Mortgage Business Accelerator: Paresh Raja, Managing Director, Market Financial Solutions


In general, 15 years is not an advanced age for a company, unless it operates in the transition sector. In October we celebrate our 15th anniversary. The milestone presents an opportune time for reflection.

In 2010 gross bypass in the UK was estimated at £400 million. In 2019, this had reached £4 billion. The bridge has moved from the realm of alternative finance into the mainstream; today, most investors, businesses and even consumers are aware of this.

MFS has witnessed the growing demand for transition funding firsthand, with our business evolving in turn. From our founding team of five, we are now a company of over 50 people.

External shocks have been frequent in the 15 years since our launch: four UK general elections and five prime ministers; the 2007 global financial crisis; the 2016 European referendum and the protracted Brexit process; and, of course, the Covid-19 pandemic. Each presented unique challenges.

By signing up early in the process, we ensure that a ‘Yes’ means a ‘Yes’

There were other relevant trends for bridge lenders to contend with. The Bank of England’s key rate, for example, fell from 5.75% in 2007 to the current all-time low of 0.1%. Over the same period, the average house price in the UK has risen from £176,000 to £265,000.

And, over the past five years, in the real estate market in particular, there have been significant regulatory reforms, particularly affecting rental investors, including the additional 3% stamp duty surcharge introduced for second homes in 2016, followed by a gradual reduction in mortgage interest tax relief since 2017 and new regulations for multiple occupancy homes in 2018.

Obviously, it has been a turbulent time. The broader political and economic landscape has been reshaped several times.

While the focus is often on speed when it comes to bridge financing, the willingness to scale and adapt to external conditions has been the biggest help to growth. Flexibility was key.

Bridging has moved from the realm of alternative finance into the mainstream

We’ve found that one of the best ways to stay flexible is to put underwriting at the forefront of the entire loan process, so the borrower can speak directly to the team to close the deal quickly.

By underwriting early in the process, we ensure that a ‘yes’ means a ‘yes’ and we don’t go back on our word — our reputation stays intact.

Investment in tools

It is also worth investing in the tools to “know your customer” and quickly check the cadastre.

One of the best ways to stay flexible is to put underwriting at the forefront of the entire loan process.

And access to multiple lines of financing means we’re not limited to strict covenants. This is a way of working with large loans and more complex loans.

The longevity of a successful business is invariably a testament to its adaptability and the strength of its core values.

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