Bridging lender: It's time to open the doors wider

Bridging lender: It's time to open the doors wider


Following last week’s announcement from short term lender Cheval that they were increasing their maximum LTV back up to 70%, Chief Executive Officer Alan Margolis explained the reasoning behind the move to Bridging & Commercial. 

Mr Margolis is not hesitant in admitting that market conditions have been tough over the last year. “No question about it, it’s been a terrible time,” he says. “It has been quiet over the last few months; we were rightly cautious when property prices jumped off a cliff. We’re an asset backed lender and when your asset is declining quite steeply month after month, it’s not a safe place to be throwing money around.” 


So what has changed now? “While property prices certainly haven’t stabilised everywhere, the rate of decrease seems to have stabilised.” Mr Margolis confirms. “Also, the property market is not homogenous across the country and it drives me crazy when people talk about it like it is. At Cheval we see the headlines about property values decreasing, but we take a much more sophisticated view: we look at every single property on an individual basis and ask more searching questions of our borrowers.”


Turning to the subject of brokers diversifying into short term finance, Mr Margolis concedes that more must be done to combat the “frustrating” lack of understanding amongst some brokers about how bridging loans can benefit them and their clients.


“We know that for most brokers, bridging finance is not an everyday requirement for their clients but to ignore it is ridiculous. In certain circumstances, bridging can benefit borrowers by allowing them to achieve objectives, such as buying a property, that would otherwise be beyond them. If brokers don’t know the product exists, or don’t know much about it, they’re going to lose an income opportunity and also the opportunity to assist a client – how can that be good? How can that lack of knowledge be good?”


Although the lender remains cautious, Mr Margolis believes that raising their maximum LTV sends a positive sign to the sector, “it’s a sign of our continued confidence in the future of short term finance,” he concludes.


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