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Client Focus Q&A: Steve Barber

We met up with Steve Barber (pictured below), Managing Director of Bridging Finance Solutions, an independent finance house providing short term property finance solutions to individuals, investors, property developers, professional advisors and intermediaries for our latest client focus Q&A.

steve-barber

1. What is your business?

Bridging Finance Solutions is a premier independent finance house providing short term property finance solutions to individuals, investors, property developers, professional advisors and intermediaries.

All of our loans are secured on residential property for between 1 and 12 months, from £25,000 to £5m. We are fully regulated by the FCA and we are able to lend to individuals, partnerships and companies throughout England and Wales.

As principal lenders, we lend our own funds, which means we can offer our clients flexibility and a speed of service which we consider that you will rarely find elsewhere. We pride ourselves on fast, consistent decision making and are totally committed to transparency, clarity and the retention of the administration to a necessary minimum.

The company’s ethos is to provide the best possible service. Our success is based on our reputation for speed, flexibility and personal approach delivered with care and courtesy.

We specialise in Short Term Finance for Fast Property Purchase, Refurbishment Funding, Auction Finance, Immediate Capital Raising for all purposes whilst property is sold or refinanced and Development Finance. We often compliment the banks and long term funders to get deals done quickly, often within 7-10 days, whilst long term funding is arranged.

2. Which solicitors do you use at Bermans?

Our principal point of contact is Fergal O’Cleirigh and we have had our cases looked after by Guy Pattison, Andrew Palmer and Melanie Morris. Nicky Benson looks after our HR and we have also been advised on various corporate matters over recent years.

3. What are the biggest challenges you face in growing your business and maintaining profits?

The short term finance sector is very price sensitive sector and our principal drive is to deliver transparency of pricing to all clients which genuinely adds value to projects. Over 40% of our loans are to repeat clients which is testament to this, along with an increasing number of referrals from professional advisors.

4. Tell us about your typical working day?

We are very client focused organisation and by definition need to be ‘fleet of foot’ and react quickly to our client’s requirements so no individual day is typical. One thing that can be assured as typical, however, is that days are long, particularly when working to a deadline which requires co-ordination of several parties …

5. What has been a highlight for your business over the last 12 months?

The growth and development of an extremely professional, client focused and experienced team alongside considerable growth in the size of the business, which has seen turnover double for the past three consecutive years.

6. What are your plans for your business for the year ahead?

Bridging Finance continues to retain an out dated stigma of ‘lender of last resort’ and ‘expensive’. Much of our growth has been based around education of finance brokers and professional advisors who are increasingly seeing the use of bridging as a mainstream and commercially viable solution to clients requirements, often complimenting a long term funding solution. This education process continues to be central to our growth plans for the coming year and we have invested heavily in IT to ensure that we continue to offer the same personal service as the business continues to grow.

7. Is there a sector or industry that you are strong in or looking to develop opportunities?

Whilst we have funded refurbishment and conversion projects for many years, we launched a development finance product this year, specifically aimed at schemes less than £2m in the North West. These schemes often fall under the radar of large financial institutions who perhaps do not have a strong appetite for these smaller schemes, and that often need to be completed very quickly to secure the best available terms for the client. We believe that this product fits into a growth area in which we are seeing considerable demand and hope to develop on.

8. Do you find social media assists your business and if so, how?

We use social media to raise the awareness of our brand and keep clients and advisors up to date on products, case studies and networking events. I think it is difficult to measure the tangible benefits other than the adage of ‘out of sight…out of mind.’

9. If you were chancellor, what single change would you make to help improve the economy and/or your business?

I would stagger corporation tax rates to encourage the growth and development of the SME sector, by way of investment and growth incentives.

10. What are your passions away from business?

I have a 9 year old son whose social activities tend to keep me occupied as a taxi driver, but I am also a keen fell walker and runner and take part in a number of endurance challenge events….slowly. I am also a keen follower of all sports and we are a principle sponsor of Tranmere Rovers FC locally.

11. Do you have any business tips to share with our readers?

Leave enough money in a deal for the next person……

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