Martin's Mailbox: Making an exhibition of ourselves

Martin's Mailbox: Making an exhibition of ourselves


To a large extent, my week just past was dominated by the NACFB Expo. We had planned to organise a bit of corporate hospitality at Henley Royal Regatta (an event that always worked well for brokers and press back in my days at GE Money and Money Partners) but the available dates clashed with Adam Tyler’s showcase event. 


So foregoing stripy blazers and Pimm’s for strip lighting and cafeteria coffee, I duly headed up the M40/M42 to Birmingham on Tuesday with legend-in-his-own-lunchtime Jim Nash, Omni Capital Sales Manager. 


Once I’d got over the shock of Jim’s casual attire (think: Quadrophenia meets Robinson Crusoe…) we managed to erect our stand back-drop and pop-ups without major incident or comment from Elf ‘n’Safety. Shawbrook Bank’s sponsored drinks reception that evening was a good start to the event with a plentiful supply of booze and faces, old and new.


A little disappointed by the lack of nosh, Jim and I teamed up with a couple of the guys and girls from borro and Bridging & Commercial to stave off imminent starvation by heading into downtown Brum for traditional English food – a curry. What we discovered turned out to be our first collective experience of curry ‘nouvelle cuisine’ style.


Paul Brett – short term lending’s very own Galloping Gourmet – approved mightily, but I could see Mo ‘Big Boy’ Mulki was gutted.


Wednesday duly dawned and it was off to business at the NEC. Our stand was in a great location, bang opposite the main entrance doors and ready to welcome any curious brokers.


The Omni stand team – comprising myself, Jim and Head of Underwriting, Ed McAra – posed in best business-like fashion (Jim had by now corrected his sartorial car-crash of the day before) and took about spreading the word on bridging. Our CEO, Colin Sanders, arrived in the afternoon and remarked favourably on the professional atmosphere and quality of broker attendees.


With steady footfall on the stand, we had plentiful opportunity to discuss specifics with a wide range of clearly engaged intermediaries, many of whom had travelled great distances to be in Birmingham. Some observed there were fewer bridging lenders present than in 2011. If so, I cannot say I particularly noticed as most of the big names were visible and active.


We kept things simple on the day, eschewing fancy gimmicks for straight-forward facts, figures and information about our lending proposition. It appeared to go down well as evidenced by an impressive collection of business cards, and the promise of follow-up conversations and meetings. 


We ended the day well satisfied, albeit tired and footsore (what is it about expos that so effectively drain all the energy from you?). As a networking opportunity and broker-contact event, the NACFB had managed once again to lay on a great show. I know we’re not alone in believing it’s one of the must-attend gigs of the business year. 


Looking ahead, we’re already preparing for the NACFB AGM, networking lunch and Gala Dinner in November. I hope to see you then.

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