News & Views

Fincorp takes tough stance on fraud

Bridging lender signs up to SIRA and sends field officers to borrowers' homes
Bridging lender Fincorp has put its foot down on fraud by signing up to the SIRA database and committing to send field officers to verify borrower identities in person.
The lender is one of nine Association of Short Term Lenders members to have signed up for the web-based Syndicated Intelligence for Risk Avoidance (SIRA) database in a bid to tackle fraud head on.
The system allows members to cross-reference information in an application such as a telephone number or personal detail with applications already stopped by SIRA.
Flagged applications are then investigated further and the suspect case is cross-referenced with all other applications in the system from the past 90 days.
In its fight against fraud Fincorp has also agreed a contract with underwriting verification firm NCI to send field officers to check the identities and proof of address of all borrowers applying for a loan.
The firm's chief executive is former ASTL chief executive Adrian Bloomfield whose long experience in the bridging sector offers Fincorp peace of mind that it is underwriting to the highest standards.
Fincorp director Nigel Alexander says: "Fraud is the single biggest issue facing the industry and its one we're keen to be ahead of the game on. It's the oldest cliché in the book but it's true - it's easy to lend money, the hard part is getting it back. When the value of a property falls you can lose some money; with fraud you can lose every penny."
"That's why we've taken these steps to help us identify fraudsters and stop dodgy applications from slipping through the net. Clamping down on this type of criminal behaviour is critical, especially because bridging is a valuable source of finance for many reputable people."
Dave Brewster, senior manager at NCI, adds: "Our aim is to make sure people are who they say they are and that lenders don't miss a trick. There are a lot of hard up people out there dedicated to scamming lenders out of their cash and they're clever at doing it."
"But our team of field officers makes identity fraud much harder - faking documents is a lot more straightforward than faking an identity when you can see the whites of someone's eyes."
NCI has been offering field services in the bridging sector since 1997

Is the bridging boom an irresponsible myth?

Fincorp rebrands in its 25th year and restates it commitment to 'clear and simple' bridging
Bridging lender Fincorp has questioned claims that gross lending in the short-term mortgage market would hit £1.5bn in 2012 and keep booming this year, branding them "potentially dangerous".
The lender says it is time the bridging industry "grew up" and recognised the damage that hyping up the size of the market could do longer term.
Fincorp director Nigel Alexander says: "There's a lot of money swilling around behind the bridging market because it can offer great returns to investors but there is only so much good bridging lending out there."
He believes there are lenders in the short-term market dangerously close to dropping their underwriting standards just to compete to do business.
And he warns:"The danger is that every man and his dog thinks he can be a bridging lender and make pots of money. Investors are baying for more business and lenders without experience are taking the money and fuelling the myth that the bridging market can keep growing and growing."
"Well it can. But only because inexperienced lenders start to relax their criteria to get the loans out. We saw that out of control competition in the frothy days of the mortgage market and ultimately it's the borrower who pays for lender greed. Bridging industry professionals should take a care not to fall into that damaging cycle."
Alexander's comments come after the lender decided to revamp the Fincorp brand to celebrate its 25th year in bridging and re-iterate its commitment to make bridging "clear and simple".
Alexander adds: "Fincorp has been around the block, survived through three recessions and we know our stuff. But we recognised that the bridging market is constantly changing and we're simply making sure we stay on top of our game."
"That's what prompted us to rebrand with a new logo that reflects our whole ethos - clear and simple full stop. There are so many good reasons to use bridging but we believe the whole market needs to grow up and start being honest with the borrower and their investors."
As part of its 25th anniversary year the lender has also pledged to support the Cystic Fibrosis Trust, with a commitment to donate £100 each deal completed during 2013.
Matthew Anderson, fellow director at Fincorp, says: "This charity is close to my heart particularly as my son suffers from the disease. It,s a privilege to be able to support such a good cause and I'm proud to know Fincorp is the type of firm that takes its responsibility to give back to society seriously."