Amicus specialists Q&A: Martin Lane
In the latest instalment of our Amicus team interview series, we bring you a conversation with underwriter Martin Lane.
Martin came to Amicus in 2014 after seven years as a self-employed contractor working with several lenders. Before that he was Underwriter Team Manager at Preferred Mortgages.
Q. What is your role with Amicus Property Finance?
A. My role is an underwriter. I enjoy being part of the Amicus underwriting team as I value the touchpoints with our stakeholders and proactively identifying routes to help cases complete in the quickest possible time. We are an experienced team, and pool our expertise and experience to deliver the best outcome for all stakeholders involved.
Q. What attracted you to join Amicus?
A. What attracted me to Amicus and the underwriting role was the opportunity to deliver a more personal, tailored service and approach for customers in a relatively small but expert team. The Amicus approach, keeping stakeholders front of mind, is a marked change from credit-scored, process-based decision-making.
Q. Tell us about a typical day?
A. In a typical day I assess new cases and speak with the borrower or broker to clarify any queries. I catch up with our solicitors and valuers on how cases are progressing, and to discuss any legal or property-related issues that need further consideration. I typically have about 20 cases on my desk at any time. These will be at varying stages - awaiting valuation reports or further information, with our solicitors and awaiting their Report on Title, or being prepared for completion.
Queries and issues can arise at any stage, from the time we receive the application to the moment the case completes. Although this can be quite challenging at times, the team is hugely experienced. We usually find we've encountered a similar situation, and that helps us identify a way forward.
I also have a number of development cases, where construction documentation needs to be collated and reviewed, and Project Monitoring Surveyor reports checked. I've developed relationships with a number of brokers and direct clients, and we talk regularly to discuss both current cases and potential new loans. Then there is the perennial scattering of meetings in the diary!
Q. What do you like about working at Amicus?
A. I enjoy the interaction between the various stakeholders - borrower, broker, valuer, solicitor and others. Everyone is willing the case to completion, even if opinions differ on precisely how to achieve this! There is definitely a certain satisfaction in getting a case funded in the knowledge you have overcome a number of challenges in doing so.
Q. What would be your best advice for someone submitting a case with Amicus Property Finance?
A. Provide as much information as possible at the outset, and give a clear rationale. All too often a case doesn't quite make sense from the basic information on the application form. An explanation in the comments section or an accompanying email makes all the difference between a speedy turnaround and numerous emails and phone calls to clarify. Also, complete the application form in full. Every section and question is there for a reason - leaving them blank or putting "n/a" only slows us down.
Q. What do you think sets us apart?
A. We work closely with all stakeholders to complete cases. With the combined specialist experience of the team, and their ability to take a practical view of the risks, we can usually overcome even the most complex of issues. Ideally - and often - without the borrower even being aware that they existed in the first place!