The Five Minute Interview with Richard Showman, Head of Lending, Mint Bridging
Mint Bridging provide handcrafted loans to meet the exact needs of every borrower. They are a unique provider of individually structured, short-term finance for property purchases, developments and general capital raising.
We speak to Head of Lending, Richard Showman:
What is the best thing about being in the bridging finance business?
The speed of the industry and variety of applications, which give an insight into the borrowers ingenuity. Sometimes we get the opportunity to prove why Mint Bridging is so different from other lenders, using our combined expertise to present the borrower with a different option or solution to their problem. And obviously, saving them time and money is always at the forefront.
What keeps you focused?
Not a what, but more of a who. At its most simplistic, Managing Director Andrew Lazare keeps me focused but it’s so much more than that. I have lived and worked through the 1990 property slump, then credit crunch of 2008/9 onwards so I believe my focus comes from experience, not least the experience of failure. We have all heard of the travails with other lenders in the industry so that’s got to be a salient lesson to all of us. No one is immune to errors or pitfalls, which is why everyone at Mint is always completely on the ball at all times.
What qualities do you look for in your employees or colleagues?
Commitment and loyalty. I am exceptionally lucky that everyone at Mint is on the journey together. Underwriters have been known to look at cases at 11pm, on the weekends and while they’re on holiday. It’s this sense of ‘team’ which sets us apart and makes us so passionate about what we do.
Are you an optimist or a pessimist?
At heart, I’m an underwriter so naturally a pessimist with an optimistic learning development characteristic. But being a pessimist is also a greatly optimistic trait as it keeps me grounded.
What did you want to be as a child?
I had no clue, maybe a surgeon since I was addicted to watching operations on TV. Then again watching versus doing are two completely different things!
What will be the greatest challenge facing the bridging finance industry in the coming months?
Brexit. There hasn’t been this amount of political upheaval since before World War II. Upheaval brings uncertainty and uncertainty is bad. We’ve already seen the introduction of Brexit clauses in valuations. Valuers are like the rest of us: uncertain. So valuations will be a result of a fall in the industry. Development valuations depend on a projected market value in X months time but as we are in this period of uncertainty, it’s a shaky area to be in, trying to gauge a realistic valuation when the market can change at any given moment. I’m relieved that I’m not a valuer.
Who or what makes you laugh?
There isn’t a day in the office where we haven’t laughed. The camaraderie at Mint is excellent but generally speaking, I’m a big fan of Peter Kay, Michael McIntyre and John Bishop.
Do you dread Monday mornings?
No, I never have. Mondays are usually my best days.
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
About two stone in weight!
With whom would you most like to have dinner?
Theresa May: I’d ask her how she manages to motivate herself to get up everyday and try to do the best for this country against a background not of her making, where she can do no right for doing wrong.