A defining comment on the coronavirus crisis came from chancellor of the exchequer Rishi Sunak, who in a recent statement said: “When this is over, and it will be over, we want to look back at this moment and remember the many small acts of kindness done by us and to us.

“We want to look back… and remember how, in the face of a generation-defining moment, we undertook a collective national effort – and we stood together.”

These are important principles during this very challenging period. But eventually it will pass. When it does, which of your clients could benefit from bridging finance to help get their plans back on track?

Developers

After years of dealing with uncertainty over Brexit, 2020 was looking positive for developers, and the active market in the first two months provided much reason for encouragement. With the market now on pause, as well as much construction, developers will need to reconsider their options. Development exit loans can provide the time they need in order to do this.

A development exit loan is a short-term loan that allows a developer to refinance their completed scheme, often at a lower rate than that of their development finance facility. This can provide a saving on interest payments and give them more time to achieve the best sales price. Most investors also release equity from the scheme to use towards future projects.

Business owners

Bridging finance can be secured on residential or commercial property to provide a short-term cash injection to assist small businesses and SMEs. The government has announced a suite of support packages to help small businesses through this period but, for many, that support may not be enough to help them continue to deliver their plans on the other side of this crisis.

As with all bridging loans, it is important there is a robust and reasonable exit route, maybe refinancing or selling assets in the future. For businesses looking to rebuild and that are positive about their prospects, bridging can provide a fast, flexible way to deliver funds.

Portfolio landlords

Again, the government has announced forbearance measures to help landlords in this difficult period, but as we emerge there are likely to be portfolio landlords seeking a fast way to access funds.

For some, bridging finance may provide a solution to cover short-term cashflow difficulties that have been caused by rent arrears or unexpected repair and maintenance costs. For others, it could be used as a way of expanding their portfolio at a time when the property market is flat.

There are many ways bridging could provide fast and flexible fixes to your clients’ short-term cashflow requirements, and there will remain many lenders ready to help. When choosing one, ASTL membership is something all brokers should look for.

Once there is a break in this market, customers will want reassurance they are working with robust institutions. ASTL membership provides brokers and their clients with confidence that the lender will subscribe and adhere to certain standards of behaviour. That will be crucial in the market that emerges from this crisis.

Vic Jannels, chief executive, Association of Short-Term Lenders

A version of this article appeared in the April digital edition of Mortgage Strategy - Bridging Watch