John Hardman

BFS not expecting north-south bridging lender partnerships anytime soon

John Hardman, head of sales at Merseyside-based Bridging Finance Solutions (BFS) (pictured above), does not expect to see partnerships between southern and northern bridging lenders anytime soon.

Speaking to Bridging & Commercial, John felt the well-established lenders in the market had criteria that by default determined where they obtained business from.

“For example, if a lender has a minimum loan size of, say, £250,000, then they will do relatively small amounts of business in the North as this gears them towards bigger deals and more expensive securities. 

“At BFS, our minimum loan is £25,000 and upwards all the way past £1m. 

“This enables us to remain very close to the major auction houses, where lots of low-value properties are sold, and also to be close to thousands of investors who don’t want to start their journey with such large loans against higher-value assets. 

“Similarly, when we are presented with a larger project needing substantial funding, we can cater for that just as easily.”

John explained that in the North of England, there had always been a high density of affordable homes which offered auction buyers, property developers and investors a relatively inexpensive way of entering the market or increasing the size of their portfolios.

“At BFS, we have clients who approached us for funds to buy their very first house and are still coming back to us many properties later. 

“It is that potential that lenders see and want to tap in to, knowing that the deal sizes may not be as large as in the South, but there are more of them.”

Looking at whether other lenders would strengthen their northern teams or offerings, John added: “Given the really fluent state of the market, coupled with what appears to be sustainable growth, then it wouldn’t surprise me that more lenders attempted to derive more business from up here. 

“That said, this is an extremely demanding market with equally demanding and knowledgeable clients and it takes real skill to grow and maintain presence in the North and Midlands.”

However, John was sceptical about southern lenders partnering with northern providers to grow their presence.

“If a lender with a southern bias wanted exposure here, they would probably look to alter their criteria rather than enter a partnership with another lender, and vice versa. 

“What we have found over the 12 years we have been in the bridging and development market is that it is best to stick to what you know, both in terms of deal size and client profile, that way we can ensure that our customer delivery is always of the highest standard. 

“Constant tweaking and changing of criteria and credit appetite suggests to me a lender that doesn’t know what direction it wants to go in.”

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