Hope Capital praises staff for 290% business surge
By Laura Miller
Lender Hope Capital has credited a near quadrupling of bridging loan completions in 2020 to the dedication of its newly expanded team of staff in the face of unprecedented disruption caused by the coronavirus.
Completions were up 291% for the 12 months to December versus the previous year, growing the lender’s loan book to its largest since launch in 2011, according to Hope.
New enquiries increased 135% to “levels unseen previously”, despite months of lockdown and a pause in lending due to Covid-19.
Gary Bailey, pictured, managing director of privately-run Hope Capital, said 2020 was “very challenging for the industry”, and the company “worked extremely hard” to provide the same service to brokers and their clients.
“We are very proud of what we achieved in 2020, which is completely down to the dedication and commitment of the Hope Capital team of whom we are so appreciative,” he added.
Staff wellbeing has become a hot topic across all sectors as employees are forced to adapt at lightning speed to new ways of working, and working from home risks morphing into living at work
In the current lockdown, where schools remain closed for all but essential workers and vulnerable children, none of Hope’s staff are on furlough, and nobody has requested it, according to the lender. It maintained it is “open to parents asking for flexible working and extra support during this time”.
Companies are increasingly investing in ways to protect employees working from home as the country faces a rising mental health crisis.
Pressed on what support Hope is providing, CEO Jonathan Sealey said it uses virtual team drinks to stay in touch, and has a “green pass” system to call colleagues “just to check-in and have a chat as we would do in the kitchen at work or at the printer”.
Newly hired staff also helped drive Hope Capital’s success in 2020. The lender appointed five new team members to deal with the increase in enquiries. For the first time this hiring spree included an apprentice, which the lender stated is part of a plan to train the next generation in specialist lending.
Last year Hope Capital launched several bridging loan products; the Hope FleXi product, the Custom Collection in June, and the Seventies Collection in September. It added more new products this month – two days into the latest lockdown – and plans are underway for other bridging finance options throughout the year.
Laura Miller is a freelance journalist who writes about money and business. She regularly appears in UK national and trade newspapers and magazines, and has previously worked for ITV News and the Telegraph among others. Find her on twitter @thatlaurawrites