‘Ever the optimist – I see the good in things and am a positive person by nature’

By Tony Sanchez -

Christopher Mitton Oakbridge

Oakbridge is an independent and privately-owned lender established in 2004.

They provide quick access for regulated and non-regulated short term finance across the UK with the added benefit that there is no upper age limit.

Oakbridge are FCA regulated and authorised to give advice and lend on regulated mortgage contracts.

They also provide non-regulated bridging finance, secured on property which is not the clients main home.

Funds are ready for advance and can be provided quickly to meet short term funding requirements.

We speak to business development manager, Chris Mitton:

What is the best thing about being in the bridging finance business?

The fast pace nature of our business. Helping introducer’s enquiries move quickly from concept to completion and securing the property/advancing funds ahead of their expectations.

If an enquiry seems sensible, we can usually find a way to accommodate it.

What keeps you focused?

We listen avidly to our introducer feedback, so that we adapt and change for continuous improvement.

The current crisis has impacted the way everybody works and our transition to new methods of progressing cases has been seamless.

We have continued to lend throughout lockdown and complete on new lending.

The entire Oakbridge team are totally broker-centric, which in itself keeps us focused on providing excellent service levels.

We’re heavily reliant upon brokers introducing their clients, being impressed with the service, attention and speed they experience and coming back to us time and time again.

What qualities do you look for in your employees or colleagues?

Honesty, accuracy and reliability.

These traits are vital in our business, the Oakbridge reputation is built upon speed and professionalism and our team are without doubt the best I have worked with in translating those skills in to positive broker and client experiences.

Are you an optimist or a pessimist?

Ever the optimist – I see the good in things and am a positive person by nature.

You have to be able to spot opportunities in a business development role and present cases in positive ways.

Negativity or pessimism has no place in our team thankfully.

What did you want to be as a child?

A pilot, the 20/20 vision let me down on this one though, plus a small fear of heights.

What will be the greatest challenge facing the bridging finance industry in the coming months?

Strangely, I don’t believe the virus is the main challenge.

We are seeing lots of clients upsizing and yearning for more space, perhaps seeking to move out of the cities after having realised that lifestyle is hugely important to family and overall well-being.

I feel that competition within the market and achieving better penetration will be more of our focus – there are around 150 short term lenders in the bridging space, however Oakbridge is one of the few principal lenders that are FCA authorised and transact regulated bridging loans.

We have several niche areas that differentiate us from the rest, not having a maximum age for instance; we’re perfect for older clients who wish to downsize and we can also provide the regulated advice where necessary.

Who or what makes you laugh?

I’m a big Friends fan (1990s comedy), it’s so cleverly written and never fails to make me laugh despite having seen them over and over.

Do you dread Monday mornings?

Never in the 7 years I have been with Oakbridge have I ever dreaded going to work, I couldn’t work for an employer nor within a team where I dreaded the week ahead.

I truly adore my role, our amazing team and the ethics of Oakbridge, as any recruitment consultant that has contacted me over the last several years will tell you.

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

I could benefit by being better able to switch off sometimes, our mobiles here at Oakbridge are always on, and so its not unheard of my taking a call on a Sunday and having responses ready for Monday morning.

Family time is hugely important in our work/life balance which has become ever more apparent during the crisis.

With whom would you most like to have dinner?

Since the lockdown, my parents, who have been shielding as they are ‘ahem’ over a certain age – facetime is a great thing but I miss my mum’s Sunday roast.