Although the recession has been officially over since the end of January, if you’re a commercial finance broker there hasn’t been much evidence of it.
In Q1 this year our members were still reporting that business was significantly down and cases were difficult to place.
But despite the hiatus caused by the muddled general election result there has been an increasing sense of optimism among lenders in the commercial sector, even if this hasn’t yet filtered through to brokers.
I’m delighted that Paragon is looking to return to the buy-to-let market and other lenders are showing an increased appetite too.
This has yet to translate into more broker business but optimism is still in its early days.
Of course the spectre of a double dip recession still surfaces from time to time and it would be irresponsible to say everything in the garden is rosy.
So with the coalition government in place, three things are needed for optimism to solidify into genuine recovery.
First, banks need to sort out their processes. Cutbacks in staff have meant that there is a distinct lack of joined-up thinking.
Second, brokers were not the source of all lenders’ woes – lax underwriting also played its part. And for the record, box-ticking risk procedures do not become more effective by adding more boxes.
Finally, England needs to make it to the final of the World Cup. OK, it might not be essential for recovery but if it’s a feel-good factor we need it can’t be beaten.