60 seconds with… Joe Breeden, managing director, Crystal Specialist Finance


You recently rebranded. Why?

We have experienced fantastic growth over the past five years. In 2014 we issued terms on nearly £675m-worth of business, and complementing this we have increased the value of applications and doubled the number of completions. We also extended our offering to include some new specialist areas, but in the market our old name still solely represented our core commercial mortgage and bridging finance areas. The change to Crystal Specialist Finance is a strategic decision to reflect our specialist nature, and within that we differentiate our core offering into five divisions: mortgages, bridging, commercial, development funding and second charge loans. The new name gives us flexibility to build on our proposition, in both marketing and potential new areas. We are excited at the endless possibilities it offers. 

What does the future hold for the packager market?

Given the ever-changing regulatory landscape and the well-documented strife of the traditional high-street lenders in supporting SMEs, increasing levels of applications will make packagers a viable go-to resource for brokers and advisers. The future is bright for packagers that embrace regulation and compliance and offer an outlet for specialist broker support.

What are Crystal’s plans for the coming 12 months?

In line with our #BackingBrokers mission statement, we have some initiatives coming out to support our introducers; I am very excited. We are also finalising our office move, because the strategic business plan involves growing the team from 20 to 40 people.

Who is your all-time hero?

Growing up, it was Paul McGrath, the 1980s Aston Villa and Manchester United central defender, but more recently I have become a little obsessed with Brian Clough and his ‘cute’ management style. 

If you could jet away anywhere, where would you go?

Disney World.

What was the last book you read?

Provided You Don’t Kiss Me – 20 Years With Brian Clough. He was an amazing managerial talent. 

What is the best piece of advice you have ever received?

In a former life, the senior partner at the firm I worked for said to me “Don’t say no, say how,” after a trying customer meeting. It resonated and I am still using it.