Commercial First eyes prime arena

Commercial First has taken a step towards the prime market with the launch of its near-prime commercial mortgage products, available exclusively through intermediaries.

The products will come under the sub-brand of Choice, and the company is for the first time focussing on delivering a product for the conforming business customer.

Stephen Johnson, sales and marketing director at Commercial First, says: “This move is the result of intermediary feedback. We have been asked to bring the Commercial First approach to the mainstream business mortgage market. This dramatically extends the scope of our market appeal.”

A sub-brand has been developed to launch the product which, under the Choice banner, will be exclusively distributed via intermediaries. Explaining the sub-brand, Johnson says: “This is a significant move and we wanted to invest heavily in developing an incremental range of products with its own identity. It delivers wider choice to the intermediary and the business customer but retains the values that have made Commercial First successful – simplicity and premium service.”

The product is priced in the range of 2% to 2.5% above LIBOR up to an LTV of 75% for advances of 1.5m and below. An LTV of 85% has also been made available within the criteria. To qualify a customer has to provide one year’s professionally prepared accounts and three months’ bank statements. The client is not required for an interview.

Commercial First has also taken the opportunity to improve its sub-prime range of products.

Johnson adds: “We’ve made some big improvements. The combination of 85% LTV, cheaper pricing, shorter early repayment charge periods and longer interest only periods is a sign of our intent.”