The Five Minute Interview with Duncan Kreeger, Chairman, West One Loans
West One Loans is a specialist provider of short term bridging finance for residential and commercial properties. Established in 2001, the company is now one of the biggest privately funded lenders in the UK, having completed deals in excess of £100 million to date.
We speak to their chairman, Duncan Kreeger:
What is the best thing about being in the bridging finance business?
Completing big deals quickly. We completed a £275,000 loan in less than a day back in January, and it’s that sort of intense buzz that I love. Bridging is unique in that every enquiry is urgent. The time pressures of bridging finance can be quite demanding, but also very rewarding.
What keeps you focussed?
I love being involved in the growth of West One Loans. We are constantly looking at ways to stand out and as you will see with our Bridging Loan Index we are committed to being innovative and informative. We’re passionate about keeping West One as a place where you deal with people, not procedure.
What qualities do you look for in your employees or colleagues?
I always try to look for people who are better than me (at certain things). For example my admin is not always spot on and therefore in an administrator I am looking for someone who has a great eye for attention to detail etc.
Are you an optimist or a pessimist?
Forever the optimist. This can be both good and bad. It does make me strive to do more though.
What did you want to be as a child?
An entrepreneur. I have always liked business. Buying, selling, and trading. It makes sense to me. I never ever wanted a job working for anyone else.
What will be the greatest challenge facing the bridging finance industry in the coming months?
The success story of bridging has given it greater exposure. Now it’s more under the spotlight, professional standards need to be stronger than ever to protect its reputation. The challenge over the coming months is to convince sceptical outsiders that bridging lenders – even those who are new to the industry, jumping on the bandwagon – adhere to the highest professional standards. For instance, we need to make it clear that the industry doesn’t tolerate cowboys who advertise dodgy headline rates that they can’t deliver.
Who or what makes you laugh?
Michael McIntyre. Just looking at him makes me laugh. It’s the hair.
The other one is Lee Evans. He is insane. I love the energy. He is a real performer.
Do you dread Monday mornings?
Not at all. I don’t like any mornings as I am definitely not an early bird but the thought of work does not worry me. I like to be where I am most comfortable and that is at my desk.
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
I would be a little more patient, I think!
With whom would you most like to have dinner?
My wife. I’m so busy at the moment that it would be nice to be just the two of us on a desert island somewhere having dinner.