The function of The Association of Short Term Lenders (ASTL) is to protect and promote the interests of its members and to give confidence to all parties who transact business with them. Our members abide by a strict code of conduct; they are typically bridging and secured loan companies who provide loans and mortgages for short terms usually of between six months and one year.
At the ASTL, we have created a group of organisations with common interests, who all sign up to the association’s Code of Conduct and Membership Rules.
As an association, we have a number of objectives:
- Collect and distribute industry statistics
- Provide members with updates on regulatory issues that affect, or are likely to affect, the industry
- Protect members’ interests, including fraud prevention
- Handle external relations, and collaborate with the press and regulatory authorities
- Work with regulatory authorities to ensure new rules and regulations are implemented with consideration to the short term lending industry and remain in the best interests of our customers
- Give confidence to the public, businesses, the financial community and all parties who transact with the members
Code of Conduct
All ASTL members must commit to upholding and maintaining the standards and behaviours as set out in our Code of Conduct document.
The Code of Conduct requires members to:
- act in a professional manner, with honesty and integrity in their dealings with customers
- disclose all costs and fees up front, with no small print or misrepresentation of product offerings
- not charge non-refundable fees which could be perceived as being excessive
- not issue terms nor charge fees where they do not expect to lend
- follow up customer complaints in a professional and speedy manner
- abide by the rules imposed by relevant regulatory authorities, other trade bodies and the ASTL
There continues to be ever-increasing competition in the short-term lending space. ASTL membership distinguishes all its members as those that set the benchmark high for quality service and customer focus.
The ASTL is the only trade association that solely represents the interests of short-term property lenders, including bridging and development finance providers, receiving regular, favourable commentary in the press. This often includes mention of member firms and we offer the opportunity to co-author press articles for publication. There is also the opportunity to contribute to our monthly newsletter.
The ASTL agenda is always busy and fraud prevention remains high on the list of priorities. ASTL members benefit from group membership of the SIRA anti-fraud software, which provides a highly developed solution to fraud prevention, as well as preferential terms with National Hunter. For example, fees for National Hunter are charged per enquiry, which is more appropriate for smaller firms. The ASTL currently pays the one-off joining fee. There is also the opportunity to join fraud prevention meetings where members can discuss issues under strict ‘Chatham House’ rules.
At the ASTL, we maintain an ongoing communication with all key industry stakeholders. This has previously included dialogue with HM Treasury on the COVID-19 moratorium, access to court proceedings on defaults and the Stamp Duty Land Tax holiday deadline and extensions.
We continue to monitor and test regulatory and market issues which we believe may affect our members and we encourage active debate and support. We have and will continue to represent our sector with the FCA and HM Treasury and, wherever possible, we endeavour to work closely with NACFB, FIBA, AMI and the CML to encourage a collaborative and aligned approach.
Here’s a summary of some of the benefits of membership:
- Participation in a group of highly responsible lenders that all share a common interest in acting with integrity and adherence to the highest of standards, at all times
- Interaction between Lender and Associate Members covering a wide range of disciplines from legal and audit, through to valuation and property management
- Representation to the FCA, HM Treasury and other important regulatory and trade bodies
- Access to meetings arranged jointly with broker trade bodies
- Access to the HMRC Mortgage Verification Scheme
- Reduced cost to access National SIRA and Hunter Fraud System
- Informal group meetings for members to discuss current market issues
- Formal meetings and lunches to debate topics of the day and seminars where members staff are encouraged to participate
- Quarterly data distribution providing insight to current market trends
- Regular Industry sentiment surveys
- Regular updates, both legal and regulatory, on bridging and associated industry issues
- Opportunity to contribute to, and be mentioned within, ASTL press coverage
- Contribution to the ASTL monthly newsletter
- Inclusion on the ASTL website including a link to your own website and use of the ASTL logo