Building trust as a new lender, early preparations for the PRA rules, big opportunities in specialist buy-to-let, more use of technology – and not listening to advice
Is Landbay ready for the PRA underwriting standards coming in from October?
Yes, we are. We introduced our broker portal in Q4 2016. It was built with PRA changes in mind and was designed to capture the additional information this would require from day one.
Brokers submitting applications to Landbay shouldn’t notice any major difference.
The buy-to-let sector has been buffeted by significant regulatory winds recently. What are the prospects for the sector?
For the specialist sector I think there are huge opportunities. We are seeing a big uptick in applications from limited companies and we expect this to grow further from 1 October.
What have been some of your biggest professional challenges?
Launching any business from scratch presents many big challenges.
As a peer-to-peer lending business we need to attract credit-worthy borrowers and investors, and ensure that the supply and demand match.
For investors, one of the key things that we needed to do was build trust. As a start-up lender with no record, you cannot do that overnight, so getting the credit function right was crucial. Now that we have been lending for three years, I think we have reassured investors and built that trust.
We have more than 4,000 registered users and the average amount of funds that investors have lent on the platform has consistently grown.
Do you have any big plans for Landbay in the next 12 months?
To continue growing our presence in the market and to be seen as one of the go-to lenders of choice for SPVs and portfolios.
Which one change would you like to see in the market overall?
A greater focus on technology to improve the service for brokers and borrowers.
We believe that technology should be at the heart of any financial services firm. Unfortunately, most lenders buy off-the-shelf legacy systems rather than invest in technology. The industry needs to be more forward-looking.
How long have you been in your current role and where were you previously?
I co-founded Landbay in the autumn of 2013, prior to which I worked in the City. Before that I taught economics.
If you had not chosen this career path, what else would you have liked to do?
That is a hard one. I have really enjoyed building a start-up and the mortgage industry is fascinating so I can’t think of anything else that I would rather be doing.
However, if not Landbay, I would still be doing something entrepreneurial.
Who is your all-time hero, and why?
It isn’t that original but it’s Sir Winston Churchill – a hero who also had obvious flaws, which makes his achievements even greater.
Do you have any secret talents?
I make a very good curry.
What is your favourite book?
In terms of one that I have read recently, probably Sir Mervyn King’s End of Alchemy, about central banking. My favourite of all time is To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. I studied it as a GCSE text and have loved it ever since.
What is the best advice you have received?
Don’t always listen to advice. If I had, I would never have co-founded Landbay.
If you were chancellor for a day, what would be your priorities?
Cap stamp duty on all types of property purchase, merge income tax and NI systems, and end the triple lock on pensions.
Year established: 2013
Address: 9-11 Grosvenor Gardens, Westminster
London SW1W 0BD
Tel: 020 3817 7700
In 2013, city worker and former economics teacher John Goodall and banker and lending specialist Gray Stern recognised a shift away from traditional investing to a more transparent online platform.
They saw the opportunity to anchor peer-to-peer lending to a consistently performing, robust asset class – UK rental property.