After lending £35m in its first year since launching in early 2018, Glenhawk aims to continue growing its unregulated bridging book and become FCA regulated in Q2.
Nick Hilton, director of lending at Glenhawk, said over the course of last year it has delivered month-on-month loan book growth, culminating in a record month in November, originating £9.3m of loans.
He said: “We had an amazing year, we couldn’t have had a better one. I put it down to three things: having a clear client-focused brand, being transparent and the quality of the staff we’ve employed.
“This year the main focus is to grow the unregulated business and also launch into regulated bridging once we have our FCA application approved. We are in the process of planning the team for this and working out how we’ll capture that market and audience.”
Hilton went on to say he’s optimistic for the industry regarding Brexit as bridging loans are a crucial part of the property development sector.
Glenhawk has originated almost £30m of loans with £4m already completed for 2019.
He added: “I think the industry’s thriving and there is no sign of our enquiries slowing down. We of course have been cautious, lending to good, strong borrowers.
“Short-term liquidity is still needed. Banks are still not lending at the speed they need to, so I do expect the bridging market to grow.
“Also seeing new lenders coming to the market shows there is still room for more entrants. There is a lot of competition which of course makes it harder for lenders, but it shows the demand is there and bridging is becoming a more viable option for property professionals; it is very much a high street product now, particularly after interest rates have been driven down in the last decade.”
Brian West, director of Central Bridging, agreed there is more room for new lenders but expects the market to be roughly the same size as what it was last year.
He said: “I don’t think it’ll be a year of significant growth. I think it’s an overcrowded market but there’ll be room for high quality new entrants.
“I’ll be happy if the market is roughly on par with 2018 figures given all the economic uncertainty at the moment.”
Hilton added that with interest rates being driven down in the last decade, the bridging market is less of a last resort for people. It’s now a reliable industry that’s more of a mainstream, high street solution for people.
He said: “It suits our model. High street models tend to fit into the right consumer protection.
“Expanding into regulated products is all about protecting our customers even more.”