Why pilot product additions?

By Bridging Loan Directory -


We’re piloting a new product: Shawbrook Bank’s mainstream Buy-to-Let. So why pilot product additions?

Karen BennettAllow me to introduce the newest player on Shawbrook’s Commercial Mortgages product squad: buy-to-let (BTL.) We’re introducing two new mainstream BTL products and we have high hopes for both. We have chosen to pilot them through three of our strategic partners initially, before rolling them out to the wider market in the autumn.

So why have we chosen to enter the mainstream BTL market at this stage?

The simple answer is that there is a clear demand for these kinds of products. While Shawbrook focuses on specialist complex buy-to-let deals that require human underwriting, broker feedback has highlighted the need for a product aimed at clients whose cases suit the simple and fast process offered by a more ‘vanilla’ BTL system. The idea is to offer our brokers the best of both worlds – a streamlined, automated process for deals that fit the mainstream BTL criteria, and a highly individualised case-by-case underwriting system for more specialist BTL deals.

Feedback from our network of brokers, then, has been a fundamental factor in our decision to launch our mainstream BTL offering. In fact, broker feedback is pivotal in the continued development of all our products and processes. Brokers are at the front-line, so to speak – observing new patterns, trends and changes in the market as they happen. This is why we continually adjust our rates and terms based on what they tell us, as well as introducing new products based on the market developments their applications point towards. They know what they’re talking about.

And this is where piloting comes in.

Rather than introduce clients and intermediaries to a less than perfect product, we believe it makes sense to ensure that both the product and its processes are optimised and competitive in the market first. To do this they need testing in the appropriate environment, with a small group of partners from the right market who can work closely with us to tweak and improve them until they’re just right.

These core principles apply to the piloting of any product – financial or otherwise. And at Shawbrook we are lucky enough to have a wealth of brokers to turn to for help in this. Our relationships with all our brokers are very important to us, and we trust them to give open, honest and helpful feedback.

This is just one of the reasons behind our decision to pilot our new products using three of our broker partners. All our Commercial Mortgages business is submitted through brokers, and as previously mentioned they are ideally placed to try out and comment on our offering as they are the ones that use it on a day-to-day basis.

By the time we roll the new BTLs out to all our valued broker partners, we will be able to offer you a product that stays true to everything we do here at Shawbrook. As with our other products, brokers working on BTL cases will benefit from a straightforward approach, efficiency, and an expert team that is always at the end of the phone when you need us.

That’s because we’re truly committed to helping you access and take advantage of as many opportunities in the market as possible. Expanding the breadth of our options further – both in terms of the product range and the term and repayment options within the products – is one way of doing that. The new BTL products will allow brokers to offer their clients a product that suits their simple and potentially time-sensitive case, but it also means a broader offer for clients looking to switch to a term loan after using Shawbrook for short term finance.

It is thanks to piloting that we will be able to broaden our range of options in a manner that puts quality before quantity. Because, at the same time as wanting to have scope in our offer to brokers, we would never put growth ahead of quality, workability and sustainability. We look forward to maintaining long-term relationships with brokers and their investor clients – old and new – for many years to come, and putting quality first through piloting is a crucial part of that.

Karen Bennett, Sales and Marketing Director, Commercial Mortgages, Shawbrook Bank