Bridgingwatch – Rob Jupp – May 2012

In the few weeks since writing my last last column, a few more bridging lenders have entered the market and a few more distributors have sensed there may be a feeding frenzy going on, so have launched a proposition.

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It is staggering that some companies are only now seeing the benefits of short-term financing but it begs the question – would you want to buy a car from someone who has only just passed their driving test?

It’s no surprise that Precise Mortgages managing director Alan Cleary has shaken things up again by the announcement that the firm is working with a number of networks on an exclusive and semi-exclusive basis.

I think Precise has been brilliant for short-term lending and is always considered when we look to place a case, but like the wider market there needs to be choice. There are no other lending markets that have the depth of competition that short-term lending has.

I’m certain Cleary would endorse the principle of best value for clients that competition gives as I’m sure the networks he works with would also want to do.

We need to be careful not to vilify any lender that isn’t regulated. We work with plenty of lenders that only operate in the investment and commercial markets and do a fine job.

Are lenders like Omni Capital, West One Loans and Dragonfly Property Finance, for example, lesser lenders because they don’t do regulated contracts? Of course not.

That would be like saying that Paragon Mortgages and The Mortgage Works are lesser lenders because they only do buy-to-let mortgages.

Intelligent, efficient people who make sound lending decisions on a fair and appropriate basis run lenders like these.

It would be good if Robert Sinclair, director of the Association of Mortgage Intermediaries, could clarify his stance.

He recently commented that “I have said before that any regulated intermediary who places bridging loans with an unregulated lender should be careful. In my opinion, all open residential bridging should be treated as though it is a regulated product”.

I think he is right to say that brokers should treat unregulated bridging with the same standards as if regulated but I think he is way off the mark saying that brokers who place deals with unregulated lenders should be careful.

Meanwhile, it was nice to be able to join the staff and directors of United Trust Bank at a recent open evening. It showcased the areas it works in with a sporting twist at a wonderful base – its offices in New Zealand House on Haymarket in London.

UTB is a good, ethical lender that offers some cracking products and the support it enjoyed from the intermediary community on the night suggests it is popular as well.

Hot products

Omni Capital is offering good first and second charge large loans, particularly in central London.

Masthaven Bridging Finance has excellent products for self-build and development finance.

Bridgebank Capital and Tiuta have some appetite to take on quality assets that are below market value if secure exits can be offered.

Dragonfly Property Finance remains the king of two to three-year second charge loans over £100,000, with competitive rates and fees.

Deal makers

Tiuta
Completed a bridging loan on a property at £1.19m in central London. The deal was at 70% LTV.

United Trust Bank
Provided a bridging facility of £2m to a developer secured against his main residence in Mayfair.

Bridgebank Capital
Offered the full purchase price plus extra finance for a mixed-use purchase despite a last-minute valuation issue.

Precise Mortgages
Completed on a £220,000 loan for a property developer who needed additional funds to acquire a site at considerably under market value.