Transacting in Lockdown
By the time the UK was placed into lockdown on 23rd March this year, the market was awash with questions as to how lenders would continue to transact given the obvious logistical challenges that presented themselves.
At Ortus Secured Finance, we were fortunate to have embraced technological solutions last year that meant the transition from being office based to working remotely was seamless. Using video conferencing facilities, all of the members of our team have been in constant contact with each other, ensuring that our brokers and clients have continued to receive the same great service throughout these turbulent weeks and months.
It’s not just within Ortus that we have used video solutions – we have been able to interact with borrowers and brokers using the same medium, and this is something we will carry into the future long post lockdown. The benefits for the lender and the borrower are tangible; gone are the days of faceless underwriting, now borrowers can see their lender and develop a collaborative relationship even hundreds of miles away. We’ve found that complex transactions unlock so much more easily this way.
Valuing property during the crisis felt like an impossible task, however we are fortunate to have relationships with an array of professional surveyors who have been supportive throughout. Creativity has been the order of the day, and we have relied on desktop valuations where we are comfortable with the fundamentals of the deal, in particular on residential property.
A proactive approach is helping us to make great strides on deals where inspection is required – we can ensure that all other underwriting has taken place, so that we are ready to draw down subject to a visit by the surveyor when restrictions ease and it is safe to do so. We even deployed a member of our team to do a ‘cycle-by’ inspection and sense check on a property we were funding near his home – his most productive hour of daily exercise so far.
Finally, all of our solicitor firms remain in ‘business as usual’ mode – and we have made arrangements for the fast and efficient processing of documents on a remote basis. This ensures the lockdown doesn’t impact on completion timeframes from a legal and documentation perspective.
We look forward to the return of a more ‘normal’ world (whatever that may look like) – however for now we remain committed to supporting the market with new ways of working, ensuring we continue to transact while also protecting the health of our borrowers and professional contacts.
Associate Director – Lending