"My role is to take the Kuflink proposition to the broker community and demonstrate how we provide a flexible funding source for introducers."
We spoke to Jeff Bungar, head of business development at Kuflink, about what its proposition offers to intermediaries and how the market will continue to react to the Covid-19 pandemic.
FR: Tell us a bit about Kuflink and its funding model.
Kuflink has two faces. Firstly, it is a P2P platform for individual investors who are looking for better returns and invest in our short term bridging propositions and projects brought to us by introducers on behalf of individuals or developers. Our proposition means that we are not dependent on corporate funding and free to set our own criteria. With over ten years of lending experience, we know the kind of deals which will go the distance and be of value to our investors. My role is to take the Kuflink proposition to the broker community and demonstrate how we provide a flexible funding source for introducers.
FR: How has Kuflink weathered the Covid-19 storm and how do you think the market will continue to react and develop in the next 6-12 months?
During the pandemic, we were able to continue funding, unlike many of our competitors, reliant on external funding sources. Yes, some investors did decide to withdraw funds temporarily, but it did not stop us in our tracks, like it did for some lenders who had their lending criteria altered by external sources or had their funding suspended. By March this year, lending was back to where it was, and we had picked up plenty of new business from advisers who had been let down by their usual favoured providers.
The market is in good shape. The main concern currently is making sure that development project timeframes for completion are realistic, in the face of shortages of basic materials and the effect of Covid on worker availability, which can have a knock on effect on completion times and viable exits. Our ongoing role is to match investor funding with deals that have been subject to robust scrutiny. Our aim is to ensure that potential borrowers receive a fast service while their purchase or development project has been thoroughly researched and made subject to robust scrutiny. The Kuflink formula of careful but fast evaluation of would be borrowers’ requirements has meant that none of our investors has lost a penny of their invested capital.
FR: Kuflink has recently appointed another new BDM – what does your proposition offer to intermediaries and what should they know about working with you?
In a nutshell, brokers have access to a lender with a well oiled process, which is not going to let them or their borrower clients down. We don’t try to follow the herd scrabbling to match the ‘cheapest’ deal but place our total emphasis on being the source of fast, reliable short term funding.
FR: Will specialist lending ever become ‘mainstream’?
I think that the sooner we consign the phrase ‘specialist lending’ to the history books the better. What started as a niche in the wake of the 2008 credit crunch and the subsequent funding shortage, now encompasses everything from bridging, second and first charge and even commercial lending. Whether we continue to try and differentiate by calling it mainstream or specialist, the truth is it is all just lending and brokers are just seeking the right funding for their clients. Being involved in bridging, as Kuflink is, our proposition is as much part of the lending menu as a first charge mortgage from a high street bank.
FR: If you could read one headline about financial services in 2021, what would it be?
'Stamp duty holiday fuels bridging activity'.