Steve Barber

BFS reports 31% loan book growth and eyes BTL product

Bridging Finance Solutions (BFS) has revealed that its loan book grew by 31% in H1 2019, compared with the same period in the previous year.

The specialist lender is targeting an overall turnover growth of 25% for the year, adding to the 25% growth year-on-year it has achieved for the past four years.

Its largest increase in lending has been for sub-£1m, ground up development schemes in the North.

Up until the end of June this year, it had seen growth quadruple in this particular area, in terms of funds out the door, compared with last year, Steve Barber, managing director at BFS (pictured above), told Bridging & Commercial.

“And that is [for] people building houses to sell, through to self-build mortgages, where people are building them to live in.

“But the market, I think, is undeserved in the North for two reasons: [one] is that it takes as much work and due diligence to lend £10m as it does £1m.

“And, therefore, perhaps some of the bigger players are not geared up for the smaller-scale schemes.

“And secondly, obviously [out-of-the-ground] development is a far more complicated area than bridging...”

Steve said that the business had only become ready for development funding in mid-2018 through bolstering its underwriting team.

The lender recently took on Nicola Vaughan as an underwriter, while also hiring two new BDMs.

However, Steve added that it continues to do a lot of refurb, conversion and straightforward bridging.

“But I would say that the development side of things has been [where] we've seen the biggest growth out of any of the areas.”

BFS has also opened dialogue with a number of institutional funders to launch a BTL product.

This would be a bridge-to-term product with the company aiming to launch it by Q4 2019.

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