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Bridgingwatch

West One Loans does not deserve the bad publicity it has received over an identity fraud case. The situation has been blown out of proportion and the lender has probably been the victim of its own success

Danny Waters

Today I’m going to focus on the West One Loans identity fraud. It’s had a huge amount of publicity in recent weeks so I wanted to put across my own thoughts on it.

Allegations have been made by an investor that it acted in breach of contract after an ID fraudster targeted the lender and its investors and the case is currently going through the courts.

But my major thought is that this one case has been blown seriously out of proportion.

Reading some of the comments on the case that have appeared across the media, you’d be forgiven for thinking that West One Loans is on the verge of collapse, or in some kind of financial or managerial disarray.

The lender is getting some really bad publicity and in my opinion it’s thoroughly unjustified.

We are the single biggest introducer to West One Loans and in November alone are on track to complete over £12m in loans.

This is not the behaviour of a lender that is struggling in any way or preoccupied with a certain case.

And a lender that is able to complete this level of loans, and which to date has originated over in excess of 530 loans and lent more than £170m, with over 180 private investors, is not going to come unstuck because of one piece of relatively small fraud.

Also, and perhaps most importantly of all, at the current point in time West One Loans has not even crystallised a loss on this case or any that has gone before it — and a loss, in any case, is highly unlikely.

This case, like all frauds, is complex, with all kinds of strands and intricacies, and it could take a period of time for the various insurers and third parties involved to establish where the liability lies.

But I have no doubt that a settlement will be achieved in due course.

So we’re talking about a financial hit that in my opinion is unlikely to even constitute a hit for the lender anyway – and its investors.

The fact that it’s business as usual for the lender’s investors says it all. They have not headed for the hills at all but continue to fund its loans on an ongoing basis.

Within lending, fraud unfortunately comes with the territory but more often than not it is not life-threatening in any way — after all, most lenders have insurance policies that claim to indemnify them in cases like this.

I have no doubt there will be a handful of other lenders in the short-term finance sector going through similar ordeals at the moment, but these have not even flickered on the media’s radar.

West One Loans remains a robust lender and we need to look at this case with that in mind. As one of the main lenders in the market, the lender has almost certainly been a victim of its own success and high profile.

If it wasn’t West One Loans, the media would in all likelihood have given this case a wide berth.

Even more fundamentally, I think it’s time the industry as a whole should pull together. We’re a small industry and if we constantly blow things out of proportion, as has happened in the case of West One, we’re doing ourselves no favours.

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Comments
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  • Gustavo Frigg 10th January 2013 at 12:07 pm

    These are on going court proceedings. It is extremely unprofessional for Danny to write a piece on it. Yes the fraudster was on the website and yes Anita Kirkbright who now works for West One put it on the fraud register in the front place. Danny everyone knows you solely package for west one.

  • Chris Pattern 15th December 2012 at 1:37 am

    This is turning into a farce. Danny, for future reference, if you want a story to die, you keep QUIET!!!! This is like a bunch of arthur daley’s on a day out. West One and Danny Waters, you are both an utter embarrassment to the bridging industry. How can we hope to escape regulation when this low life level of scraping is so public? I think I need a shower………….

  • alternative opinion 13th December 2012 at 8:39 pm

    what danny does not mention is the deal exceeding £6million that he made a fortune from in Harrow, placed with west one but shunned by every other sensible lender in the bridging market. is this a thank you for stupid underwriting and profiteering? knowing Danny, yes – probably…

  • The Ice Man 13th December 2012 at 10:38 am

    Where do I start! There is nothing more important than an investor losing money I know Danny ( a self styled big player and master of the universe) is vertically challenged , but I did not understand he had problems reading.

    The fraudster was on the ASTL list , why were no checks made? This seems a PR excersise for West One, Danny keeps referring to them as a lender, have they ever actually lent any of their own funds or made themselves personally liable to their investors? If not I would class them as a packager . He says the industry should ” pull together” to do what fight an investor who has lost money! And has to go to court! He makes it seem all ok as ” there will be a settlement” he is missing the point completely we don’t band together when an investor loses money, we find out via the courts what has happened and make sure other investors have the same problem. Danny should remember he is a broker ( all be it massive in his own world) Last time I heard he wanted lenders to use solicitors for dual representation. I think he should stick to what he is qualified to talk about

  • James Etch 12th December 2012 at 6:26 pm

    Danny this is pathetic and almost creates news in its own right! How much extra over ride did you get for this? Actually they are a dreadful lender, not admired by the industry, and with a track record of being very harsh on borrowers.

    Who else would market a tacky campaign to send its biggest and best on a gambling holiday with so much publicity? Who else would have a stand up row at at an exhibition centre between directors, for everyone else to listen to? Who else would split hairs with their investors and not take their losses on the chin like professionals?

    As they say, you can put a pig into a suit, but you cannot stop him from grunting! Just my opinion, but I am entitled to it, being as you have gone to so much trouble to offer a balanced debate, lol!

  • Danny Pow 11th December 2012 at 10:24 am

    Mr Waters needs to be careful not to alienate himself from the rest of the community and lose total integrity. But I guess its not all about the money that Danny makes its also about saying a big thank you for all the luxuries Mr Waters got on his Vegas trip courtesy of West One or that Danny was a personal guest at Duncan Kreeger’s wedding.

  • anon 7th December 2012 at 3:36 pm

    What a weird weird piece. Particularly as its in the court process according to the piece.

  • Peter Parker 7th December 2012 at 10:32 am

    Agree Steve, but doesnt surprise me, as He is a silent partner/investor in West One.

  • Steve English 6th December 2012 at 9:51 am

    This is an absolutely appauling abuse of an article, seemingly for commercial gain.

  • Peter Parker 5th December 2012 at 2:34 pm

    …and how many of those loans within the £12m are A1???

  • Anon 3rd December 2012 at 11:24 am

    “We are the single biggest introducer to West One Loans and in November alone are on track to complete over £12m in loans.”

    Hardly an objective view point, is it?