The Five Minute Interview with Mike Strange, Managing Director, Funding 365
Funding 365 is a fast-growing bridging lender with integrity who’s shaking up the industry – combining the lowest rates offered by the bigger lenders with the bespoke service and quick processing capabilities of a smaller firm.
We speak to Managing Director, Mike Strange:
What is the best thing about being in the bridging finance business?
It’s exciting to be in a rapidly growing business in the midst of a rapidly growing industry. There is constant innovation (new technology and new products) and an increasing level of competition which is pushing the industry to a point where it is becoming recognised as an affordable and mainstream financing option.
What keeps you focussed?
Competition. I am an exceptionally competitive person and simply can’t bear losing. If we lose a bridging loan because our interest rates, or the legal / survey fees are too high then I always feel compelled to address the issue and work on solutions to ensure we don’t lose another case for the same reason.
What qualities do you look for in your employees or colleagues?
I am entirely of the belief that teamwork is the best way to grow a business and focus all of our recruitment effort on ensuring that everyone who works for Funding 365 is able to join into the team dynamic. Typically, if you surround yourself with engaged and intelligent people who work well in a team, you will do well – and probably will have some fun along the way.
Are you an optimist or a pessimist?
I would probably define myself as a realist. I think we are all prone to having positive or negative outlooks on things depending on our overriding mood so I try to let data and facts convince me on a likely outcome. All that said, I am very pessimistic on the London property market at present which isn’t a view shared by many – however I have plenty of data and facts to support my pessimism.
What did you want to be as a child?
When I was 5 years old I wanted to be an aircraft pilot until my school headmaster told me that it was very competitive and I would be better off focusing on something else! In my teens, after watching the film Wall Street, I wanted to work in investment banking / stockbroking and never looked back.
What will be the greatest challenge facing the bridging finance industry in the coming months?
I suspect that most people will say regulation – however, I am going to say that I think that within the next 12 months we will see a relatively significant correction in the London property market which will drive many lenders out of the market. Bridging is the sort of business where you could see default rates jump from relatively low figures to up to 100%. If the London property market falls 30% (which I believe it easily could), then most bridging loans will extend and default given the lack of ability to sell or refinance. If losses don’t put some lenders out of place, the fact that their funding will dry up will result in the same outcome.
Who or what makes you laugh?
It isn’t too difficult to get me to laugh. Anyone who has kids can probably relate to the hilarity that arises from the totally non-politically correct things that children say (e.g. asking their Auntie why she looks like a man). The funniest stand-up comedy I have seen for quite a while is a 15 minute routine on US gun control from Australian comedian Jim Jefferies. He brilliantly mixes up the ridiculous reasons that Americans give for wanting to own guns alongside the acknowledgement that half of the audience likely have guns and want to shoot him.
Do you dread Monday mornings?
No, not at all. I suspect that most entrepreneurs, like me, spend all weekend thinking about things they need to improve and items that need to be addressed – Monday morning comes as a welcome relief as you can finally get on with it.
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
Given that if I wanted something to change, I would probably have changed it already… I guess I would have to say that I would change the fact that I am unable to fly like Superman.
With whom would you most like to have dinner?
As I said earlier, I’m a realist – and although most people would choose a famous movie star, a politician or a sports star – I suspect that the reality is that the movie star would be as dull as dishwater, the politician wouldn’t listen to you, and the sports star would be so healthy that they wouldn’t have dessert (which would ruin the meal as far as I’m concerned). So, I think that I would choose to have dinner with Adam Richman – the host of Man Versus Food – a guaranteed feast!