‘I keep focused by setting targets and beating them’
By Tony Sanchez
In our latest Five Minute Interview, Tony Sanchez speaks to Suparn Sapatnekar, Head of Bridging Credit at Octopus Real Estate.
Sup joined Octopus as a data entry temp in 2014 shortly after graduating from the University of Bristol.
Immediately loving working there, specifically with the lending team, he made it his mission to obtain a permanent role.
Sup is now responsible for all things credit within the bridging and refurbishment space.
This includes agreeing deals at conception all the way through to structuring and sanctioning them for completion.
He is also responsible for setting the lending appetite and criteria for their bridging products.
What is the best thing about being in the bridging finance business?
I love the variety of transactions within bridging. I feel that no two deals are the same and you often need to solve problems and restructure deals to make them work.
The pace and time pressures to meet completion deadlines is a great part of this business too, as you feel a real sense of pride and achievement in helping borrowers meet them.
I also really appreciate the wider community of people involved in the bridging industry whether they are brokers, solicitors, valuers, or other lenders.
We are always able to share knowledge, and working in bridging means you have the opportunity to learn about various aspects of lending (structuring loans, property law, corporate law, valuation methodology, etc).
What keeps you focused?
On a day-to-day basis I keep focused by setting targets and beating them.
Knowing what my team and I contribute to the wider Octopus Group is also a huge driver for me.
In the longer term I have always worked on a larger goal in the background that helps keep me focused.
Initially, it was a personal goal to become a homeowner, then create my own bridging products, and now it is to expand on and drive new funding opportunities.
What qualities do you look for in your employees or colleagues?
I really value the ability to solve problems and stay calm even when it gets busy or when things go wrong.
It is imperative that they take responsibility and ownership of every step of the transaction, never blaming third parties and ensuring that we have done everything within our power to make progress.
The ability to pick up the phone to any of our third parties or borrowers and proactively drive the transaction is also key.
Responsiveness and keeping everyone updated throughout the life of a deal is an essential quality in bridging.
Are you an optimist or a pessimist?
I’m an eternal optimist.
I do realise that bad things happen, but it is my intrinsic belief that everything can be fixed no matter how bad it gets.
What did you want to be as a child?
I was obsessed with monkeys as a kid, and also wanted to be an astronaut, so my dream job was to be a monkey astronaut.
Years later I found out that the US actually sent a monkey into space in the late 1940s – RIP Albert II.
What will be the greatest challenge facing the bridging finance industry in the coming months?
The ability to exit a bridging loan.
I think this is predominately driven by higher interest rates in the mainstream market, cost of living crisis, and the also the uncertainty with a potential downturn in the wider market.
I think lenders will start to find more of their borrowers having difficulty in exiting their bridging loans and will have to work with them to help achieve timely redemptions.
Who or what makes you laugh?
I laugh at pretty much everything, whether it’s with the team at work or with friends and family outside of work.
I don’t take myself too seriously and can also laugh at myself too!
Do you dread Monday mornings?
I really look forward to Monday mornings. I love my job and the team, so I genuinely look forward to coming into the office on a Monday.
Despite our WFH options, I am actually in the office five days a week and really enjoy being around my colleagues.
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
I wish I was better at channeling my energy!
With whom would you most like to have dinner?
Probably my Ma. She is currently in New Zealand and I miss her cooking!