All quiet on the western front

Adam Tyler, chief Executive, National Association of Commercial Finance Brokers

I was talking to the editor of another trade publication the other day, and he summed up the current market thus: “There’s a lot of quietness out there at the moment.”

I know what he means. There is almost a feeling of everyone holding their collective breath to see who the next big-profile victim of the slump is going to be.

Meanwhile the impending victim himself is telling no-one and keeping their “business as usual” hat very firmly in place until, without warning, they disappear from view. This is, unsurprisingly making everyone else rather jumpy.

The residential mortgage market has been working with the jitters for a while now, but it’s only recently hit the commercial finance side of things with any kind of impact.

The credit crunch has been compared to rising damp we know that it’s there, and we know it’s damaging – but from the commercial finance perspective it’s only recently started to come through the wallpaper.

But there is an upside. First of all, as an association, we are noticing that the sleeping giants are waking.

High street lenders who have always enjoyed dominant market share but have been relatively quiet on the marketing and PR front are starting to wave their “business as usual” hats with a renewed vigour. They are actively courting brokers, they have money to lend and are keen to do so. A second major plus, is that clients now need brokers if they want to borrow money for their businesses.

In some ways, although times are hard, they’ve never been better for commercial brokers. But you do need to know what you’re doing, and you also need to seize the moment. And a waterproof “business as usual” hat wouldn’t go amiss, either.