Group seeks government backing to set up lender

A group of former 5D Finance employees is planning to launch a government-backed lender to kick-start the housing market.

Nick Sneddon, John Butt, Janis Wilderspin and Damien Druce have written to Prime Minister Gordon Brown to pitch the idea, which could result in the launch of a commercial and residential lender called Blueprint Lending.

Sneddon used to be head of sales at 5D, Butt was head of credit, Wilderspin was head of legals and Druce used to be BDM at the lender.

Sneddon says: “Having satisfied ourselves that the proposal is att-ractive, viable and sustainable we took the audacious step of writing directly to the government requesting an audience with the PM to discuss our proposal in greater detail.”

By a stroke of luck, on the day the group rang the Treasury to pitch the concept London was hit by the worst weather for more than two decades and the call to Alistair Darling’s office resulted in Sneddon speaking to the chancellor himself.

Sneddon adds: “While we have yet to receive a full response from the government we can confirm that a conversation has taken place between us, Darling and one of his advisers.”

Government support will be central to the success of Blueprint. The group hope the lender will be funded by the government but run as an independent entity.

There are benefits for the government in backing a new lender. There would be no danger of toxic waste or any of the other risks to tax-payers that arise when bailing out or providing funding to existing lenders.

As well as creating jobs the lender would be able to extend finance to firms in need of loans to keep going, thus preserving jobs.

Sneddon adds that the lending model the group has designed is transparent, with the principles of Treating Customers Fairly at its core.

He says: “The products we have designed are flexible, sensible and transparent. They represent responsible lending and adhere to TCF requirements, similar to CAT standard offerings.

“Each new loan would be graded both initially and on an ongoing basis to reflect changes in quality, resulting in a constant barometer of the overall loan pool.”

He adds: “We believe the new lender could be fully operational within two months of being given the green light by the government.”

Conservative MP Sir Nicholas Winterton has already pledged his support for the lender and promised to ensure that all correspondence from Blueprint is raised with the government.