Why work with a Packager?

Bridging Connections is a series of exclusive articles written for UTB by experienced professionals within the bridging industry. In this edition Luke Egan, Director of Bridging and Development at Truffle Specialist Finance, explains how Packagers can add value to both brokers and lenders.

Packagers, or master brokers if you prefer, play an increasingly important role in the specialist finance industry. However, for those brokers who have never thought, or needed, to involve them in a bridging case, it may not be clear what they bring to the party.

Truffle Specialist Finance has been helping brokers since 2006 and over the years has established itself as one of the industry’s most respected packagers for a variety of specialist finance solutions including second charges, development finance, specialist mortgages and, of course, bridging. Luke Egan is the Director of Bridging and Development at Truffle and as our latest Bridging Connection describes just what a good packager can do to help when a customer’s requirements fall outside of the broker’s usual comfort zone.

Why work with a Packager?

It’s a fair question. Packagers have become key players in the bridging market, but it’s not always understood exactly what they bring to a transaction and how they can add value to both brokers and lenders. Let’s start by taking a look at why brokers, and especially those who may not do many bridging deals, can find working with a packager much simpler than navigating the research/application/processing journey themselves.

To start with, there isn’t a single sourcing system that covers the whole market so if your bridging market knowledge is limited, you may need to spend a lot of time getting up to speed with lenders’ offerings and criteria. Successful packagers on the other hand are constantly immersed in the market and will have a deep knowledge not only of ‘standard’ criteria but also of current appetite, offers and what lenders need to deliver a speedy service. If your case is particularly complex or unusual, packagers will have a good idea of which lenders are most likely to have the capability and the desire to complete it.

As with many aspects of specialist finance, relationships are key. Lenders appreciate well-packaged applications so valuable time isn’t lost. And because lenders know that often their job will be easier with a packager involved, many packagers have access to exclusive products and rates. More importantly, a strong packager/lender relationship might make all the difference in getting a marginal case over the line.

Packagers can advise brokers on best options and then take care of all the admin work, dealing with all aspects of the application process. Ownership of the client always remains with the broker but as packagers will take cases from initial enquiry through to completion, the broker is free to focus on their core business and customers rather than committing an inordinate amount of time and resource on a process they may be unfamiliar with. Once a suitable solution is agreed, the packager will assemble a full proposal, tailored to that particular lender’s requirements and run with it from there.

Once offered, a packager can take care of all the administration, gathering all the documentation required by the lender and significantly reducing the time and effort a broker would need to spend on paperwork and processing. If a broker wants to be more involved that’s fine too, but often we find they’re happy to pass over the details and leave it to us.

Packagers can help to alleviate much of the time pressure which often comes with a bridging application. We will liaise with lenders and third parties such as valuers and lawyers and shepherd the case all the way to completion. For example, the legals are frequently one of the most time-consuming parts of a bridging deal and on cases which have become bogged down, packagers can use their experience to zero in on the issue, manage what’s needed to overcome it and get the deal back on track quickly. It’s this kind of in-depth knowledge and understanding of the product that adds value throughout the whole process.

In summary, packagers provide a useful service to brokers, especially those with little experience of bridging or whatever other specialist funding they may lack knowledge of themselves. We give brokers help and support, taking time consuming tasks off their hands, improving the quality of their applications and using our expertise to improve conversions and enable them to benefit from additional commission revenue they might otherwise have missed out on. Once seen as a last resort, approached only when a broker has hit a brick wall with their usual contacts, more often these days brokers recognise the value good packagers can add to their business, and invite them to bring their skills to the table from the very start.