A boost for Clients with the ‘Funding for Lending Scheme’

Charles30th January, 2013.

 

A boost for Clients with the ‘Funding for Lending Scheme’

 

By Charles D’Auncey, Director


 
 

 

From a commercial property viewpoint an easing of credit and availability of finance for property lending will provide some real impetus to growth.  My colleague Neil Slade talked about a shortage of new development where demand exists but credit is difficult and I thought it was worth supporting Neil’s piece with a little more detail.
Well the headline from the latest Ernst & Young Item Club that “The crippling credit crunch is loosening” certainly seems to be a pointer that the availability of credit may be getting a little easier.
There is little doubt that the ongoing credit crunch and crisis in the Banks continues to affect business thinking nearly 5 years on from the start of the world’s economic woes.  The effects on property both commercial and residential are well catalogued and there for all to see – not least the retreat of values!
It is not an argument for inflating property values – what we need is more financial liquidity in the market to ‘make things happen’.
The Item Club lays bare some of the statistics around the credit crunch.  Part of their commentary was how UK Banks borrowed “£900 billion” that was borrowed from overseas up to 2008 and how we’ve been paying the price ever since as the UK reigns back from the £100 billion a year that Banks were using to fund domestic lending.
The Item Club explain that once it happened, the breakdown in the funding markets triggered several other crucial factors.  Secondary banking subsidiaries had to be supported, straining capital adequacy ratios.  Loan losses had the same effect.  Bank boards, as well as their shareholders and regulators, became very risk-averse as the losses mounted.  Tougher capital and liquidity requirements exacerbated the lending squeeze.  The ensuing recession made Banks even more worried and of specific concern for those earning their money in the property market, about the solvency of mortgage borrowers and small businesses.  Lending was depressed because the economy was depressed and vice versa, a classic vicious circle.
The Item Club thinks the background of tight credit and the Banks’ liquidity issues may be coming to an end with credit and liquidity requirements having been relaxed.  The Bank of England’s new Funding for Lending Scheme is designed to increase the flow of credit and reduce its cost, increasing the funding gap, or at least slowing the speed at which it is paid down.  It will reinforce the effect of the revival of the UK mortgage-backed securities market seen in recent weeks.
Ernst & Young say that ‘Although banks remain very risk-averse, they are effectively shifting the risk lending to affluent home buyers who have equity to invest.  In the case of first-time buyers, the builders and the government are shouldering the risk through new-buy schemes.  The banks’ capital base is also recovering’ they say.  Furthermore they comment that ‘These developments help to explain the marked improvement in the mortgage market suddenly being signalled by the Bank of England’s Credit Conditions survey, the sharpest since this survey began in 2007.  In the third quarter of this year, a significant proportion of mortgage lenders said they had loosened their lending criteria or were planning to do so, while 22% were planning to reduce the mark-up on mortgage rates.  The survey suggested that little movement in unsecured lending and forecast a continued deterioration in the outlook for lending to small companies, which it seems, are still regarded as too risky.  Nevertheless, these developments are encouraging.’
A lot of economic detail but for ‘property watchers’ and for those like us working in the property industry these are important pointers for how the market may perform over the next 12 to 24 months.
Not sure we can say this is the end of the credit crunch although we’d all hope that, it may just be the ‘end of the beginning’ though

We still talk about the credit crunch and there are plenty still commenting about the banks and how difficult it can be to get funding for projects.  We have begun to notice though over the last 3 months that quite a few of our clients have taken advantage of the Funding for Lending Scheme (FLS) and this is helping businesses and driving new projects with expanding capacity in new buildings whether extending existing; new build or relocations.

The FLS works by making cheaper loans available through the main banks and having a large ‘pot’ of this cash available for distribution to the market.

The £80bn FLS was launched in June 2012 as a replacement for the short-lived National Loan Guarantee Scheme (NLGS) in a bid to increase the volume of loans to homes and businesses.  Participating banks can access funds at below market rates subject to them expanding their own lending levels.

Clearly the schemes introduction has not been an instant cure from figures for the first two months of the FLS published by the Bank of England showed that net lending decreased by more than £1bn across the six banks that drew funds from the scheme during the period.

The FLS is aimed at helping credit-starved small companies, and to be a taxpayer-funded scheme to get through to the companies that need it.

At Harris Lamb we certainly have a few clients who have taken advantage of the scheme one of which has been the catalyst for a new 10,000 sq. ft. factory expansion.

One of the issues with the scheme seems to be that not many people know about it and when we have mentioned the scheme to some clients it is obvious that the scheme’s availability has probably not been publicised as well as it could have been – ask your Accountant about it!

 


For information on help with any building or construction advice our building surveyors can help, or for new property contact me or one of the agency team on 0121 455 9455 or email charles.dauncey@harrislamb.com

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