But the content of the blog painted a rather unfair picture of the bridging market and the brokers working within it.
We know that in every sector of the mortgage market, and life in general, there will be a few who will look to exploit a situation for profit.
But within his article, Coates seems to disregard the checks and balances that are put in place by respectable lenders to ensure that the customer is being properly treated and that suitable exit routes are in place.
And, where a broker has been identified as acting inappropriately, lenders will share this information.
‘Smash and grab’ brokers don’t last
From my own experience, as someone who has worked as a broker in the bridging market for many years, the only way it is possible to build a career in this market is through ongoing client relationships.
Brokers who take a ‘smash and grab’ approach tend to get found out very quickly and don’t last in the industry for too long.
Also, lenders will ask if a bridge is really the right route for the client as part of their due diligence and so there are multiple barriers preventing the behaviour that Coates alludes to.
Within his article, he also bestows the virtues of membership of the National Association of Commercial Finance Brokers (NACFB), which is a fine association with a track record of upholding standards. But it is not the only one.
There is also the Association of Mortgage Intermediaries (AMI), of which many brokers active in bridging are members, the Financial Intermediary and Broker Association (FIBA), and of course, the Association of Short Term Lenders (ASTL), of which I am currently the chief executive.
Vibrant, customer-focused market
At the ASTL we have a strict code of conduct that guides all of our members and covers elements such as Treating Customers Fairly, where all members, regulated or otherwise, must abide by the spirit of the requirements of the FCA.
It also covers things like the way any complaints should be handled and dictates the need for transparency in the way fees are charged, and so provides reassurance for anyone – broker or customer – who transacts with one of our members.
I tacitly agree with the headline and the sentiment that we must ensure the market does not become tainted and agree that the NACFB is doing a good job to ensure this is the case.
But so too are associations such as the ASTL, which is one of the reasons that we have such a vibrant and customer focused market in the short term lending sector.