Our sales director, Richard Deacon, told this very publication last week that simply not enough brokers are aware of the potential of bridging finance, estimating that only between 10–20% of brokers or independent financial advisers are aware of it and what it can be used for.
All this comes at a time when the UK’s bridging market is going from strength to strength.
The latest figures from the Association of Short Term Lenders show that its members wrote more than £4bn of bridging loans last year — an impressive figure, even more so when you consider that’s an increase of nearly 15% on 2017 volumes.
If you, as a broker, have a perception that short-term finance is niche and undeveloped, it really is time to think again.
In these uncertain times — as we await Brexit with apprehension, unsure as to what it will all really mean — bridging finance is emerging as a real solution to people’s real financial needs.
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Bridging finance can help ensure a property chain completes. It can help a homeowner secure the home of their dreams. It can support businesses in raising much-needed capital. And, built into it all, is speed and flexibility, with strong underwriting as a foundation.
We recently undertook some broker research to find out the challenges and opportunities facing intermediaries in the specialist lending sector. The result — Broker Beat — specifically identifies short-term finance as one of the top three growth areas for the months to come.
What’s emerging is the sense that what’s often been tagged as ‘specialist finance’ is, in fact, ‘perfectly mainstream’ and, when the case fits, suitable for a wide range of borrowers with a wide range of needs.
This year, then, we’ll be doing our best to ensure bridging finance is well communicated to intermediaries not yet familiar with it — through articles like this, events, networking, roundtables and more.
If I could offer any advice for 2019, it would be to strongly consider making bridging finance part of your product suite. In the right circumstances, it is a versatile and useful borrowing avenue for lots of people.