Lenders explain... what's in a name?

Lenders explain... what's in a name?


 A starting point for a new lender on the scene has to be a name, which will define their company for some years to come. The origins of the most high-profile bridging lender names are largely unknown, and after being met with numerous puzzled faces and ‘let me get back to you’, B&C thought we’d bring a little colour and personality to some of the lenders out there, with an explanation of the story behind their names, from the slightly obscure to the downright meaningless, for the benefit of all our broker readers... and it would appear some lender employees too!

So lenders, what’s the story?

Tiuta Plc provides a clear definition of its name on its website, clarifying the somewhat ambiguous title. The lender takes its name from the Kata Tiuta National Park in Australia, a world heritage site and natural wonder of the world, which encompasses both Uluru (formerly Ayer’s rock) and Kata Tjuta. The team at Tiuta believe the name is “dependable, strong, solid and above all world class”, and, since announcing its new £30 million tranche in December, it appears the company may be living up to its associations.

With a name originating much closer to home, Jonathan Caplan, Principal at Manchester-based lender Lowry Capital, explained their story. He said: “We formed the company in Salford, just near L.S. Lowry’s birth place.”

L.S. Lowry is widely considered a treasure of the North, a self-taught artist with a gallery in Salford, Manchester, permanently dedicated to his work. Similarly, Lowry Capital is a self-run family funded business which is one of the most well respected bridging lenders in the North.

Supporting the idea that a name is more than just a title, in April last year Drawbridge Finance rebranded to what we know today as bridging pillar, Dragonfly Property Finance. A unique and somewhat paradoxical symbol, the Dragonfly is now etched firmly in the mind of the bridging community.

Commenting at the time of the name change, Jonathan Samuels, CEO of Dragonfly Property Finance told B&C: "The dragonfly is a perfect representation of how we work as a business. We are agile, flexible in the way we assess applications, quick to react and very transparent in the way we operate.

“Also, we're always striving to do things differently and to stand out from the crowd. We felt the dragonfly embodied all of these qualities and has a certain uniqueness about it."

Back in October last year, what was then Whiteaway Laidlaw Bank also rebranded to become Shawbrook Bank, a lender which is fast- becoming one of the leading short to mid-term lenders in the industry. The bank in its current form continually receives great praise from its peers, with a great reputation amongst brokers and lenders alike – maybe their success was all in the name?

Stephen Johnson, New Business Director at Shawbrook Bank, told B&C: “We chose the name ‘Shawbrook’ because it reflects what we stand for as a business. We are striving to offer straightforward, reliable service to brokers and customers.

“We are safe and stable and we value the best bits of traditional banking. We want to be known for a no-nonsense, common-sense bank that supports everyone it works with – brokers, individuals and businesses.”

Another lender B&C spoke to for clarification about the origins of the company’s name was Regentsmead. According to the CEO, James Bloom, the Group was originally called Earlsmead during the 1930s. When there was a group re-organisation during 1990, the lender wanted to come up with “…something that sounded like Earlsmead and was a bit catchy.

“After a staff vote, Regentsmead was the best we could come up with!”

We get it, Earls/Regent – very creative! True to form, after a flurry of awards and the announcement of top bridging deals, the lender has established that innovation is well and truly their forte.

…and the others?

Poised for further insider anecdotes from other well-respected lenders with seemingly ambiguous names, B&C found that for every interesting story behind their names, there are equally mundane ones. That’s if the lenders know at all...

Long-standing industry leader Masthaven Bridging Finance was set up in 1983 and is one of the more experienced lenders, with a vibrant team full of personality. With new product launches and a solid funding line, the lender prides itself on the ability to deliver. But what does Masthaven actually mean?

With much anticipation, B&C contacted Richard Deacon, Sales and Marketing Director at Masthaven to find out why. He said: “It was a good name” – a rather less sparkling story than the company’s reputation would have us believe!

Similarly the name Cheval, another key lender in the short term market which has undeniable strengths in its flexible approach to bridging, presented a similar question mark. Our initial thoughts here at the B&C camp led us to assume the name denoted a horse – Cheval being the French equivalent.  

However, Gavin Diamond, Finance Director at Cheval explained: “Our first office in Knightsbridge, London, was in a building called Cheval Place, so the name stayed.”

And so, it is fair to say that in keeping this name, Cheval have to date kept firm hold of their roots, staying true to their primary product – bridging finance – offering a sound service and professional expertise.

B&C also wanted to find out a little more about how Montello Bridging Finance found their name. With a booming business and one the most high-profile funds in the bridging market, we thought there must be more behind the naming of the soon to be regulated lender, as a solid and reliable funder. But, upon clarification, Managing Director, Christian Faes told us that the name was selected precisely because it didn’t mean anything and brought with it very little pre-existing connotations. He said: “We gave the word its meaning.”

Anecdotal or not, all the lenders we spoke to have collectively established strong brand names. Brokers – we’d love to hear your thoughts and observations about the inherently quirky bridging industry!


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    Phil Rivers

    Tiuta? A national park. Of course.

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    Isn't Montello a small town in the US in Wisconsin?

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