One to One: Former West One Loans founder Mark Abrahams

Abrahams_Mark

Teaming with Mint Bridging to form a new arm with a sensible approach to lending and a strong belief in the ‘Northern Powerhouse’ – and wanting a better beard

What are your hopes for Mint’s new lending arm?

Our aim is to provide liquidity for borrowers who have short-term funding needs for either property or non-property related businesses at a competitive rate and within a short timeframe. We are offering a platform for investors where we aim to provide solid short-term lending opportunities on a loan-by-loan basis. Loans will be secured against residential and/or commercial property with trusted partners who are exceptionally adept at procurement and management of bridging loans.

The ultimate goal is to have investors funding sensible borrowers and using their liquidity as a cash management tool to continue the drive towards maximum disintermediation between mainstream banks and borrowers.

Mint Bridging has a great underwriting team led by Richard Showman, who has been in bridging for many years, and every deal is scrutinised in the same way by him and his team. With in-house legals and fantastic support from finance and credit departments, Mint has shown it reacts to the market and can provide great service into the future.

What attracted you to involvement in setting up MBS?

The attraction was Mint Bridging’s professional set-up, maturity and sensible approach to lending. The first meeting with Paul Wertheim and Andrew Lazare illustrated how aligned our thought processes were. This mix of professionalism, experience and determination was a perfect next move for me.

MBS does not have to lend recklessly simply to build up a loan book. Our mission statement is ‘Better a bad day than a bad loan’.

That said, we want to lend across the country with a slightly less London-centric focus. We are big subscribers to the ‘Northern Powerhouse’ edict and this is where we believe true value in today’s market will be found. The operation is thinking ahead and planning for growth, with some great new recruits to be announced and a new loan processing system arriving shortly. The way Mint works impressed me on day one.

What is next for you?

MBS is my mission, if you like, over the next two or three years. But I am an adviser and consultant to a number of other companies on the property and property finance side. I am going to continue with those.

I am not a qualified IFA and I do not pretend to be, although, perhaps because of my 20-year career in investment banking, managing my own portfolio for a number of years, and having set up West One Loans, a lot of people want to know what is the best opportunity to diversify.

I see bridging, especially with a northern company, as a good way of diversifying. I think, if there is going to be a fallback in the property market, which we have already seen at the high end, it will be spread across the country but the Midlands and northern England will be less affected because they were less affected by the rise on the way up.

If you were not in your current role, what would you like to be doing?

Private equity investment, cultivating my beard and spending more quality time with my family.

What is the best advice you have received?

‘No one ever went bust from taking a profit’ – quoted by my father. This is the core reason why I sold out of West One Loans.

As a child, what was your dream job?

To run a private equity house investing in the infrastructure and fabric of the UK.

Do you have any secret talents?

I am a core member of the WAGOS (We’ve All Got Our Stories) golf society. I am also known as ‘the Robert Huth’ (Leicester City) of my veterans 11-a-side Sunday league football team. Ibelieve myself to be a rock at the back.

Who is your all-time hero, and why?

My wife. She manages me and our three daughters and is a brilliant teacher and role model. We mark our 25th anniversary next year.

Which three people would you most like to invite to a dinner party?

Jeremy Corbyn, Donald Trump and Benjamin Netanyahu. They hold widely differing views. I would love to hear the three of them together.

COMPANY PROFILE

Year established: 2011
Headcount: 18
Address: Mint Bridging, Peel House
30 The Downs, Altrincham
Cheshire WA14 2PX
Tel: 0844 415 6500
Web: www.mintbridging.co.uk

HISTORY
Mint Bridging is a family-run, privately funded business in the UK offering short-term bridging and re-bridging loans. Specialising in residential and commercial properties since 2011, the management team has more than 50 years of property lending and banking experience.