance in an accounting role but this is my first position in the commercial and bridging sector and I have learned on the job and via in-house training with the team.
As a case manager, my role is to ensure our brokers and clients receive the best service possible, so that each individual case is completed within suitable time frames and to help manage their expectations. It is a busy and challenging role and it keeps my mind active and on your toes. No two cases are ever the same, which is one of the many reasons I enjoy my role, with the variety of cases and their requirements. There is no better feeling when you know the case has completed and you have been able to make a difference by helping people secure the financing they need.
What types of cases do you mostly handle and what are you seeing more of so far in 2023?
We specialise in commercial, commercial buy-to-let (BTL) regulated and unregulated bridging and development finance and I would say most of the time, our cases are split quite evenly, although we have recently had a slightly higher number of commercial BTL cases.
There are still landlords whether experienced or new to the sector looking to purchase and add to their portfolio particularly if they have equity in their existing stock while others are trying to refinance either because they are trying to reduce their rates or are coming off a fixed rate after two or five years.
If you could give one or two tips to brokers looking to submit cases, what would they be?
One key tip is to double check and thoroughly review everything before submitting an application to make sure there is no information missing. It can be very easy to overlook something and this can cause delays and be problematic, particularly in bridging cases when things need to move quickly.
Another is If a client is refinancing a recently purchased property, it is also always worth making sure land registry is updated with the new ownership, as we often encounter situations where this information has not been updated, which slows down the application and can increase costs.
Can I be cheeky and add a third, here at Clever Lending we always want to pass on our expertise … It is also helpful if a broker supplies us with an ideal completion date as this helps us manage client expectations, particularly if the broker is unfamiliar with the commercial market.
What common problems occur between issuing terms and completion and how do you work with lenders, valuers, solicitors, brokers and their clients to resolve these?
In cases where a person is purchasing a property using gifted funds as a deposit, one of the most common problems we encounter is making sure we have all the relevant information we need in terms of who is gifting the money and evidence related to where the funds came from.
Lenders are especially hot on anti-money laundering checks, so making sure all this information is readily available is important. Providing a good pack and a good level of communication throughout is also vital.
As an expert on complex cases, are you seeing more complexity generally and are there any common aspects you see more of now than say 12 months before?
We may occasionally encounter cases where we may need to go into pension schemes or SIPPs for refinancing purposes, but they are very few and far between. Most of the cases I come across are relatively straightforward in terms of purchases or refinances.
Some cases of underwriting have become a little bit more complex over the last few months, mainly due to the tightening of lender criteria and uncertainty in the market. Bank statements can also prove challenging as we need to be able to identify and explain where all funds come from before we submit the case to the underwriter, otherwise questions will be asked.
What benefits do brokers have when working with a business such as Clever Lending rather than them doing the case themselves?
We understand what lenders require when submitting an application and offer a full packaging facility that means cases are seen through from start to completion.
Our knowledge and experience of working in the specialist market means we are able to quickly and efficiently package a case and tap into a market that brokers often cannot access in terms of special rates and access to lenders. This can help brokers save time and means they don’t have to deal with solicitors, valuers, or estate agents, as we do all that for them.