The Five Minute Interview with John Steel, Business Development Manager, West One Loans


John Steel

West One Loans is a specialist bridging loan provider founded by Duncan Kreeger and Stephen Wasserman, established in 2007.

It is part of the Enra Group, alongside sister company Enterprise Finance, which specialises in second charge mortgages.

We speak to business development manager, John Steel:

What is the best thing about being in the bridging finance business?

Without a doubt, it is the variety in the deals and being a part of a key financial transaction for each customer, whether this be a £30,000 bridging loan or a multi-million-pound deal.

What keeps you focused?

My son, Alex, has such a positive outlook on life and always has a smile on his face. These are qualities I think we should all bring to the fore every day to ensure everything we do is effective, rewarding and enjoyable.

What qualities do you look for in your employees or colleagues?

The ability to work in harmony with everyone, both internally and externally. I also love to see enthusiasm and confidence in their work.

This grows confidence in our company, leading to funded business, satisfied brokers and, most importantly, happy customers.

Are you an optimist or a pessimist?

I am an optimist in everything I do, but as a Newcastle United fan my inner pessimist is always lurking around the corner!

What did you want to be as a child?

I really wanted to be a mounted policeman, but as I still to this day cannot even ride a bike I don’t think the mounted police really missed out much in the end!

What will be the greatest challenge facing the bridging finance industry in the coming months?

Market strength and Brexit. Residential housing strength has shown signs of slowing recently, and coupled with the long-term effect of Brexit negotiations, there will be many large challenges ahead.

The uncertainty which surrounds the final deal for the UK leads to investors potentially acting more cautiously as a result.

Positively, at West One we have seen continued growth in our transaction levels following our record month in June, as reported in our recent Bridging Index.

This highlights the resilience of this market and the value bridging finance offers to property professionals.

Who or what makes you laugh?

I do generally love a good laugh and a well-timed, well-delivered joke. I have always liked the comedian Rhod Gilbert for that specific reason.

Do you dread Monday mornings?

I have done in the past but certainly not nowadays. I do everything in my power to surround myself with great people who work hard and the team at West One certainly make Monday mornings an absolute pleasure. We work together to develop relationships and offer solutions to our broker partners and their clients.

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

As a 10km runner (I have completed four to date and achieved a PB each and every time) it would have to be my fitness levels.

My heart wants to complete a half marathon but my head (and knees) tell me otherwise!

With whom would you most like to have dinner?

This would have to be Steven Frayne, more commonly known as Dynamo, and Troy Von Scheibner, also known simply as “Troy”.

Two phenomenal British magicians and dinner with them would be an extremely interesting evening.