Rotton’s Rambles featuring Lee Albino

Nic Rotton and Lee Alpino

Rotton’s Ramble featuring Lee Albino from Shawbrook Bank

Last week, Sarah Woolf and I met up with Lee Albino from Shawbrook Bank for a gentle wander around Whitworth Park in the Derbyshire Dales.

Nic Rotton and Lee Alpino

Our conversations were varied and animated to say the least, which wasn’t unexpected as we’ve all worked together for over 15 years, and they culminated in a debate on which was best, red or brown sauce on your bacon cob!

Whilst the question of preferred condiments was entertaining, our ramblings did focus in more detail on trends we have seen this year and looking into the crystal ball to see what we were expecting for 2022.

Some points were worth sharing and these included: –

  • Technology in the Challenger Bank sector continues to drive innovation and has become ever more prevalent during COVID times.
  • Zoom and Teams has improved engagement between brokers/BDMs as time isn’t lost in travel and it makes our lender contacts more accessible. We recently heard from one lender who was using his unused marketing budget to offer a special short-term product at finer rates, as it still allowed them to make more profit overall.
  • Broker portals allow us to submit a case, upload client documents and follow a case from enquiry to completion, with less time lost to emails and phone calls.
  • Automated Valuation Models (AVM) are being utilised by more and more lenders, including Shawbrook, and really came into their own as the pandemic restricted valuers being able to attend properties. The use of AVMs can make the process more efficient and we are starting to see improved rates as a result.
  • I recently had a Shawbrook case which went from application to offer in 3 days and release of funds within 10 days. A similar case without AVM wouldn’t have even had the valuation booked in the same time frame.
  • One area on which we all agreed to be a major a focus for 2022 was property clients taking on refurbishment projects and the finance that runs alongside it. We are seeing clients looking to create value and increase income from their portfolios and developing properties is seen as the way forward.


Finally, it wouldn’t be a ramble from me at the moment without mentioning EPCs again. Not only because I spoke to a new client this week with 9 properties in his portfolio and he had no knowledge of the new requirements proposed for 2025. It was also something Lee was keen to stress, with Shawbrook taking a closer look at this subject and assessing the impact it might have on its loan book.

Overall, we agreed that there was plenty to be positive about at the moment, all things considered, although the red/brown sauce debate continued as we went for bacon and sausage cobs, which clearly just confused the issue!