Lender promises flexibility outside the M25

Lender promises flexibility outside the M25


Although Heritage Asset Finance has its roots way back in 1960, the lender didn’t turn to bridging until much more recently. Run by a brother and sister team based in Yorkshire, the way Heritage conducts business is indicative of the flexibility which characterises a family-run lender. Miranda Atty sat down with one half of the team, Allison Robinson, to find out more...

Miranda Atty: Tell us a bit about Heritage’s history.

Allison Robinson: On September 1st 1960 our grandfather opened a small shop selling engineering and welding tools, in a time when the banks didn’t want to lend money.  After selling his car and borrowing money from family, he started Engineering and Welding Supplies Ltd. He didn’t have much to sell, but he did have the determination to succeed.   

By the time 1972 rolled around the company had rapidly grown with a number of umbrella companies under the family group. The family decided to launch our own finance provider to finance the group’s requirements, ranging from its fleet of vehicles to land.  In particular, with our help, Energas has grown to be the UK’s largest independent gas provider since its inception in the 1980s.

Over the last few years there has been an increasing outside demand for help to bridge and finance outside property companies. With this in mind the board, who are all family members, decided to rebrand and launch the finance company to service the commercial market. 

In February of this year, Heritage Asset Finance Ltd moved into its new premises and separated from the group, working as an independent finance provider. 

MA: How does the company work?

AR: We look at each individual proposal and assess it to see how we can create a bespoke package for the client’s needs. We do have a matrix but generally if we feel it ticks the right boxes we certainly will try to facilitate the right package for the client and ourselves. The beauty of working at a company that is family owned is that, where there are tight and frustrating criteria from other larger lenders, we can give a more flexible approach.

MA: Where do you lend?

AR: We predominantly lend to the Yorkshire area. This is not to say, however that we wouldn’t lend to other areas too.

MA: What’s your average loan like?

AR: Our typical loan would be LTV of up to 70 per cent. The loan would need to be secured by a first legal charge and can range from three to 24 months.

MA: What percentage of your business is bridging?

AR: I would say that three-quarters of our business is now bridging and development loans.  I believe that if it wasn’t for companies like us, the construction and development companies would be at a standstill.  As this is one of our primary industries, for them it is a great concern. There are many developers just sitting on developments who are desperate to move forward.

MA: How does Heritage work with intermediaries?

AR: We deal with a panel of intermediaries that we have approved and have a great working relationship with them. However, that is not to say that we are not looking for more brokers – at the moment we are in talks with other distributors.  As a company, we feel that customer service is one of our main priorities, so we always like to meet the brokers.  We understand that in order to fulfil any working relationship, integrity and an understanding of each other has to be of the highest priority.  

MA: What is it like working in such a family-oriented business?

AR: It is said that the next generation don’t always succeed in business as it comes too easy to them.  That has not been the case with us.  Everything we have done we have had to work for, whether on our own or under the family umbrella.

We both have a vast experience between us, and are said to be like husband and wife (slightly worrying I know). I think for both of us, trust is the key word.  It’s the passion to succeed for the man who started a dream over 50 years ago; although now in his 90s he is still a very active part in the business.

MA: Where do you see the company in the next five years?

AR: Our aim over the next five years is to develop customer loyalty, and to provide a service where others have let the industry down. We want to build relationships with our intermediaries. Currently, we are in the process of developing our product range in order to establish our name and reputation within the marketplace. We believe a company is only as good as its staff and succeeds on their efforts. 



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