Meet Mark Ridley and Julian Stafford, partners in Grow Funding, a small brokerage located in Worthing, about 60 miles south of London. They work primarily with “introducers” like accountants, insolvency practitioners and other brokers who connect them with small-to-medium-sized businesses looking for funding – often ones who pose complicated lending opportunities.
Mark and Julian find loans for bike companies, telecoms businesses, fisheries, toolmakers – even construction firms, which is one area a lot of lenders won’t touch. Their approach is consultative rather than transactional – when it comes to complex cases that aren’t exactly “rubber stamp” material, it’s vital to really understand their clients’ stories, needs and businesses, and be able to recommend a lender that’s open to their circumstances.
Why do you refer leads to Boost Capital?
Our clients usually don’t have a chance of getting money from a bank – these days, the high street banks want so much information, and they want a really strong business with no other loans. Those aren’t our clients. Ours may already have loans, or be facing some sort of credit problems, or maybe they have a newer business. What they’re looking for is someone to help solve their problems, and Boost Capital enables us to do that.
Boost Capital is really good at accepting deals, which is what our clients need. You could have a huge list of lenders with the cheapest rates around, but if they’re not offering, then it’s pointless. But Boost Capital will make an offer at a reasonable price, and that’s why we put a lot of business their way. Plus, they offer a faster turnaround. And the process is clear – we know what information we need to get to them.
Also, unlike some of their bigger name competitors, their underwriting criteria is consistent, so we know what to expect. With other lenders, you’ll put one deal through and you think you’ll definitely get it and you won’t. And then you think “this will never go through” and it does. That doesn’t really happen with Boost Capital. With them, we get the job done and our clients think we’re great and everyone is happy. And in terms of commission, we get more from Boost Capital – which is also great.
What’s it like working with Boost Capital?
We really appreciate the relationship we have with Nathan Billson, our Boost Capital representative. We can have a real conversation with him and speak directly about the opportunity. Information doesn’t just go into a black hole – it’s very transparent, and it gives us the ability to get things through that might not happen if we weren’t always speaking to one person.
We like the one-on-one approach – Nathan always updates us if anything changes with underwriting criteria. And we’re always informed well in advance, so it’s easy to supply the right info and a quicker turnaround with offers.
How has Brexit impacted the lending industry?
It’s definitely slowed traditional high street lending, and it’s even made the alternative lending market more risk averse. A lot of lenders are looking for more information than they used to do. But they’re still lending, which is key. So I tell my clients that if there’s an offer, but the lender wants them to jump through hoops, then they’ll need to jump. Because that is the marketplace at the moment.
From a small business perspective, we think a lot of companies were holding off investing in their business because they weren’t sure what Brexit would bring. But now they’ve got to the point where they just can’t wait any longer. They have to grow or pay their VAT or what have you. So that’s probably why things have got busier in the last couple of months. But it’s more challenging because banks and lenders are all more risk averse these days.
What are your thoughts on the future of unsecured lending?
The banks are really limiting the types of businesses they want to deal with. They don’t want the smaller companies because they’re too risky. But those companies still need cash to move forward, so they’ve had to turn to the alternative lending market in larger numbers. We were speaking to an accountant the other day and he thinks it’s potentially a golden era for us: people need money and they’ve got to get it from somewhere. So I can only see things growing – and we’re in the right place at the right time. And so are companies like Boost Capital, who are poised to do well in this market.
How can we help you solve your clients’ problems?
If you’re a commercial finance broker, send us your deals – you’ll benefit from an open process and competitive commission rates. Just fill in the contact form and we will be in touch ASAP.