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Meet the Brokers

In this new series, we learn more about the brokers we work closely with, finding out interesting and useful insights.

Our Business Development Manager John Hall meets Martin Lee from Bespoke Business Finance in our first Meet the Brokers interview.  

John Hall: “Tell us about your background” 

Martin Lee: “I had spent 33 years in banking most recently at Santander and have concentrated on the real estate sector, completing deals in both development and investment, while building a network of contacts within the industry. 

“I left three years ago to do something different. Having known about Bespoke for a number of years, I joined them in January 2018.”  

John Hall: “Why did you join Bespoke Business Finance?” 

Martin Lee: “The team at Bespoke Business Finance is made up of former bankers and people that have done 20-plus years in banking. Some of the team have worked together for decades.  

“I have dealt with lots of brokers, having worked in banking, and I have always preferred brokers who present a case properly with all the information provided. Because we are ex-bankers, we look at cases through those eyes. We are all about quality. We do not want to waste anyone’s time. We like being hands on with the lender and the client to help each deal go through with ease.”  

John Hall: “How did you hear about Redwood?” 

Martin Lee: “Through my colleague, the main partner in the firm. We like dealing with people who know the market and have the same backgrounds. We assess a deal in the same way and want to deliver for the client. We knew we would get on well with and really liked how Redwood worked with customers.”  

John Hall: “How have you found working with Redwood?” 

Martin Lee: “Easy as pie! We deal with a lot of banks and Redwood’s application process is not dissimilar to others, but what happens after that is very different. They take ownership of the process, and they keep us informed and up to date as the case develops. We could tell by the updates that progress was being made. Even with a deal that is not straightforward, they are happy to take the lead and take the pressure off.”  

John Hall: “Does any case come to mind?” 

Martin Lee: “Yes, KBA Homes Ltd, where we all worked together to enable a landlord to refinance a large property portfolio and grow his business. 

“Victor Singh, the owner of the company, had built up a £5.6million portfolio of more than 60 properties. He bought houses at auction and then quickly renovated them before letting them to tenants within weeks. 

“Given the global pandemic, it was a challenge. But thanks to the work we did, he was able to refinance an existing lend onto more favourable rates offered by Redwood Bank.” 

John Hall: “Yes, I remember this case it was slightly outside of our normal appetite due to the small commercial element in the portfolio. However, we were impressed by the strength and dedication of Mr Singh. 

“Meeting the customer face to face made all the difference, as you could see his passion for his portfolio and the potential therein. His plans to develop the portfolio were realistic, strengthened further by his reputation in the local market.” 

John Hall: “What would you say to a client thinking about working with Redwood?” 

Martin Lee: “They are not one of the big boys, so in a lot of cases they might not be thought of straight away. I think this is an advantage, they are a bit more niche and deal with brokers on a more personal basis. 

“They treat brokers as an asset to the deal, rather than an unnecessary extra party. When we’re dealing with them, it is like dealing with a bank that we all used to work in. A lot of the brokers all crave being able to pick up the phone and talk to someone, a human, who will make a decision based on the merits of the case.” 

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