‘It takes a certain personality to succeed in this market’


Claire O'Brien Alternative Bridging

In our latest Five Minute Interview, Tony Sanchez speaks to Claire O’Brien, Head of Underwriting at Alternative Bridging Corporation.

Claire, who has more than 30 years experience in specialist, retail and business banking, joined the specialist property lender earlier this year to lead the Underwriting team.

In her roles, she helps to build on Alternative Bridging’s strong reputation for providing decisions with speed and certainty, as well as being able to structure solutions for complex cases.

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

Bridging is fast paced and rewarding. It is satisfying to make deals work and enable our clients to achieve their dreams, either by way of a house purchase or making an investment for their future.

The people who work in the bridging industry are also by nature exciting to work with.

It takes a certain personality to succeed in this market and, as a team, we work hard together to find solutions for our customers.

What keeps you focused?

Having a shared vision that we all buy into and work towards. This keeps myself and my team focused.

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

There is nothing more powerful than a ‘can do’ attitude and wanting to learn and develop.

Staff who put their head above the parapet to take on additional responsibilities and who want to effect positive change are my kind of team!

Are you an optimist or a pessimist?

Definitely an optimist. Negativity is draining.

I always like to put a positive spin on life and believe good things will always come.

What did you want to be as a child?

 A policewoman.

There are definitely elements of detective work needed in bridging to unravel cases at times.

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

Falling house prices, uncertainty around interest rate rises and the cost of living, as many people come to the end of low rate fixed mortgage products.

This will continue to be the biggest challenge to the bridging market in the coming months.

At Alternative Bridging, our USP is finding solutions for more complex deals and I believe we will continue to perform very well over the next 12 months.

We have a fantastic team of experienced staff who are well placed to navigate market uncertainty.

Who or what makes you laugh?

My children make me laugh (and sometimes cry) on a daily basis.

Their observations on life and people can be hilarious, my son Dylan is convinced The Rock will be the next president of the United States, but then stranger things have happened!

Do you dread Monday mornings?

I think everyone has experienced the Monday morning dread at some stages throughout their career.

However, Monday is a great day to spend setting out the working week and getting myself and the team energised for the week ahead.

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

I am very impatient, but I have learned to better manage that trait as I have got older.

With whom would you most like to have dinner?

It would have to be Oliver Reed…think he would be the perfect and most entertaining dinner guest.  He has always been one of my favourite characters.