cfaproperty – Page 2 – Severn Valley Business Group
 

Author: cfaproperty

cfaproperty

CFA provides business finance solutions for SME's looking to understand the maze that is business funding today, whether than business is brand new and just starting out or indeed it has a track record upon which it is growing. Specialties include auction and short term finance, commercial and investment mortgages, cash flow funding and access to the 'Alternative' lending marketplace

Is there life north of Watford?

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As usual our posts on this blog are reflecting our efforts to satisfy all of our clients in the most appropriate way despite what seems to be going on around us.  This one was prompted by a comment from an architect at a breakfast meeting I was at today when he mentioned the number of single house building developments he is working on have soared.

We are often asked via our introducers and indeed via the enquiries on our website to help arrange funding for residential development projects and the first question we always ask is ”where is the project located?” – The answer often determines the level of support that the UK lenders are prepared to give.

The title says it all, there is indeed a huge portion of the UK that is north of Watford, but to the vast majority of the lenders that have set their stall out to support the UK development finance market, it might as well be another planet.  Admittedly, the money seems to emanate from the South East and inside the M25 it appears that nothing can go wrong, are they being short sighted or just prudent?

On a recent exercise on a fairly chunky development proposition in the West Midlands, which is not quite the end of the world, we used the details of those current lenders in the UK, that have said they support development funding, gleaned from the latest copy of ‘The finance Book’ to find out whether they would even consider the application.  The result – out of 28 lenders approached, only 2 were willing to quote anything near reasonable terms for the business with the high street lenders being particularly unwilling.  The main response was “it is too far away”.

I don’t know the numbers but it wouldn’t surprise me if more people lived and worked ‘North of Watford’ than south of there, and they all have to live somewhere, so come on folks, the numbers might not be so big, but the market is, and the argument is always there that a range of smaller development projects across a wider series of locations does mean that the lenders are not putting all their eggs in one Country (Greece) basket.

If you do have a small residential development (Up to say 10 houses) ‘North of Watford’ do get in touch, because we now know who wants to play.  You can contact us here

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Stolen Identity…..or no identity?

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Looking at the various press items over the past week we learn that credit and debit card fraud is falling but that identity theft is becoming more sophisticated and we are warned within an inch of our lives that there are enough people out there looking to steal our identity and have their way with our details to make us almost paranoid.

Well thankfully no one has stolen my identity and I religiously dispose of all personal and sensitive correspondence in the best way I know – it makes great fire lighters – but this week I realised that I almost don’t exist.

Why….. well my passport expired in December and as we didn’t take our usual winter holiday I overlooked sorting out a replacement, so guess what, solicitors acting for our business wanted proof of my ID as a new client to their firm, and I didn’t have any!

“Can you let us have a copy of your photo driving licence?” I was asked – No, I still have a paper one issued in 1978 with the two minor hiccoughs for speeding in the 80’s and 90’s.  Having not moved house, there has never been a need to change – what else could I use?

Now we are no different as an organisation in that we need to ‘Know our Client’ so I know what is required, but since I have never been in a trade union, worked for an employer for the last 21 yrs, or shot bright orange bits of clay out of the sky for the past 10 years I don’t have anything with my picture on any more, so a bit of frantic searching came up with some alternatives, at least I wasn’t trying to borrow money, they would have wanted loads more.

There is a generation out there for which identity documentation is almost non- existent, my parents have no passports, the solitary bank card, no mobile phone or regular pc access, no photo cards at all and the challenges they have had giving a bank their money to look after has been horrendous, I hope I am not getting like them.

So this week I will mostly be getting myself a new passport, because you never know a lottery win this week might force me into going on holiday before Easter, and I don’t want to be held up.

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Beware the small print – or do you even read it?

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Blog articles are usually representative of what is currently on the radar with our clients and this one is no different – How many people actually read the small print?

The issue seems to be more prevalent at the moment as the relationships between lenders and their borrowers seem to turn sour faster than ever.  Realistically however the relationship has probably been going the wrong way for quite a while, and it is like your car, ignore those niggling sounds and one day something will let go and it’s the AA to the rescue.

It is when things don’t work with lending arrangements that lenders are relying even more on some of the things they were less concerned with in the past.  Three principle areas come to mind:

  • Financial covenants associated with a loan
  • Personal guarantees
  • All Monies clauses

Let’s look at the first one – Many commercial (as opposed to Buy to Let – B2L) mortgages and borrowing facilities have covenants relating to loan serviceability, tenancies, loan to value and the production of timely Management Information (MI) lost in the pages of conditions associated with the facility.  When times are good lenders often overlook these, with markets tighter than they were and a lot of valuations being lower than when the money was taken in the first place, these are now being vigorously enforced.

We are getting new clients coming to us because their own bank want them to reduce their borrowing because the property has down valued, but I hear some say, how do they know, well the concept of desktop valuations have always been there, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to ask the original valuer for their comments on your property even though you think they have never been back.

Others are now finding that MI they haven’t been providing is now being chased, and if a business is on top of things it should have them anyway, so sometimes a blessing in disguise, but the retained profits (or lack of) in your business could worry some lenders.

Changed the tenancy? Maybe your borrower should have been told, some B2L lenders are now insisting they are advised at every change of tenancy, and that could be every 6 months in some cases.

What about the second area – Personal Guarantees (PG’s) – If you run a limited company expect to give them, it is rare unless the directors of the company don’t own enough shares to control the business, that you will get away without providing them, and to be fair it is an acknowledgement on the director’s part that they are prepared to support the borrowing in the first place because it is usually the lender who has put more into the project than the borrower.  In the runaway ‘noughties’ PG’s were rarely considered as a risk indeed a lot of folk signed them without getting the independent advice that they should have done prior to giving them.

When the facility goes wrong, the lender can and do call their money in, so be wary of facilities that have an end date on them (how many developers do we know who have built their developments out and can’t sell or refinance them?), or covenants that could cause the dreaded ‘Event of Default’ and allow them to repossess or appoint a Law of Property Act receiver to collect the rents, because when they do and ultimately crystallise the amount of the debt, they will be coming to the Guarantors for the inevitable shortfall.

Finally, what’s an ‘All Monies Clause’ – simply put somewhere in the depths of the mortgage small print most lenders include this short bit of wording linking ALL debts and liabilities across the lenders various arms in the event of a default, and it can collapse a perfectly well functioning facility if another part of the associated facilities go wrong.  So whilst this is just an example, if you have your mortgage with a bank on your business or commercial premises, a series of B2L loans with that bank’s subsidiaries, and overdraft and maybe even a credit card with the same group and one goes wrong, it can cause an event of default with them all.  As we say avoid as much as you can putting all your eggs, both personal and business, into one basket because the chances are you will never fully be in control of that basket’s handles.

So, all I would say is look at the small print, it may not go away if it is a condition of a loan, just understand what you are signing up for and what will be the implications if you can’t adhere to them – You might lose the lot!

If your business is in this situation or you know of one to which this applies, do get in touch and we will do our best to help them

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Your business may qualify for working capital via a very flexible form of funding.

Bank loans and overdraft funding are difficult to obtain, if at all, and even if agreed could put your other assets, maybe even your own home, at risk. Our cash advances range from £3,500 up to £150,000 and are paid back from your Merchant account terminal (PDQ machine) typically over 9 months at variable amounts to suit your turnover, so absolutely brilliant for businesses with ups and downs in trading.

Most established business will qualify providing they have been taking credit and debit card payments for at least 12 months and include restaurants, pubs, hotels, hairdressers, bed and breakfasts, bike shops, garages and MOT service centres, chemists, opticians, convenience stores and any other independent retail store.   In fact the only qualification is the use of a card terminal and an average card turnover of £3,500 per month.  Added flexibility also allows you to redraw funds later when needed as your loan balance reduces and at least 70% of the debt has been repaid.

This form of funding can be used for anything eg. Refurbishment, buy out a partner, purchase stock, pay a tax bill, marketing and advertising bills, wages etc.

Six reasons to find out more today

  1. No fixed monthly payments – just a fixed percentage of your card takings
  2. No risk to your assets – unsecured
  3. No early settlement fee
  4. High approval rate
  5. Receive funds typically in 24 hours from a completed application form
  6. Your statement can be viewed online

Why not give us a call and see if your business qualifies?

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