The National Association of Commercial Finance Brokers (NACFB) has issued a warning to brokers that even in hard times, the client and the ethos of ‘Treating the Customer Fairly’ must come above all other considerations.
Chief executive, Adam Tyler said: “The broker sector is facing one of the biggest challenges of its existence. The combination of horrendous economic conditions and the resurgence of advanced fee fraud mean that it’s more important than ever to keep standards high. Although times are tough, brokers must not be lulled by offers of high commission – the customer is paramount.”
He continued: “We recognise how difficult the last 18 months have been for many of our members. We have worked hard to make sure the profile and reputation of the Association and its members has grown; to the extent that we are now being approached by lenders looking to use our members exclusively as a route to market.”
The association says its aim is to ensure that there are greater opportunities for its brokers to access exclusive funding lines alongside a greater range of opportunities to earn extra income, without losing sight of the aims of TCF.
According to the NACFB, the broker market has changed considerably over the last two years, with many lenders having left the market – some with no notice leaving brokers’ clients high and dry – whilst others have closed their doors to brokers business or tightened their criteria.
As fraud levels shoot up and unscrupulous individuals target desperate SMEs, many brokers from outside the sector who saw commercial finance as an easy opportunity when the residential mortgage market dried up, have been forced to move out again.
Mr Tyler added: “The pure commercial finance broker - and the NACFB represents over 90% of these - can now really come into their own. The absence of easy credit means that struggling SMEs need expert advice, now more than ever, and whilst these are still desperate times for the small businessman, we must not lose sight of ‘Treating the Customer Fairly’.
“Whilst many of our members are not FSA registered it is still imperative that our members are encouraged to follow this ethos. They need not only to find credit for their customers but to ensure that they are getting the best deal they can for them. So whether they are considering margins, arrangement fees or even exit costs, our members will be looking to provide the best deal possible.”