Banks need to adopt commercial stance

JASON WERTH, MANAGING DIRECTOR, SELLMYCOMMERCIALPROPERTY.CO.UK
JASON WERTH, MANAGING DIRECTOR, SELLMYCOMMERCIALPROPERTY.CO.UK

In the same way that Sir Philip Green reviewed how the government procures goods and services and highlighted the time and money that is wasted, an urgent study is needed into improving the efficiency of banks in relation to the way they oversee distressed property loans.

Over the past six months, we have had a constant flow of calls from business and property owners struggling to survive and in need of capital.

A large percentage of callers are commercial property owners who have seen their assets fall in value by as much as 50% since 2008.

Many are now in negative equity and face repossession. To avoid this, they must repay, reduce or refinance their loans that at times is not possible in the climate.

The only other option is to sell, which is when they contact us.

But some investors are aware that if they sell and achieve prices below their outstanding debts, they will be responsible for the shortfall. Often it is not possible for these people to find equity and they have no choice other than to face repossession orders.

Although banks are within their rights to demand that loans are repaid, I see no logic in them preventing a sale on the grounds that the market value is below the debt, only to then repossess and sell the property at the same price that the owner could have sold it for.

In a falling market, where banks are looking to rebuild their balance sheets and pull in capital, they must look at ways of becoming more efficient and commercial.