Hilco Real Estate Finance joins ASTL

Hilco Real Estate Finance joins ASTL

Hilco Real Estate Finance offers bespoke, flexible property finance solutions for real estate through short-term loans, acquisition as well as development and refinancing exits. 

Its loan sizes range from £1m to over £50m and it lends up to 75% loan to value (LTV). 

Earlier this year, HREF announced it provided £50m worth of loans over a four-month period. 

The ASTL now has 45 lender members and 44 associate members. 

Vic Jannels, CEO of the ASTL, said: “I’m delighted to welcome Hilco Real Estate Finance as the latest lender to join the ASTL. Our membership is now at the highest level it has ever been, which is a testament to the increasing importance and reputation of the bridging and development lending sector.

“At the ASTL, we continue to strive to raise the profile of our sector amongst customers, brokers and regulators – and every new member helps to increase our voice and our influence.” 

 

ASTL ‘members operate to the highest possible standards’

Adrian Hogan, director at Hilco Real Estate Finance, said: “As we continue to grow our presence in the short-term mortgage lending market here in the UK, it’s vital that we play an active role in the sector. Already, our flexible approach and ability to assess each borrower’s scenario on its individual merits is resulting in a strong pipeline of lends.

“With the ASTL having established a reputation as a body whose members operate to the highest possible standards, being accepted is a real stamp of approval. Membership requires a comprehensive audit to make certain that new members are committed to the organisation’s code of conduct, and we’re proud to count ourselves among its number.” 

He added: “As well as working to ensure the industry delivers the best outcomes for customers, membership also gives us another opportunity to work with peers as we join forces to promote the values of the ASTL and support high professional standards within the sector.” 

Results AM joins the ASTL as associate member

Results AM joins the ASTL as associate member

The company has been involved in the short-term property lending sector for nearly 20 years, and in the last decade, it has been appointed by different bridging lenders in the UK to review and monitor residential assets. 

Results AM provides reviews before lending, before or after valuation if a secondary check is required, and assesses the viability of houses in multiple occupation (HMO). It also oversees buy-to-let (BTL) inspections, as well as portfolio and desktop reviews. 

The company worked with small and large lenders across England and Wales. 

Its new membership of the ASTL brings the association to 44 associate members and 44 lender members. 

John Foster, senior asset manager at Results AM, said: “At Results AM, we provide a cost-effective monitoring service for bridging loans that involve works, offering an initial review of the project and proposed works and then a programme of monitoring visits for the build. This gives lenders a set of eyes and ears on the project to effectively manage it through to practical completion.

“In providing lenders with a robust approach to managing their lending, we reflect the values of the ASTL in helping to support strong and sustainable growth in the bridging sector, and we are delighted to join the association as an associate member.” 

Vic Jannels (pictured), CEO of the ASTL, added: “I’m really pleased to welcome Results AM as the latest organisation to become an associate member of the ASTL. The sustainable growth of the bridging mortgage market is only possible with the support of professional firms that enable lenders to carry out lending with certainty and confidence.

“This is just one of the reasons why associate members are so important to the ASTL and the continuing success of the sector.

“Our growing membership reflects the increasing significance of our industry and our collective commitment to delivering good customer outcomes,” he added. 

Streambank joins the ASTL

Streambank joins the ASTL

Streambank provides bridging loans, regulated and unregulated development finance and commercial mortgages to property investors. It also offers savings products. 

Vic Jannels (pictured), CEO of the ASTL, said: “I’m delighted to welcome Streambank as the latest lender to join the ASTL. Our growing membership demonstrates the increasing importance and reputation of the short-term property lending sector as a vital and integral part of the wider mortgage market.

“At the ASTL, we continue to strive to raise the profile of our sector amongst customers, brokers and regulators – and every new member helps to amplify our voice still further.” 

Richard Armstrong, chief commercial officer (CCO) at Streambank, added: “Streambank was founded to serve specialist property and savings customers with the best financial solutions, through the combination of experience, judgement and desire to find a solution. As a specialist in bridging and development finance, joining the ASTL was a natural progression for us.

“The association reflects our own commitment to transparency, service and good customer outcomes, and we look forward to working alongside other members in promoting the sector and these values.” 

The lender received its full banking licence last year and, last month, appointed Mike Kirsopp as CEO following the resignation of Steve Pateman. Pateman left the business at the end of last year. 

Magnet Capital becomes ASTL member

Magnet Capital becomes ASTL member

Magnet Capital, which last year added to its sales team, is a specialist development finance lender and lends up to 55 per cent gross development value (GDV).

Vic Jannels, CEO of the ASTL, said: “I’m very pleased to welcome Magnet Capital as the latest lender to join the ASTL. Development finance is an important element of short-term property lending as it’s the driving force behind SME developers, who play such a key role in delivering the additional housing we so desperately need as a nation.

“Having a diverse mix of lender members enables us to better represent the needs of all lenders in our sector, whatever their particular area of specialism.”

Sam Howard, co-chief executive officer and co-founder of Magnet Capital, said: “Magnet Capital’s experienced team of development finance experts is laser-focused on delivering on what we promise. Our dedication to working with customers aligns with the ASTL’s commitment to high standards and we are delighted to become members of the association”.

Ashley Ilsen, co-chief executive officer and co-founder of the lender, added: “At Magnet Capital, our focus is on consistently delivering the best outcomes for customers, and this aligns with one of the objectives of the ASTL.

“We pride ourselves on being transparent in all of our practices, and this is why we’ve developed such a strong brand in the development finance sector over recent years.”

Bridging loan books reach record £7.1bn against fall in completion and application values – ASTL

Bridging loan books reach record £7.1bn against fall in completion and application values – ASTL

Despite this, data collected by the Association of Short Term Lenders (ASTL) showed that the value of applications and completions declined over the three-month period. 

During the quarter, the value of bridging completions fell by 5.3 per cent to £1.3bn when compared to the previous quarter. Meanwhile the value of applications contracted by 5.9 per cent quarter-on-quarter to £9.2bn. 

Average loan to values (LTVs) also dropped from 59.3 per cent in Q1 to 57.8 per cent in the three months to June. 

Vic Jannels, CEO of the ASTL said: “The short-term lending sector continued to demonstrate its versatility and resilience in the second quarter of this year, during which period members combined loan books have exceeded £7bn for the first time. 

“Whilst applications and completions were slightly down on the previous quarter, they were both higher than the same period last year. Given that we are still faced with the vagaries of an uncertain economy, and faltering property market, this represents another very strong performance.” 

He added: “We cannot ignore the wider economic environment, which is putting greater pressure on exit strategies and so it’s important that lenders continue to take a robust approach to underwriting to help ensure the market continues to grow in a cautious and sustainable way.  

“In doing this, the market will be well placed to help even more customers to finance transitional periods in the future.” 

One Mortgage System joins the ASTL

One Mortgage System joins the ASTL

The customisable software was created by brokers and can be used by brokers, packagers, networks and lenders. It provides technology to reduce the need for rekeying client data. 

Last year, some 42,000 applications were processed through OMS at a value of £9.3bn. Around 12,000 users have started to use the system in the last four years. 

Neal Jannels (pictured), managing director of OMS, said: “2023 has already been a watershed year for OMS as we have steadily increased the number of brokers with whom we work and enhanced our proposition for lenders. We are working with a growing number of lenders, delivering their back-office systems and technology, and believe we can help forward-thinking short-term lenders to streamline their processes and manage their lending more effectively.  

“Market leading technology doesn’t just benefit lenders, but it also benefits customers and we share the ASTL’s commitment to delivering consistently excellent customer outcomes.” 

Vic Jannels, CEO of the ASTL, said: “I’m really pleased to welcome OMS Group as the latest professional organisation to become an associate member of the ASTL. Our growing membership not only reflects the increasing number of like-minded businesses that want to demonstrate a commitment to high standards, but it also amplifies our voice as an association and enables us to better represent the interests of our sector and our customers.” 

MJ Group joins the ASTL

MJ Group joins the ASTL

The company launched in 2006 and works with traditional international and national banks, challenger banks, bridging lenders, lending institutions, property funds, developers and financial organisations. 

Robert Cohen, managing director at MJ Group, said: “At MJ Group, we are proud of our reputation for high quality, informed and independent advice that has become a benchmark for best practice and industry standards. In the world of short-term mortgage lending, it’s the ASTL that sets the benchmark for lenders when it comes to high standards and customer focus.  

“The recent launch of the Certified Practitioner in Specialist Property Finance (CPSP) programme, as a joint initiative between the ASTL, FIBA, and the London Institute of Banking and Finance (LIBF) demonstrates the crucial role the association plays in continuing to drive new standards of professionalism. As an organisation that shares many of the ASTL’s values and ambition, we are delighted to become an associate member.” 

Vic Jannels (pictured), CEO of the ASTL, added: “I’m really pleased to welcome MJ Group as the latest professional organisation to become an associate member of the ASTL.   

“Short-term lending is a vital cog in the property industry, providing a funding solution for a wide variety of circumstances, and it’s important that we work closely with other associated businesses, such as valuers, to ensure we continue to deliver the best possible experience for customers. This is why associate members are so important to the ASTL, and our growing membership reflects the increasing number of like-minded businesses that want to demonstrate a commitment to high standards.” 

Bridging lending continues to grow with completions reaching £1.4bn in Q1 – ASTL

Bridging lending continues to grow with completions reaching £1.4bn in Q1 – ASTL

Data from the Association of Short Term Lenders (ASTL) revealed that bridging completions rose by 11.8 per cent compared to the previous quarter to pass £1.4bn. 

Completions were up by 36.3 per cent when compared to Q1 2022, and 20.4 per cent higher than the 12 months to March 2022. 

Applications also increased, with a total value of £9.8bn in Q1 which was 13.1 per cent higher than Q4 2022. It was a 52.1 per cent rise on the same period in 2022, but a slight drop of 0.9 per cent when compared to the 12 months to March last year. 

The value of loan books also increased, with a four per cent jump to £6.8bn, which was a new high for the sector. This was also up by 52.1 per cent when compared to both Q1 last year and the 12 months to March 2022. 

Vic Jannels (pictured), CEO of the ASTL, said: “The somewhat indifferent performance of the economy has not affected demand for short-term finance, which continues to demonstrate that it can provide a versatile source of funding during all economic cycles. Loan books have reached another record high of more than £6.8bn and applications have now shown an increase in each of the last five consecutive quarters.  

“Given the ongoing challenging economic environment, it’s important that lenders continue to take a robust approach to underwriting to help ensure the market continues to grow in a cautious and sustainable way so that it can help even more customers to finance transitional periods in the future.” 

ASTL, FIBA and LIBF-backed specialist property finance qualification now live

ASTL, FIBA and LIBF-backed specialist property finance qualification now live

The trade bodies have worked together on the qualification, announcing its launch at the ASTL conference in October last year and it opening for registrations in March.

The programme is online and covers bridging, short-term finance, development finance and specialist buy to let.

It offers a “definitive and targeted education programme for the short-term and specialist lending sector” and participants who complete modules are warded an LIBF digital badge and accredited for CPD purposes.

Registration for the course is available here.

Vic Jannels (pictured), CEO at the ASTL, said that the launch of the CPSP was the “culmination of a long and exciting journey and an excellent example of trade associations working together for the benefit of the industry and our customers”.

He added: “The close collaboration between the ASTL, the LIBF and Adam at FIBA has been instrumental in making the first qualification in our sector a reality.

“This is a major steppingstone in continuing to enhance standards, increase professionalism and advance the reputation of the specialist finance sector.”

 

Two years of work and collaboration

Adam Tyler, consultant to FIBA, added that the endeavour took two years of work and collaboration with many industry colleagues.
He said that the learning programme was something “we can all be proud of”.

“It has been a great pleasure to see so many already signing up to the CPSP and receiving the learning material we meticulously put together for the benefit of our industry,” Tyler added.

John Somerville, head of financial services, professional education at the LIBF, continued: “This is a major step forward in supporting the industry with professional standards and complements the need to embed the higher standards required from Consumer Duty.

“The programme has been designed with lenders and brokers in mind. Ultimately, it will help them improve outcomes for clients in an ever-complex lending world.”

Martin Reynolds, chairman at FIBA, agreed that it was a “fantastic step forward for the market”.

“The level of work that Adam Tyler, whilst executive chairman of FIBA, Vic, the ASTL Team and John and the team at LIBF have put in to create this is phenomenal.

“I know how passionate they all are about this and whilst Adam may have recently stepped down as executive chairman his continued drive and support of this will still be evident in the market. I look forward to seeing all parts of the industry embrace this and begin to enroll both themselves and their staff on to the course,” he noted.

 

Don’t be afraid of the big, bad bridging loan – Jannels

Don’t be afraid of the big, bad bridging loan – Jannels

But please don’t worry – I’m not having a crisis. I’m just proposing that we think differently about the way we approach the short-term mortgage sector. Within our industry, we can often get too caught up with labels and pigeonholing certain offerings or providers, when actually we should be considering the value of the solutions they are able to deliver.

 

‘Nobody wants a mortgage…’

It has been said, ‘nobody wants a mortgage, what they want is a home’, and a similar principle is true for bridging finance. Nobody walks into a broker’s office demanding a bridging loan, but it’s highly likely that you will encounter clients who have long-term objectives for which transitional finance is required to help them overcome a short-term hurdle.

In an uncertain economic environment like we have today, those short-term hurdles are even more prevalent. And this is precisely the type of solution that bridging finance can provide.

So, for example, the client may be refurbishing or converting a property, or perhaps they are using the time and money to address the lease extension required on a flat where the remaining lease term might otherwise be considered unmortgageable.

For homemovers, it could simply be the case that they are in a position where they need to complete on the dream home they want to purchase before the funds are released from the sale of their existing property. This is a trend that we are seeing in some volume at the moment as the lack of supply of new property onto the market means that vendors continue to be in a very strong position despite reports of more subdued sales activity.

Another trend, growing in prominence, is buyers who are using bridging to put themselves in this stronger position, when choosing to downsize from their current property. The wave of multiple interest rate rises in recent months have made servicing a mortgage more expensive for everyone taking out a new deal.

For those homeowners who may not have considered downsizing previously, remortgaging onto a higher rate, and much higher monthly payments, than they are used to can provide the stimulus to make them think about a move to a smaller property.

All of these circumstances are situations where ‘transitional’ short-term finance can play a key role in helping your clients to achieve their objectives and ultimately result in good customer outcomes as a result.

 

Building bridges

Nobody wants a bridging loan. What they want is a solution to help them achieve their goals, and bridging can, and does, provide an excellent tool to enable them to do this. The market has grown beyond recognition in terms of volume, influence and reputation over the years.

It’s highly competitive, customer focused and those lenders that are members of the ASTL commit to our strict Code of Conduct, which puts emphasis on high standards of transparency delivering the best outcomes for customers.

In helping clients to finance a period of transition, brokers can create new opportunities to provide a valuable service and open new doors for customers. So, don’t be blinded by labels – think about the solutions that would best serve your clients