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What’s done is done. Let’s face the future with confidence – ASTL

by: Benson Hersch, chief executive, Association of Short Term Lenders
  • 29/11/2016
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What’s done is done. Let’s face the future with confidence – ASTL
In 1996 at the Atlanta Olympics, the British team only garnered one gold medal, fifteen medals in total. In 2016, at Rio, not only was the tally 27 golds and 67 in total, but Team GB also made history by being the first national team to beat the medal tally in an Olympics after hosting home games.

What was the difference? Obviously, better organisation, better funding and better training played a part, but the main difference was in attitude. It was now “Team GB” and the mantra was “no fear”. Athletes now had belief that they would win.

I recently went to an event where Kevin Gaskell spoke. He is the former MD of Porsche, BMW and Lamborghini, and transformed the companies into global success stories,. He pointed out that, since 1970, despite a multitude of financial crises, global trade has grown from $1trn to a projected $33 trillion by the end of 2017. In other words, despite the background noises of disaster, ideas and innovation have triumphed.

One of the striking messages I picked up from his presentation was that, in turning around companies, brilliant results have been achieved by the same team of people who previously were mired in a culture of failure. What he did was to create self-belief, to make them dream and most of all, to make them participate in striving to make the dream a reality. As he put it “ordinary people can create extraordinary results”.

What’s that got to do with lending, and with bridging lending in particular? Well, I for one think that it’s very relevant. After all, money is a commodity – one lender’s funds are the same as another. The difference is not price: it’s service, it’s relationships and it’s going the extra mile. That’s not to deny that the road ahead may be rocky, but we need to look beyond the doom and gloom of Brexit, Trump’s victory and the parlous state of our country’s economic situation.

2016 was a good year for the alternative lending market and for the bridging industry which has played its part in providing funds not available from traditional sources. Let’s make 2017 and beyond even better.

Brexit is a challenge, but it’s also an opportunity – an opportunity to break free from the strait-jacket of ever-increasing regulation and to provide new and exciting ways of doing business. It’s time not to ask “why” but rather “why not?”

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