We sit down with Liam Killen to hear about his role at Reparo and why he thinks Reparo offers something truly unique in the competitive lending space.
Liam has 12 years of experience in commercial lending, starting his career at Rothschild-owned Five Arrows, then working for GE Capital and ABN AMRO before joining Reparo. Liam won the ABFA’s prestigious Top Diploma Student Award and has a wealth of experience in deal origination and due diligence.
Reparo Marketing Team (RMT): Thanks for taking the time to chat with us, Liam. On your business card, it says Business Development Manager – what does your role entail?
Liam Killen (LK): I generate enquiries for Reparo, which involves working with many intermediaries and trusted business advisors who work with our client. I evaluate the loan applications and manage the process through to completion. This involves meeting prospective clients and assessing their needs. A lot of businesses approach us for lending, so it’s my job to quickly work out which businesses we are best placed to help.
Once I’ve done some initial pre-qualification on a deal, it’s my job to meet the key people in the business and do more thorough due diligence. Then I’ll put together a credit paper so our credit committee can make a final decision.
RMT: It sounds like quite a wide remit, has your previous experience been helpful?
LK: My career to date has been quite technical; I’ve overseen large revolving credit lines and managed complex risk. Seeing deals from the operations side has given me a deep understanding of how to vet and calculate risk for prospective loans. My role at Reparo is very client centred; it’s my job to represent Reparo to clients and take them through the due diligence process.
Having a technical background is invaluable because I can answer any client question and make accurate predictions on how our credit committee will view a proposal. This allows me to be transparent with businesses and tell them early on if they have a strong case for a loan with us. Without my background, there is no way I would be able to give this level of client support.
RMT: A big part of your job is the pre-qualification of a deal to determine its viability, can you tell us a little about Reparo’s lending criteria?
LK: At Reparo we have a degree of flexibility – we can look at a deal from different angles and try to make it work. When assessing a loan application, I look at the whole package: the business proposition, the leadership team, the security and of course, the financials. Every deal is unique in some way.
For example, I was working with a business in the farming sector that needed a working capital injection, and we were looking at what could be used as security. The farmer pointed to some valuable land so I pulled on some boots, stepped into the tractor and went to take a look. The land had more than enough value to underwrite the loan. I was able to make this assessment because I was out meeting the business and looking for a solution.
Because I have daily access to the credit committee we can make very quick decisions; this is of huge benefit to our customers because many are working to a tight timeframe.
RMT: How would you summarise the differences between Reparo and traditional lenders?
LK: We take a look at the proposition as a whole. Traditional lenders tend to be more formulaic: if a business doesn’t hit certain criteria then they aren’t eligible for financing. For example, if a business has detrimental information against it or hasn’t filed accounts for two years, that might prevent a loan. We will take a much deeper look; businesses can still pass vetting at Reparo even if other lenders have said no.
RMT: You cite speed as one of Reparo’s key benefits, how are you able to act so quickly on deals?
LK: There are a few reasons. We’re very good at vetting businesses; we can do a thorough assessment pretty quickly and get a loan approved by the credit committee within tight timeframes.
We can do this because everyone works closely together. For example, if I‘m reviewing a loan, I can get a quick opinion from someone on the credit committee. So once we’ve written a credit paper that proposes a deal we can get it approved quickly because any questions have already been addressed. This personal touch is very different to how the large lenders work.
We also go that extra mile. This week I’ve been working on a deal that is contingent on the valuation of a piece of land. The original surveyor didn’t want to produce a valuation letter, so we needed an alternative. I found myself arranging a valuation on a Sunday night so we could get paperwork prepared in time.
To discuss a loan between £10,000 and £1m, please get in touch with Liam, or one of the team on firstname.lastname@example.org or 0161 451 5714. You can find out more about us on our website: www.reparofinance.co.uk