Crystal Specialist Finance has hired Harriet Smith as head of bridging finance from Masthaven Bank.
Smith (pictured) is Crystal’s first ever head of bridging, as previously David Parke oversaw two sectors as commercial and bridging director.
She will be responsible for growth targets and will take a key role in the distributor’s education programme of brokers through meetings, seminars and webinars.
Jo Breeden, managing director of Crystal Specialist Finance, said: “After seeing an influx of demand for bridging in Q4 for refurb-to-let and bridge-to-let we realised we need to invest to facilitate our customer needs.
“The purchase market is slow but we’re seeing a lot of property enhancement.
“Smith has a strong understanding of the refurb market – and property enhancements will be a big part of this year.
“An appointment of this magnitude reaffirms our commitment to brokers regarding our bridging proposition, we will make great strides forward in this sector under her lead.”
Crystal first worked with Smith when she was business development manager of bridging and asset finance lender, Borro (now Borro Private Finance) between 2015 and 2017.
Smith was then business development manager at Masthaven from April 2017, working across bridging, development and mortgages.
Crystal is based in Tamworth, near Birmingham – and Smith is native to the West Midlands.
Smith said: “The bridging market in the UK continues to perform well and Crystal has a well-established position in the sector.
“I am looking forward to building on the foundations they have laid and raising the bar still further, working closely with both brokers and lenders to deliver exceptional results.”
In 2018 the packager reduced the average time from application to completion by 12%, while bridging finance made up 30% of its completions.
This year Crystal plans to run more seminar programmes. Heads of departments, like Smith, will support brokers at events this year.