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Spreading our lending wings by


Mark Posniak marketing and operations director, Dragonfly Property


“Everything communicates” is an old adage in the world of marketing and branding and it sums up exactly what a brand is. A brand isn’t just a logo and a colour scheme, your corporate letterheads, compliments slips and boilerplate. A brand is everything about your company that says things to your clients and partners about who you are.


at London & Country. “But we have quite recently tweaked our logo to refresh the look and more accurately reflect that we advise across both mortgage and protection.


“That was more about evolution than


revolution and there has to be a real balance – conducting an expensive rebrand for the sake of it is unlikely to yield much of real value and substance.”


THE DOWNSIDES


The old adage “never judge a book by its cover” rings true in many cases – especially in today’s market where he who shouts loudest isn’t necessarily he who lends most. There’s also the damage that failing to deliver on service can do to a brand. Countrywide’s Stockton says service, stability and predictability are crucial. “There have been recent instances


where some lenders systems have been unable to cope with the demand or will not accept types of income,” he says. “Ultimately this will affect consultant and consumer confidence in the brand as a whole. With ongoing tighter lending criteria, a commitment to lending and delivering is very important for both consumers and intermediaries. “Whilst predictability is a positive


feature for service standards, innovation is a quality that we as intermediaries


www.mortgageintroducer.com


admire. We find that our customers wholly support when lenders’ bring new products to a wider mix to customers.” Clifford agrees that service is key, particularly to house purchase clients who often face exchange and completion deadlines. “We actively avoid supporting lenders


who are known to have processing backlogs, even if products are keenly priced, when speed is a necessity,” he says. “Consistency of approach – underwriting, processing, offer accuracy and so on is hugely important, as is product pricing and innovation. “It is quite right that intermediaries use their market knowledge and experience to recommend lenders who exhibit these qualities – consumers are otherwise blind.”


TIME IS RIPE Virgin’s Paul Lloyd says the new lender will deliver on a service to match the


As for our own rebrand last year, in the months running up to it, we increasingly felt “Drawbridge Finance” didn’t really reflect what we do and how we work. The name suggested we were exclusively about bridging, it pigeonholed us whereas the services we offer actually extend way beyond that into buy-to-let loans, second charges and development and mezzanine finance.


Having discussed it with the team at length, we thought it was better to act immediately and rebrand while we were still relatively young in the industry. The longer we waited, the more ingrained the Drawbridge brand


would become and the harder it would be.


As for the name, “Dragonfly Property Finance”, we felt the dragonfly is a perfect representation of how we work as a business. We are agile, flexible in the way we assess applications, quick to react and very transparent in the way we operate. Also, we’re always striving to do things differently and to stand out from the crowd. We felt the dragonfly embodied all of these qualities. But ultimately, of course, that’s for you — not us — to decide. The success of a brand is decided by others, not the brand itself.


hype surrounding its entry into the banking sector. For consumers there are bright white lounges in branch and community meeting spaces; for brokers there is the promise of better email processing and exciting technology developments in store this year. “Virgin is about bringing competition to the markets it enters,” he says. “And better banking looks like simpler and more transparent products. It’s about banks going back to being the heart of the communities they serve. It’s about better digital experiences for customers and helping them to understand and use their money.


“And they should be able to deal with the bank however they choose whether it be directly, through the intermediary or online. It will be a real evolution over time. This is a long term game for Virgin. I hope you’ll see us build out to that position over time.” Before a butterfly emerges from its transformation it’s difficult to know whether it will be a beauty or not. But for Virgin, the time is ripe for change. Consumers want a new type of banking now, just as Lloyd describes. That Virgin has embraced the intermediary in its plans is also reassuring because it reflects another thing consumers want. Choice. All that remains is to translate that warm fuzz into a service delivered.


MORTGAGE INTRODUCER FEBRUARY 2012 33





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