In this interview, we speak with Reparo Relationship Manager Jason Cossey. After starting his career in aeronautical engineering at British Aerospace, Jason moved into finance. He worked for RBS, Red Flag Alert and Funding Options before moving to Reparo in 2015.
Jason brings a wealth of experience in due diligence, client relationships and managing complex risk for a range of clients.
Reparo Marketing Team (RMT): Hi Jason, I’d like to start by hearing a little about your background. How did your career lead you to Reparo?
Jason Cossey (JC): I started my career in aeronautical engineering, becoming a qualified aeronautical fitter. This experience helped me understand how many of our clients’ businesses work.
I moved into finance because of a strong personal interest and learned the ropes at RBS; I worked with a huge range of clients, helping them manage their own risk and the bank’s position. This gave me a sound grounding in risk management and showed me the importance of building long-term relationships with clients.
In June 2015, I joined Reparo and get great satisfaction from helping clients access funding that will benefit their business.
RMT: Can you tell us about your role at Reparo?
JC: I work at all stages in the deal process. Everyone at Reparo has at least ten years’ experience in commercial lending. This means we are all able to ‘muck-in’ and get involved at any stage in the lending process.
One of the main reasons I joined was to work with Andrew (the MD) and Sharon (the Operations Director). Working closely with such experienced people has really developed my skillset and enabled me to keep learning.
I often deal with initial enquiries from clients or brokers that want to know whether we can help with a loan. Once we decide to progress with a loan, I’m involved in the due diligence process, raising legal documentation, producing credit papers and liaising with the client to make sure they’re comfortable with the process.
We often need to complete deals quickly, so a big part of my role is juggling all of the moving parts to make sure we deliver for our client.
RMT: You touched on the lending process. Can you tell me a little more about how this process works at Reparo?
JC: The first step is an initial chat to understand what the business is looking to achieve. We discuss the level of funding and the timeframe required for the completion.
We start with the vetting process. Whereas traditional lenders have strict lending criteria we can be more flexible. We conduct the normal checks but also focus a lot more on the proposition, the applicant and the circumstances. This allows us to accept loans that may not pass vetting at other lenders.
For example, we are happy to work with a new business if the owners have a strong track record or if recent unpublished accounts are positive. If there’s a way to help, then we’ll find it.
Once we’re happy that a proposition makes sense and we’ve verified everything we check the value of the security. To move deals along quickly we can work on everything else while the valuation is being confirmed.
At Reparo we have a credit committee that give final loan approval. Unlike a lot of lenders, we engage with the credit committee early in the due diligence process, allowing us to identify potential hurdles at the start and then begin to resolve them. This is more effective than waiting until the loan is nearly complete and facing a delay at the eleventh hour.
I work with solicitors to make sure that the documentation is clear and the client is happy with the terms. We have fantastic commercial partners that understand the time pressures we work under and get things done on time. If there is a holdup, it’s not usually from our side.
RMT: You’ve had incredible success at Reparo, what have been the key factors in this?
JC: At Reparo we are very client-focused. In my role, I spend a lot of time listening to clients, understanding their businesses and ensuring Reparo products are suitable for them. Part of our ethos is that we’re never too busy, so no matter how much work there is I’ll always take a call from a client.
My experience in lending means I have a broad understanding of the whole loan process. So when issues come up that need a resolution, it’s normally something I’ve seen many times before (or if I haven’t them someone on the Reparo team probably has). This experience means I can work through deals quickly and efficiently.
My mentality is to get deals completed on time; at Reparo we are often working to tight deadlines. We conduct our business on our clients’ timelines, not on our own, and I get enormous satisfaction from completing a loan under pressure.
RMT: What do you think makes Reparo such a special lender to work for?
JC: A lot of businesses struggle to secure vital financing for reasons that don’t make a lot of sense. As a responsible lender if there is a suitable deal to be completed, then we’ll do our best to help.
We’re able to review a deal proposal quickly so if we aren’t able to help then an applicant will know quickly: we place a lot of emphasis on not wasting people’s time, so we let the client know quickly if we’re unable to help, allowing them to explore other lending options. We hear from a lot of businesses that have been subjected to a long drawn out due diligence process only to be told they’ve been unsuccessful – we make sure we avoid this.
This attitude of trying to help businesses is why Reparo is such a great company to work for. Instead of feeling like a small cog in a large slowly spinning wheel I feel I’m able to speak to businesses, understand their issues, make decisions and provide relevant solutions. It is motivating to be an intrinsic part of an agile customer-focused business.
RMT: What does the future hold for Reparo and you?
JC: We’re busy working with our client base to lend them money that will help them solve problems and take opportunities. As traditional lenders make financing hard for SME’s, we look forward to stepping in and helping businesses all over the UK.