Editor's Comment: The Outside Track

Editor's Comment: The Outside Track



September is traditionally a month of change: children start at school, brokers return from their holidays and the bridging and commercial industries are in full swing. We’ve seen lenders seal a range of deals, Shawbrook introduce a range of revised products and a

strategic partner programme

, and the revelation from the NACFB that lending to SMEs has increased to £8.9 billion

It also marked the first whole month that I have spent in this niche world of short term finance. Whilst by no means a notable milestone in itself, it’s certainly true that I’ve seen any preconceptions I had about this particular sector disappear since being inducted into the Bridging & Commercial family back in August.


My only previous knowledge of bridging had been that it was used to cover any financial shortfall between the purchase of a house and the sale of another - hence the name (and the source of all-too-many headlines which exploit the obvious cliché). The intricacies and specialised uses of such capital was a bit lost on me as, I think it is safe to say, it is on the public at large.


Indeed, in our recent survey – carried out in conjunction with West One Loans – brokers told us that their biggest problem in bridging was its negative public perception. What appear to be high rates and obtuse uses ca

n disguise what I have come to see as, at heart, a flexible type of finance with a myriad of specific and fascinating uses.


Often, mainstream commentators and advisors miss the crucial point of bridging finance: an exit is always needed. Beyond that, the uses for these kinds of loans extend beyond filling in for money gained from a house sale, such as development finance, capital for new builds and, as I discovered earlier this month, mezzanine finance.


As our aim at B&C is foremost to educate, I feel that I’m in an interesting position. In familiarising myself with everything and everyone we cover, I have come across unexplored topics which we can cast more light on from a not-quite-financial perspective.


Such is the role, too, of the current AOBP Roadshow, which as I write this is touring the country educating brokers and intermediaries about the products and services offered by its lender members.


RESI 2012 also sought to inform attendees of the ins and outs of house-building and residential property, overseen by Today Programme regular Sarah Montague.


I should take this opportunity to say that the most useful and knowledgeable help I’ve had in slowly coming to terms with the wide, wide world bridging has come from those who I’ve had the pleasure of talking to or meet in person.  The bridging industry appears to be a close-knit and friendly community, with experienced professionals who are always eager to help. In learning more about its inner workings, I hope to meet and chat to more and more of you, and continue what has so far been a fantastically positive experience.


On that note, I have taken the reins of B&C’s LinkedIn and Twitter communication. I’ve already interacted with some of you but, if you’re an active tweeter or poster, do drop by with any questions, comments or mid-week jokes you might have to offer. We’re aiming to include social media increasingly in our articles and investigations, and it has already turned up some interesting stories and discussions.


All the best for the next month, and always keep us abreast of any developments or news! Let me know at [email protected], f

ollow our twitter at @BandCNews and jo

in our LinkedIn discussions here



Leave a comment