Editor's Comment: A golden summer

Editor's Comment: A golden summer


The Olympics are here and 2012 has certainly flown by. Michael Phelps is now the greatest Olympian of all time and GB is third in the Games’ medal table. Bradley Wiggins is surely a shoe-in to get a knighthood and maybe even Sports Personality of the Year. Place your bets now... 

As I write this, I can’t believe we’re in August; not only will the football season soon be kicking off, but I’ve been at B&C for a year now. It’s gone by quickly but the knowledge I’ve gained and the people I’ve met has certainly been memorable. I’d like to quickly thank all those who’ve taken the time to get in touch and support us. It is hugely appreciated and very much welcomed.

The last Editor’s Comment was back in mid-June, so I’ll put my industry hat on and reflect on as many developments as possible.

First, to trade bodies. The NACFB expo was a real success and I was impressed by the professional atmosphere and quality of broker attendees. NACFB’s HQ is moving to London, a website and lead generation system has been launched and a commercial broker qualification has been created for members. 

After months of speculation, Benson Hersch was announced as the astl CEO. Since then, he has been visiting the Association’s members. A new executive committee is being voted upon in the coming weeks and a full strategy formulated for the start of September.

The AOBP’s membership continues to grow; it has just announced that it will be hitting the road with a UK-wide broker Roadshow in September, to further educate and raise awareness amongst intermediaries about bridging and short term finance.

Numerous appointments have been made recently. George Patellis is back, Masthaven has hired Brian Levin and Mike Jones has joined ABC. Omni has highlighted its growing position in the market with a number of new hires. There are numerous others and more to come, not just from existing lenders but ones about to step into the industry arena. Our new Editorial Assistant, Laurence Havelock, is looking at this issue in greater detail.

According to reports, the number of firms using short term finance to repay HMRC is rising, with an estimated 30 per cent increase in the number of companies and HNW individuals relying on bridging loans to pay their tax returns.

The industry has more competitive interest rates, new products and higher LTVs. Competition for FSA-regulated business also looks like it is becoming more intense.

Thank you to all those who attended our inaugural B&C ‘Happy Hour’ – an informal networking and debating event – during which we discussed when a contract actually becomes binding and when a non-regulated contract becomes regulated.

Whilst it is hard to single any specific editorial contributions out, we were very thankful that Clive Whitfield-Jones wrote a series of articles on the complexities of CCA regulation and particular exempt agreements. Strettons, too, deserve a special mention for providing us with perceptive auction and receiver-angled pieces.

Specialist packager Centrado provided details about a unique £25 million 100 per cent GDV development product it would be packaging, whilst I had a recent, insightful, breakfast with Colin Bell to discuss the re-launch (planned for September/October) of Interbay Commercial.

Connect Overseas Pro has launched and I’m very grateful to Liz Syms and Geoff Simmonds for going through the foreign mortgage sourcing system with me at their offices.

Paul Aitken is confident that borro, which has been in the US for over six months, will be lending $1 million per month by the end of this year. Business for alternative lenders is booming. The Funding Circle, particularly, has a unique investor model; I’ll be making my first investment shortly to find out more... 

Last month, B&C in conjunction with Strettons Chartered Surveyors organised an Auction Finance Expo. It involved a number of bridging lenders exhibiting in a bid to highlight the close relationship between buying properties at auction and bridging finance.

It was very interesting to see that Experian and RightMove have catalogued the country’s 24 million properties on the National Property Database (NPD) this week. It uses a combination of estate agent information, surveyor data and Land Registry records to provide up-to-date property valuations and details of property type. Will short term lenders look to utilise this dataset to help speed up their application processes?

Traditionally a quiet month, lending is still picking up in August and there are a number of launches and announcements to come soon which we will be reporting on!

If you’d like to get in touch please contact me on [email protected] and follow us on Twitter @BandCNews.


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