Spring Finance aims to be ‘very sizeable, specialist non-bank lender’ with development finance entry, says CEO

Spring Finance will be launching a ground-up development finance proposition once economic conditions have settled, and will then introduce a first charge owner-occupied and buy-to-let range next year, as part of plans to become a “sizeable” non-bank lender, Andrew Bloom (pictured), the lender’s chief executive said. 

Speaking to this publication ahead of Deal Catalyst’s Annual Investor’s Conference on UK Mortgage Finance in September, Bloom discussed plans for Spring Finance, opportunities in the specialist lending area and funding.

Bloom will be speaking on the panel: “London Bridge, Indeed! The Future of Bridge Financing and Development Loans in the UK” at the Investor’s Conference on UK Mortgage Finance on the 12 September at the London Hilton on Park Lane. Mortgage Solutions has secured a 20 per cent discount on tickets for its readers, follow the link to secure the offer.

Q: You have recently taken the helm at Spring Finance following Gavin Diamond’s departure, what have the past few months been like?

A: I was the founder and CEO of Masthaven for 15 years from 2005 to 2020. For the first 11 years, Masthaven was a non-bank lender, then in April 2016 Masthaven obtained its banking licence and became a challenger bank.

Spring Finance is currently very similar to the earlier years at Masthaven, just with vastly more resources and a much more experienced management team.

In short, it is great to be back at the coal face. I have missed that day-to-day excitement of running an exciting, fast-growing lending business.

Q: Where are the biggest opportunities in the specialist lending market in the next year?

A: Whenever there is change there is opportunity, the skill is being able to identify it. These opportunities tend to reveal themselves at the tail end of difficult economic cycles.

These opportunities tend to be in those areas of the lending market which have been hardest hit in the economic downturn.

For example, currently Spring Finance only has a limited appetite for ground-up development finance but at the right point in the economic cycle, we will be looking to grow exponentially in this area.

Q: Do you think high street lenders will be increasingly looking to acquire specialist lenders/enter the specialist lending market?

A: Not at the moment. During periods of adverse economic conditions lenders tend to focus on their core business not inorganic growth.

There are some distressed companies available which may well lead to acquisition taking place.

I feel that there will be additional consolidation in the industry but only when there is additional confidence in the sector.

Q: Do you think there will be new entrants into the specialist lending market? What is the appeal and barriers to entry for new players?

A: Since I started Masthaven in 2005, there has always been new entrants into the markets, this is a sign of a healthy market.

The specialist lending market has no significant barriers to entry hence there will always been several small lenders entering the market.

The core building blocks are funding, underwriting expertise and distribution.

Q: Spring Finance recently secured its third bridging funding line with Aldermore (and has lines from HTB/Natwest). What is the funding landscape like for specialist lenders at the moment and is the firm looking for more funding partners?

A: Spring is a highly ambitious company. Since I purchased the majority stake in October 2021 we have already tripled the head count and had a fivefold increase in our monthly lending.

We are looking to grow every part of Spring including bringing onboard new funding partners.

Q: Spring Finance has been growing its team in recent months, what is the company’s current headcount and what are the recruitment plans for the firm?

A: Over the last 12 to 18 months, we have hired an additional 25 people with more people joining every month.

Q: What would you want brokers to know about Spring Finance?

A: That they are in safe hands. The staff at Spring Finance are extremely experienced individuals and are fully committed to the intermediary market.

Once the economic conditions are right, we will be launching our ground-up development finance proposition. Then next year, we will be introducing our first charge owner-occupied and BTL mortgage range.

Spring Finance’s ambition is to become a very sizeable, specialist non-bank lender.

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