Industry should not be harking back to loan shark days

I’ve attended a fair few expos in my time and yesterday’s event by the National Association of Commercial Finance Brokers was definitely one of the best ones.

Rather than walking from stand to stand picking up freebies, everyone was really focused on the day’s events, on the speakers and on the content of their presentations. It was thought-provoking, intelligent stuff and there was an air of excitement.

I was particularly impressed by the presentations given by Stephen Johnson of Whiteway Laidlaw and Tony Hamlin of First Merchant Finance.

The consensus, without doubt, is that commercial finance has a lot to look forward to.

A lot of the companies there meant business and came not just with a plan but new deals to back it up. The expo was full of high quality brokers and other big-hitting figures in the industry having insightful conversations on its future direction. It’s great to see so much competition because if there’s one thing we like at Dragonfly, it’s a contest.

As usual, of course, yours truly was in the thick of it and created a bit of a stir. I questioned a claim made by Liz Locke, development director at Omni Capital, that bridging should be used to help get people a credit history so they would be in a better position to qualify for a mainstream loan.

Things were naturally blown out of proportion, but it’s true that I don’t think the industry should be harking back to the loan shark days and being a facilitator for people who basically don’t exist on paper in the UK.

In my mind, the industry should steer well clear of that area of the market. It’s not as if we need to go there. There is enough quality business to keep us all in clover and — more importantly — keep the industry’s reputation intact.

Oh, and obviously of all the giveaways and competitions on the day, our own competition to win a remote-control Dragonfly naturally attracted the most attention. I am pleased to announce that the winner of yesterday’s lucky draw was Laurence Foux of Business Finance 1st.