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Insights

Five minutes with…Ray Wong, Development Finance Relationship Director

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Ray Wong recently joined Paragon Development Finance as a Relationship Director. He talks to us about his first few weeks, why he joined Paragon and how we're helping clients with supply chain issues.

How have you enjoyed your first few weeks with Paragon and what are your first impressions?

It's always a little daunting starting a new job, but the team have been so welcoming and willing to help that it's made the whole process very straightforward.

I've spent the first week immersing myself in the credit policy and really understanding the bank's appetite to ensure I'm aware of the nuances in our lending policy to foster the best customer experience. This has enabled me to obtain credit approval for two schemes already.

Can you tell us what attracted you to the company?

The company has an excellent reputation for dependable delivery, specialist knowledge and best in class service. This coupled with the financial backing of a FTSE 250 bank with a strong balance sheet makes for a compelling offering to our clients.

What were you doing prior to joining Paragon?

My prior work experience includes working for debt fund, clearing and challenger banks all in the development finance space.

What do you enjoy about development finance?

I love the variety of schemes we fund and getting out of the office onto a building site. We fund a wide range of schemes from small residential schemes, large housing estates to Purpose Built Student Accommodation. Each client and scheme is unique and it's vital for us to meet clients face-to-face and properly understand their funding requirements.

What are you seeing from your clients at the moment?

Since Covid there has been a shift to more rural housing schemes with end users seeking larger accommodation, with outside space and more energy efficient homes. That's why we have recently launched our Green Homes initiative. This gives SME developers 50% off their development finance exit fee if 80% of the homes in their scheme is given an EPC A rating, based on a minimum number of five properties in the project.

From a construction perspective the industry has suffered with shortages of materials and labour which has adversely impacted the cost and lead times for our clients. At Paragon we have taken the pragmatic view and in certain circumstances we have backed clients to buy materials ahead of their use to ensure availability of supplies and maintain their build programme.

What do you enjoy outside of the office?

When I'm not working, I enjoy spending time with the family, playing tennis and keeping up to date on the latest cryptocurrency news.