New sharia-compliant bridging lender launches

Sharia-compliant bridging lender Offa has launched today (4th September).

The lender will operate in accordance with universally recognised Islamic and ethical financing principles and will initially provide both residential and commercial bridging facilities with a maximum finance to value (FTV) of 75% and 65%, respectively.

It is headed up by Tarek Kallel, head of business development; Haris Akhtar, head of investments; and Bilal Ahmed, head of operations.

The Birmingham and London-based lender is backed by a £20m funding line — which has been provided by a sharia-compliant UK financial services institution — and is in advanced talks with another Islamic finance institution for an additional £100m of funds.

Facilities are available from £100,000-£10m at a rate equivalent to 1% per month (if the product were a loan), with a maximum term of 12 months.

Procuration fees of up to 2% are available to introducers, and funding can be provided to UK residents, in addition to expats and international clients based overseas.

Tarek mentioned that while it would be accepting applications direct, the broker channel would be “integral” to its proposition.

“There are a lot of investors in the UK market who will relish the chance to take out short-term finance that is consistent with Islamic principles, and brokers who can accommodate them will benefit from a strong new revenue channel with considerable long-term potential.”

Offa will also lend to individuals, sole traders, partnerships, limited companies and LLPs, as well as on and offshore SPVs.

Bilal added: “Sharia-compliant finance is now an established and trusted part of the mainstream UK financial services landscape, used by Muslims and non-Muslims alike. 

“With Offa, we’ve set out to extend its reach into bridging and other specialist forms of lending, which are as yet untapped but experiencing significant demand as property investors seek alternatives to the high street.”

In the near future, the lender will also launch a refurbishment, stretched development, planning and shared risk ethical finance facility (a Sharia-compliant equivalent of a joint venture).

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