Hammering In The Nail

Keith Sangwin – Sales Manager – Asset Finance

Although I have been known to do a spot of DIY now and again don’t worry, this article isn’t about my attempts to fix things around the Sangwin household.

We recently welcomed Chris Leverett to the Asset Finance team as our new BDM covering the Central region and Wales. Part of Chris’s initiation to the world of UTB asset finance is that he gets to spend a week or so on the road with me (I know, lucky man I hear you cry!) and we go out
and about meeting up with some of our key brokers in Chris’s patch. Those who know me will also know that getting out and talking to brokers is one of the parts of the job I enjoy most. It’s also when it’s brought home to me that brokers don’t always know what UTB can do for them. Even
brokers we’ve had a relationship with for many years show surprise at some of things I say we do at UTB, even when I think we talk about them regularly. It reminds me that it’s a mistake to assume knowledge, or to expect that previous knowledge doesn’t get out of date and isn’t automatically renewed. I don’t blame brokers for not knowing every detail about the multitude of lenders vying for position on their consideration lists. They see and hear from a lot of lenders each week, whether in person, by email or other marketing channels. How many of us can say we read everything we receive, let alone take it on board? I know I don’t and I don’t expect brokers to either.

What Chris and I found, I’m pleased to say, was that the things we believe differentiate us from many of our competitors are well known. Direct access to credit managers to discuss deals, quick credit decisions, flexibility, same day pay-outs, outstanding service and, of course, our 100%
commitment to the broker channel. In these days of increasingly aggressive tactics from direct and vendor sales teams, brokers still find it reassuring that we want to help them to grow their business rather than take it away.

The surprises came more in the detail. For example, our appetite and experience in refinance is becoming well established, but not everyone knows that our lack of an aged asset policy enables us to consider deals on wheeled and tracked assets which most other lenders would
consider too old to lend against. And whilst unencumbered assets are simplest to refinance, we do plenty of deals where there’s some outstanding finance to settle on top of the capital being released. Our admin team are extremely good at processing these transactions and if the paperwork is available and provided quickly, a 24- hour turnaround is very achievable.

As Chris and I talked more about the speed and flexibility of refinance and UTB’s particular skills in that regard, it occurred to me that when brokers talk to their clients, the clients may not be taking all of that information on board either. And that as we often remind brokers about what UTB can
do for them, brokers should equally be having the same regular conversations with their clients, it’s just having a good reason to do so.

At present, when many SMEs are delaying making significant investments in new vehicles, plant and machinery, perhaps until the path to Brexit looks clearer, brokers may find the next year a little quieter than they’d like. However, even though businesses may have put big purchases on the back burner for a while, that’s not to say they won’t have a good reason for employing some of the capital tied up in their existing assets. As such, refinance could be just what they need but they may not know it yet. Even if you think you’ve mentioned it before, if you’re convinced you’ve done refinance to death with some clients over the years. Bring it up again, and again, and again.

Anyone who’s ever tried to bang a six-inch nail into a piece of 2 by 4 knows that it’s not going in with one hit. Unless you’re Thor, it’s going to take a few, solid, well aimed blows to drive that nail home, to make that strong joint or connection. So, when we talk about refinance, or any of the other ways UTB can help you and your customers to seize opportunities or just provide a cashflow cushion, we’ve probably mentioned it before. We’re just hammering in the nail. If it’s been a while since you’ve banged on about refinance with your clients, perhaps now’s the time to reach for your toolbox. Although I have been known to do a spot of DIY now and again don’t worry, this article isn’t about my attempts to fix things around the Sangwin household.