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Size matters – but not the way you think

by: John Eastgate
  • 18/09/2012
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Size matters – but not the way you think
It would be desperately dull of me to write [another] blog extolling the virtues of looking to smaller lenders.

But playing up to my “dour Scot” label, I’ll carry on regardless.

Yes, there are advantages in looking beyond large lenders and towards the array of smaller banks and building societies. They’ll manually underwrite, they’ll speak to you and they’ll take a view on a credit file if there’s a story behind it to support any possible hidden blips. Great – on paper.

It’s not a one way street though. These lenders are not geared up to be factory processors. They are “idiosyncratic”; a euphemism for saying that if you’re pushing volume, you might come up against a few Heath Robinson-esque processes that leave you scratching your head.

Smaller lenders need to be careful in determining and communicating what business they want. Expensive cars are expensive due to the labour and skill invested in their manufacture.

Mass produced cars are cheap because manufacturers squeeze processes and fret about six sigma scores. If Rolls-Royce were to produce a runabout, they’d kill their brand and hammer their production capability.

In this world where we all rely on the brand message, smaller lenders have to communicate clearly and manage expectations. Getting it wrong will do as much damage to a carefully nurtured brand as a £15,000 Rolls-Royce.

The trick is to find niches and commit to servicing them appropriately. Decisions might take a bit longer, we might ask for information that others don’t and the product might be a bit more expensive.

I make no apology for that; but I do recognise that we need to be better at doing what we say we will and communicating our position.

We’ve started that process here at Kent Reliance. It will take a little time, but we are getting there.

For now I’m off to develop a pitch for the Rolls-Royce three wheeler.

John Eastgate is sales and marketing director at Kent Reliance

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