When I first joined the Goodman team 15 months ago after five years at Aldermore Bank PLC, I knew it would be a big change, crossing the tracks so to speak. As a banker, I was restricted to offering the one or two financial products that we had available, without much room for manoeuvre to meet individual client needs.
Now I’m with Goodman, our panel of more than 225 different lenders means I can always find a solution tailored to fit. If one lender’s policy rules out funding for a client, I can simply go to another.
Using my experience as a banker to improve the way we work with banks
As an ex-banker, I’ve walked in the shoes of the lenders, which allows us to work with a mutual understanding and respect, and my knowledge of the thinking and processes that drive the decision-making within financial institutions also means I can now see ways that we could all work together better, with a bit more flexibility.
In my experience, there are times when lenders react perhaps too quickly when a client is in distress, automatically defaulting to the position of worrying about losing money rather than giving the client and their broker the time to come up with a solution that works for everyone. Sometimes a little work behind the scenes and time are all that’s needed to get a client into a better financial position and a knee jerk reaction from a bank of, say, calling in a loan, isn’t helpful.
Lenders could also consider settling requests to change agreements more favourably – one of our clients recently wanted to repay a loan early, but instead of being thanked for this they were made to repay all the interest too, so there was no real benefit to them, only to the bank. What should have happened instead was nicely demonstrated by another lender we worked with, who gave a retail customer a £2,000 discount on the interest when they chose to repay early, which was a lot of money in the circumstances and really demonstrated support for a small business.
I will continue to work with lenders to find ways that we can meet their needs, and aim to show them that working with a broker to fix even the most challenging of financial circumstances can benefit them as well as the client.
Adding value for clients
My experience as a banker also has a direct benefit for our clients, especially those who perhaps have less experience of sourcing commercial finance; because I understand how lenders operate, I can take them through the process step by step where it could otherwise be quite daunting.
We’re not just a transactional business, our clients are our most important asset and we’re there to support them for as long as they need, not just for a one-off deal. By respecting our relationships with everyone involved and by understanding what each party needs, we add real value to the funding process.
There is a huge amount of opportunity for finance out there and a wide range of lenders, so businesses shouldn’t be put off just because their bank manager says something isn’t possible. Of the lenders on our books, I’ve worked with a good 150 of them to arrange more than 250 deals, which shows the variety of solutions we can offer. Moving from banker to broker has been a real eye-opener for me, just as it could be for a business choosing to work with a great broker for the first time.