Masthaven has plans to expand its sales and underwriting teams as well as looking at new areas of lending this year.
Speaking exclusively to Bridging & Commercial, James Bloom, managing director of development finance at Masthaven, revealed what the newly launched bank had in store for the new year.
“We will constantly be looking to improve and expand our offering”
Since the bank launch at the end of 2016, James explained that Masthaven has already seen a positive reaction from the broker market, which has resulted in a strong upturn in enquiries for both its bridging and development products.
However, James added that the bank had many more exciting projects to come in this year.
“Now that we have launched, we have the ability to not only innovate on the current product lines, but also to look at new areas of lending.
“These are exciting times at Masthaven and we will constantly be looking to improve and expand our offering to the market.”
Speaking about what was in store for Masthaven's bridging team, James added that it would continue to product innovate.
“With the projected increased volumes, we intend to expand the sales and underwriting teams.
“We are already looking for another business development manager and business development executive to join the team.”
What challenges does Masthaven face this year?
James also addressed the challenges that the bank could face over the course of the year and predicted that some larger players, such as challenger banks, could emerge in the property finance market.
“We are determined to continue the highest levels of customer service as we grow.
“Masthaven has grown from a small company to a bank and we are very proud we have managed to retain the customer- and staff-centric ethos and we are determined this will continue as we grow further.
“New entrants will need to have a genuinely unique USP to get market share in an already crowded space.”
“There have been a range of exciting projects”
James joined Masthaven to set up its development finance division after many years with specialist lender Regentsmead.
“After 29 years in the business, developers know that for me to move to Masthaven, it'd be because I have something far more competitive and flexible than I've ever been able to offer before.
“I am still excited by the move and scale of the opportunity, and it's been fantastic to have been at the helm of creating the new development finance division.
“There has been a very positive reaction to the division, which combines low-cost funding with a five-star service.”
James also said that since the development finance division's launch at the tail end of last year, it had already undertaken some projects.
“There have been a range of exciting projects, from three new builds in Bristol to a large detached house in Surrey.
“We pride ourselves in the service we provide, building a rapport with our clients so they keep coming back for repeat business.
“In terms of development it is always good to deal with repeat clients, some of which I have been working with for between 10-20 years.”
Speaking about how Masthaven intended to help developers access funding, James added: “We understand from the feedback we've received that our broker partners and borrowers appreciate the access they have to experienced underwriters and decision makers at all times.
“We will continue this first-class personal and flexible service.”
“The top end will continue to struggle”
Looking at what he expects to see in the property market this year, James stated: “I believe interest rates will continue to remain low and the property market will bump along the bottom.
“I believe the top end will continue to struggle and the lower/mid-market will continue to perform reasonably well, but with a slowdown in house price inflation.”
Where do you see Masthaven at the end of this year?
James concluded by predicting where he saw Masthaven at the end of the year as he hoped it would have a very strong savings brand and solid base of retail depositors.
“On the lending side, we expect solid and cautious growth resulting in a much larger share of the bridging and development markets.
“We will have launched further new products in both the short- and long-term space and we look forward to a very exciting year with growth across all areas of the business.”
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