The Five Minute Interview with Nick Jones, National Sales Manager, Blemain Group
The lending companies are :
Blemain Finance for secured loans, buy to let mortgages and loans and bridging finance.
Lancashire Mortgage Corporation for award winning commercial mortgages, loans and bridging finance.
Cheshire Mortgage Corporation provides residential mortgages, shared ownership and bridging finance.
We speak to National Sales Manager Nick Jones:
What is the best thing about being in the bridging finance business?
Everything, it’s an ever-evolving marketplace, which means you are constantly learning and developing yourself whilst looking for new ways to increase distribution and lending.
Getting applications from concept to offered and finally completion is as satisfying now as it was when I joined the company 13 years ago and I’m glad to say there are still many of the same brokers around today.
One of the best things in the industry are the people and the brokers who constantly support us year in year out. No other industry I feel has the dynamic entrepreneurial approach to business development and change as the finance industry.
It has been a very difficult industry since the decline of the lending markets, for both lenders and brokers, but to develop as everyone has and still open its doors everyday is a real accolade to those involved.
What keeps you focused?
Target, targets, targets! As a group, over the past five years the lending targets have been paramount, always understanding the changes to the marketplace, increased competition and ensuring the Group’s sales strategy is achieved. I am constantly striving to ensure the Blemain Group of lending companies is represented to the maximum by both the internal and external sales teams.
What qualities do you look for in your employees or colleagues?
Definitely hard working. All roles are demanding in the current climate, as the industry is really competitive. Also, dedication to the role, there are many events to attend and even more miles to cover, so 9 to 5 isn’t really an option.
Passion for the business is key to the Group; we are all still very much as driven as when we first started. Teamwork is fundamental to the Broker Sales Team at Blemain Group; we are always conversing and discussing marketplace changes and new developments to ensure we are all well-informed.
Are you an optimist or a pessimist?
A bit of both really, I’m ever the eternal optimist in regards to the industry and the green shoots of lending in both the commercial and bridging sectors. There is however always a sprinkle of pessimism with regards to failure and this thought drives me every day to see and speak to our intermediary partners, as I hate losing more than I love winning.
What did you want to be as a child?
Easy one at last, from the age of 5 I always wanted to play on the PGA tour, until the question of ability was posed about 15 years later!
What will be the greatest challenge facing the bridging finance industry in the coming months?
The main challenges for any business in this industry hasn’t changed: Educating the wider broker and introducer market as to when bridging finance become short term funding, helping them identify when it can be used and when it is the right funding vehicle for the client, which naturally fits with evolving regulation.
Dispelling the myth that bridging is a fast and quick alternative in all instances. In the right situation, that takes into account the short and long term aims of the customer, when appropriate a bridge can be completed in a matter of hours. However if the client, broker, lender or solicitor aren’t geared for a fast completion a bridge can take just as long as a mortgage or secured loan to complete.
As an industry we need to ensure to that any products, pricing and the plausibility of an exit route is reflective of the benefits short term funding provides and meets the customer’s demands and needs.
The challenge is broker and lender is to ensure the short term funding vehicle is the correct choice for the customer. LTVs need to be appropriate for the exit strategy and pressure to write business doesn’t override common sense by providing an over extended product, which inexperienced or new lenders may be tempted to do.
There is nothing new in any of these challenges; however we must ensure the bridging finance industry is sustainable, whilst being reactive to customer demand. The bridging industry has evolved, grown and strengthened over the past few years and the signs are that this should continue. Providing common sense prevails and the broader industry recognises the true worth of bridging finance and its validity as an essential element of the products they offer, bridging finance as a short term funding vehicle will continue to go from strength to strength.
Who or what makes you laugh?
Everything makes me laugh, it would be easier to say what doesn’t make me laugh, Frankie Boyle.
Do you dread Monday mornings?
Not from a business perspective, I have one of the best job roles in the industry and enjoy getting out the door and on the road, if you didn’t you couldn’t perform well. On a personal level having to stop having fun with my two children after the weekend is hard as they do keep you youthful.
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
I wish I could take my time a little bit more in work and more importantly on the golf course. I am constantly trying to deliver and do everything yesterday!
With whom would you most like to have dinner?
I hope the wife doesn’t read this but dinner in Vegas with Tiger Woods would be interesting!