Industry needs those who want change, says Dragonfly

Industry needs those who want change, says Dragonfly



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Business in the industry is once again in full gear and alternative finance has truly come of age. However, Jonathan Samuels, CEO of Dragonfly Property Finance, also warns that.

Business in the industry is once again in full gear and alternative finance has truly come of age. However, Jonathan Samuels, CEO of Dragonfly Property Finance, also warns that it is now time to change…

It says a lot about how far the market has come recently because, as we look back on 2012, at the top of our wish list for 2013 is “more of the same, please”.

Alternative finance has truly come of age, and the bridging sector in particular has gone from strength-to-strength.

The industry still lacks a definitive index of exactly how much it is growing by, but a series of strong datasets from both lenders and packagers suggest that loan volumes rose considerably last year.

After a slow start, the impact of the Bank of England’s Funding for Lending Scheme is finally being felt – and is now giving the market as a whole a boost.

For months after the Scheme’s introduction last August, high street lenders were accused of using its cheap money to repair their loan books, while doing precious little to encourage more borrowing.

Of course their reluctance to ease their often prohibitive lending criteria gave a huge shot in the arm to alternative finance providers, and that trend continues.

But even as the Scheme finds traction, there is a continued dividend for alternative lenders. We’re seeing clients come to us now for second charge and bridging loans who simply wouldn’t be in the game if the mainstream lenders had not begun to play ball.

The Scheme’s impact on homebuyers is more obviously quantifiable. Last week data from the Council of Mortgage Lenders showed that mortgage lending picked up strongly in November, with first-time buyer loans surging to their highest level in nearly three years.

The mainstream lenders’ belated injection of extra life and genuine competition into the market is something that we in the bridging sector should both welcome and relish.

Ours is a sector that has now truly come of age, and my other big hope for 2013 is that its players will start acting their age too.

It needs lenders and brokers who are in it for the long term, committed to changing the industry from what it used to be to what they want it to be: Transparent, trustworthy and focused on the end borrower, not their own financial gain.

So while I want our business to continue to grow throughout 2013 at the same barnstorming rate it has in January, I also want this to be the year that our industry matures and reaches its full potential. Our gym attendance may already be on the wane, so let’s make that our New Year’s Resolution instead.

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