Brokercast: how banks and solicitors can make doing deals more broker-friendly

Brokercast is a regular series from Allica Bank that aims to help brokers get better outcomes for their clients.

In episode 3 we lift the veil on the legal conveyance. An essential, if occasionally complex part of the commercial mortgage funding process.

Megan Turner is a legal executive in the lender services team at Lester Aldridge, based in Bournemouth. She recently sat down (via Zoom) with Carly Nutkins, Allica Bank’s mortgage operations manager, to explain how the legal process works, what they’re doing to make it more broker-friendly, and how brokers can help keep the process moving swiftly when trying to get deals done.

At all times, she says, her firm has its eye on the prize. “Our main goal is that the transaction goes through,” Megan began. “We want to make sure the borrower gets the money they need and the bank can rely on the security that’s being offered in return.”

Taking a step back, Megan explained her role. “We get involved once the loan is approved by the bank and the valuations are instructed,” Megan began. “We’ll send an initial pack to the borrower’s solicitors that includes the mortgage offer and a standard set of enquiries.”

“From there, we work with the borrower’s solicitors and the broker,” she continued. “In simple terms, we ensure that the security on offer is valid. The broker plays a key role here to ensure fast and transparent communication between the two sides.”

Keeping up with demand

Carly pointed to Allica Bank’s record number of successful lending applications in March, and asked how Lester Aldridge plans to keep up with demand.

“We’ve designed and built a process tailored for Allica Bank and its clients,” Megan replied. “One that’s as slick as possible for the bank and borrowers. We’re always looking to review and refine it, too. For example, we recently paired individual paralegals with Allica’s business development managers, which made it much easier to understand each case on its merits.”

It was also important to get brokers involved as much as possible, says Megan. “Through their BDM at Allica, brokers can have direct contact with a named individual here at Lester Aldridge. And we set up automatic updates for brokers each time a case reaches an important milestone.”

Taking a commercial view

Carly moved the conversation on to case assessment. How do Megan and her team make their judgements?

“We do have a standard set of instructions that we developed early on with Allica’s underwriters,” Megan answered. “However, we take a commercial view. We’re always looking for ways we can do something, rather than finding a reason not to do it.” In other words, Lester Aldridge’s approach isn’t a tick box exercise. They look at things on a case-by-case basis. And, ultimately, this actually leads to quicker decision-making.

Sharing information

This brought Megan to the importance of communication.

“Talking through each case really helps,” she said. “Before a case is even instructed, it really helps to pick up the phone and have a conversation about it.”

Not for the first time in this series, Megan highlighted the broker’s importance in providing as much information as possible, as early in the process as they can.

“This gives us a much better understanding of the case and really helps deals go through,” she confirmed. “If we have all the information in front of us, we’ll be able to assess right at the start whether there are issues that might arise and how best to tackle them.”

Carly wrapped up with a summary of the bank’s remit to its advisers. “We want to get as many deals over the line as quickly and as safely as possible.”

“I think we’re a bit different to our competitors on that front. We welcome Lester Aldridge’s support in making that happen and know how hard you’re working to help us,” she concluded.

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