Meet the broker… FinSpace Group

Meet Alfred Crooks, senior second-charge consultant at FinSpace Group

Tell us a bit about your business.

FinSpace Group has been a front leading specialist finance broker for commercial, bridging and auction finance for a long time, and is well respected in the industry having several awards and nominations behind them.

FinSpace has now launched into the second charge market for both residential and investment properties, and we are very excited about where it could go with our unique in-house system and fintech-driven analysis supporting both direct clients, partner brokers and IFAs with a full suite of specialist finance.

Where are you based and where do you operate geographically?

Our head office is in Moorgate, Central London, and the team commutes in full-time.

We service the UK and travel to clients for face-to-face appointments.

Every week we also welcome our lender partners to discuss ongoing cases to further develop our relationships.

What are the main issues impacting your local market?

We are seeing a trend in people slipping into the subprime market with their credit score, due to missed payments amid the cost-of-living crisis.

Clients are leaving it a little too late to try and seek finance, although most of the time this is because they have tried normal high street routes and failed.

Affordability, loan-to-value (LTV), and purpose are all affecting the normal, expected routes finance clients would try to apply for.

Luckily, we have access to lenders that can cater for all scenarios from defaults and missed mortgage payments to 100% LTV, so we have managed to stay flexible and buoyant despite the uncertainty.

What challenges are you facing as a broker?

Interest rates have been historically low for the past decade, so when discussing the ‘new normal’ interest rates with clients it is more of a challenge than it was previously because most people are not used to the new rates.

The constant change in the marketplace is also difficult to navigate, and ensuring our team and clients are always up to date on the latest changes is challenging.

Informing a client that their 7.40% rate is now 8.50% is never easy, especially following 13 consecutive Bank of England rises.

What are the main opportunities for brokers in your area and nationally?

Despite the general doom and gloom for the market, second charges are going strong and saw an upturn in the first half of this year, although lower than last year’s figures. It is likely this will continue into and beyond Q3.

People looking to consolidate their debts or the need for lenders that have more of a flexible, ‘human’ approach has directed people to the specialist finance market and it’s a huge opportunity for clients to fix their short to medium terms plans and for IFAs and other brokers to have another ‘feather in their cap’ as it were, especially with Consumer Duty at the forefront of everyone’s mind.

What could lenders do to help further your business?

I think turnaround times have been a big frustration for brokers recently.

It’s so important to get finance done quickly, not just for the client’s potential situation but the difference between having a case offered on a Monday or a Wednesday could be the difference between 0.50% on the interest rate which can make or break some applications.

Keeping brokers up to date on timescales and where their cases are is imperative, especially now.

What sets you apart from the competition?

FinSpace is a fin-tech driven brokerage with its own in-house tech team led by our CTO.

We not only specialise in property finance but are also in the process of developing our tech tools such as our development appraisal tool, Propflex.

With Propflex, many stakeholder pain points will be addressed under one centralised platform.

Through universally packaged applications and communication tools, brokers can increase conversion rates while reducing any risks throughout the process.

As for the client, they will be able to source properties, obtain quotes, review status updates, and manage cases, which will result in an overall streamlined process and efficient customer experience.

We also have a huge focus on streamlining the process for clients, with a big focus on digitalising the application process from application forms to ID verification and a large percentage of our cases are complete on a desktop valuation which saves time and upfront cost to the client. Along with this, the same person looks after the application from start to finish.

This enables the whole application to be seamless, with one point of contact who knows everything about the case and can give easy, accurate updates to brokers, clients, and lenders.

Getting things done right the first time is a huge focus for us and doing it well with the client’s best interests always at heart.

FinSpace can be a ‘one-stop shop’ for clients and brokers for their needs or enquiries, whether that be a residential second charge or a large-scale development project.

How should potential borrowers contact you?

Alfred Crooks [email protected] / 0203 950 3289

Second Charge Team [email protected] / 0203 950 1876