Chris Sellars calls on bridging sector to be ‘more transparent and focus on great service and delivery’
Chris Sellars, the CEO of commercial bridging finance company Bridge Help, has urged caution in the bridging sector as loan rates are slashed to high street lender levels.
Speaking at the Mortgage Business Expo held in Leeds (MBE Leeds) on Thursday 8 July, Chris who is former property solicitor, compared the current market conditions to those seen ahead of the 2008 recession.
Responding to the question – ‘As rates reduce across the bridging market, are we seeing ‘a race to the bottom’, or a healthy response to increased popularity and competition?’ – he said: “I am concerned that the market is being overcooked currently which could lead to significant economic problems.
“Property prices have risen by up to 10% over the last 15 months yet bridging loan companies are offering LTVs of up to 85% and low interest rates – making them comparable to high street lenders. They are taking huge risks, and with other people’s money, in an economy where we do not know what the full fall-out of the pandemic will look like.”
Chris was part of the specialist panel at MBE Leeds discussing the role of specialist finance in post-COVID recovery. He joined representatives from Affirmative Finance, TFG Capital, Together Money, MT Finance and Roma Finance.
“What is important,” Chris added, “is service, delivery and transparency in the bridging finance industry. My concern is that this is being overlooked by bridging loan providers who are focusing on a ‘pile it high, sell it cheap approach’.”
While many bridging finance companies have slashed their outward rates, hidden small print charges are making up the shortfall for some.
Chris explained: “Bridge Help hasn’t joined the race to the bottom but, if you compare our deals with those of companies offering low rates, you will find that we are fairly comparable because we’re not burying charges, like exit fees, in the small print.”
He called on the sector to be more transparent and focus on great service and delivery. “This is where the sector can truly differentiate itself from high street lenders,” he added.
Organised by Clarion Events, MBE Leeds was one of the first live and in-person industry events to be held following the relaxing of restrictions earlier this year. Held at The Armouries, it was the first MBE Leeds to take place in in two years due to a pandemic-enforced break.
Chris added: “It was really great to attend an in-person industry event and meet brokers and fellow lenders, share ideas and compare notes. I have missed these opportunities over the last 16 months.”