Martin's Mailbox: Full steam ahead

Martin's Mailbox: Full steam ahead



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This must be the busiest start to a new business year for some while. I know I'm not alone in thinking this - many of my peers and contacts have remarked on their bustling first fortnight of 2013....

This must be the busiest start to a new business year for some while. I know I'm not alone in thinking this - many of my peers and contacts have remarked on their bustling first fortnight of 2013 - but there's a real sense of serious purposefulness in the air.
 
I can understand why, bridging is coming of age. We know there's more to be done to eradicate some of the less savoury aspects; and we're perhaps not as sophisticated as we could be in how we operate collectively. But short term lending is in a very different place from even just five or six years ago.
 
Many of the influential people now running the sector's new-generation players - its lenders, brokers and distributors - were at the forefront of the mortgage revolution that began in the mid-1990s and ran uninterrupted until 2007. They were the innovators and drivers of change that enfranchised a whole part of the population previously denied access to home-buying finance.
 
The fact the revolution ended so abruptly was not as a direct consequence of what we in Great Britain did to change the face of mortgage lending. It was, as history will record, a result of another revolution across the Atlantic that encouraged and condoned dire abuses in product design, selling practices and market manipulation.
 
Ancient history? Maybe, but it left a large number of talented people this side of the Pond without work and feeling something worthwhile had been halted too soon, too peremptorily.
 
Many of those same people are now leading the change in bridging. The huge store of kinetic energy locked up since Northern Rock and Lehman's went west has found a new outlet and is bursting to be put to good use. If 2012 was good for bridging, 2013 promises more of the same.
 
A glance at the events calendar for the year ahead confirms what I'm saying. I don't think there's a single month when the industry doesn't have an opportunity to showcase itself, whether through awards celebrations or more serious conference and expo gatherings. Add in the considerable number of roadshow and seminar-type events to be hosted by lenders, packagers and trade bodies, and the calendar really does start to fill up.
 
Personally, I find this thrilling. I know it can sometimes be a bit of a chore (and bore) to drive from one end of the country to the other on a wet Monday morning in February to deliver yet another sales pitch; or to dig out the dinner jacket for one more self-congratulatory awards event in a cavernous London hotel. But would I rather a flatlining sector incapable of expressing its success and burgeoning confidence? No, I would not. So February do your worst, and more power to all you organisers of events and glittering occasions.

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