Putting Broker Relationships First
Martin Nixon – Head of Asset Finance
United Trust Bank is one of a shrinking number of asset finance funders which is 100% focused on brokers as its sole delivery channel.
Our reputation for building strong relationships, delivering exemplary service and encouraging SMEs to work with brokers has created a loyal following. We’re flexible, straight talking, make quick credit decisions and provide speedy, usually same day pay-outs.
Our approach to asset finance is unashamedly traditional. We have the technology we need to manage our business effectively but we never let it get in the way of the broker relationship. We encourage our brokers to pick up the phone and speak directly to one of our credit managers and we frequently go the extra mile to get a deal completed quickly. According to many of our broker partners, that kind of personal service is becoming harder to find. Here are just a few recent examples of the service we provide to our brokers every single day. At UTB it’s all about relationships. It’s not rocket science, it’s chemistry!
Keith Sangwin – Asset Finance Sales Manager “Not all brokers are aware that we do some quite large and complex loans at UTB. For example, we recently paid out £1.7m to a plant hire company to release capital from a fleet of vehicles. The introducing broker had dealt with the firm a number of years earlier and sensing that there might also be future opportunities, they were very keen to impress the business’s owners with a smooth and competitive transaction. The broker had become a regular introducer to UTB and a look at the proposal combined with our relationship with the broker assured us that this was a transaction we could do, and do well. We agreed competitive terms and whilst processing the loan there were several opportunities for us to show the broker that we could quickly overcome any issues. For example, some of the vehicles’ documentation was incomplete and we dealt with this by sending one of our BDMs to the customer’s offices to match up alternative records rather than insisting on time consuming inspections for vehicles on hire all over the country. We provided a chattels agreement in 45 minutes when the broker expected it in 48 hours and a last minute query threw a spanner in the works when we were in the home straight. But not for long. The UTB decision makers gathered around a table, we looked at the problem together and came up with a simple solution.That was the final piece of the jigsaw. We paid out the £1.7m a few days later, well ahead of the customer’s target date.”
Peter Price – Asset Finance Credit Manager “At UTB, every proposal is considered on the merits of why we should do the deal, not why we shouldn’t. There are no tick boxes filtering out cases and no automation. Every proposal is looked at by one of the team. Although a lot of what we look at might be called ‘vanilla’ deals, there are plenty where the skills and experience on the desk are what makes the difference.
I’m fortunate to know a large number of our introducers, some for many years, and there’s no substitute to being able to talk through a proposal directly with the broker. There’s usually something you can pick up from a conversation which helps us to put together a better understanding of the proposed deal, and it saves a lot of time. On marginal deals, by asking a few more questions in a five-minute call we can sometimes find an alternative solution to make it stack up or we’ll come across something the broker hadn’t considered important to the proposal but turns out to be the extra detail or security which enables us to say yes. Talking to brokers regularly also helps us to forge strong, long term relationships between the Bank and our introducer panel.
I’m sure brokers make assumptions about the types of deals we will do, either because of previous dealings or because we’re better known as a plant and commercial vehicles funder. However, we’ve developed our appetite and asset range considerably in the last few years and into some niche classes too. Because we constantly review the types of assets we’ll fund and refinance, it’s always worth a broker giving us a call.
Neil Simpson – Assistant Credit Manager –
Professions/Asset Finance “Although for most professional firms, tax payment deadlines occur at pretty much the same time every year, there are always some which leave it to the 11th hour to finalise how they’re going to settle their HMRC bills. We had a call from a trusted professions broker at around 4.30pm on a Tuesday afternoon. He had an architect client who needed to find £50,000 to pay a VAT bill the following day. Fortunately, on this occasion, the business was in good shape and the accounts supported the funding required. We approved the deal on the desk almost immediately, raised the documentation and emailed it to the broker. The broker visited his client the following morning to get a signature, returned the agreement to us and we paid out the deal within the hour. Suffice to say the broker, his client and the tax man were delighted with the quick turnaround.”
Katie Lockett – Asset Finance Loans
Administrator “At UTB, once signed documents are received by the administration team, they are checked to ensure that all paperwork is completed and all the necessary documentation is in order before we make a pay-out. This might include proving the asset’s title, liaising with other funders to settle off outstanding finance, ensuring we have all the right signatures on the agreements and getting inspections and valuations carried out. It sounds time consuming but we don’t hang about.
We recently paid out a £57,000 loan to purchase a used tipper lorry from another operator, within four working hours of the documentation coming back from the broker. We received the paperwork at 4pm on a Thursday afternoon, however the broker was unable to carry out the required asset inspection, due to the
location. We therefore arranged for a third-party agent to carry out the inspection the following morning. By 10.45am we had received the inspection back and at 11am we completed the pay-out. It wasn’t a particularly large transaction by UTB standards, but it’s always an important deal to the customer. That’s why every broker gets the same high level of service however big or small the loan.”