Reputation should be a commercial priority for brokers and lenders as they work to emerge from the COVID-19 crisis, according to UK Property Finance.

In a report from Ernest and Young, more than half of respondents cited ‘reputation of the lender’ as a very important or important consideration; particularly for brokers that transacted less than £100m in bridging business each year.

The report also revealed that for 58% ’speed of execution’ was very important when choosing a bridging lender, while a further 46% wanted ‘high quality service from the lender’.

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Overall, according to UK Property Finance, the research suggested that customers may value certainty of funding, speed and quality service, over low pricing.

Craig Upton, marketing director of UK Property Finance, said: “These research findings give us valuable insights into the most important considerations of borrowers when selecting a bridging broker or lender.

“What is interesting is reputation is becoming increasingly important to the decision-making process and we have witnessed this trend amongst our customers.

“Reputation is not just a ‘nice to have’, but a commercial necessity for brokers and lenders alike.”

Upton reported that these elements have been part of UK Property Finance’s approach in the long term, and particularly during the current COVID-19 crisis.

He said: “Over the years, we have worked hard to build a strong reputation for speed, flexibility and service excellence, which revolves around being able to directly access appropriate finance for all situations, whether straightforward, or those requiring unique lending solutions.

“Our dedicated and highly experienced team of processors work closely with all stake holders to overcome hurdles and to ensure completion in the quickest possible timeframe.

“We understand that investors are often put in situations where finance is required quickly but unfortunately, they often do not fit the criteria of larger institutional lenders.

“An example of this was when we were approached during the lockdown, for a capital-raising bridging loan needed for a partly completed renovation project.

‘The investor had taken a bridging loan to purchase a derelict property from auction, but the original bridging loan was now overdue and needed refinancing off a penalty rate.

“Additional funds were also required to complete the over-running renovation costs.

“We arranged finance with a lender who was willing to use the valuation from the original purchase and additionally without needing external legal work.

“The new lender was also willing to refinance another bridging loan, on a still dilapidated property.

“The £430,000 completion took place within four days from initial contact, enabling the investor to continue with the development project throughout COVID-19.”