London Stadium Associate Partner and bridging loan provider Kuflink, is looking to double its loan book this year as more brokers sign up to its ethical way of doing business.
The Gravesend based company is hopes that joining the Bridging Loan Directory as well as new product developments, technology and its honest way of working will help drive surge in demand.
“The aim in 2023 is to establish Kuflink as a major player in the intermediary introduced bridging & development finance space and to double its loan book by filling funding gaps in the property lending space,” says Ranjit Narwal, Head of Origination at Kuflink.
“Plans are already advanced to offer second charge secured loans as well as buy to let mortgages.
Kuflink is also in the process of the final testing stages of a new internal software system that we are planning on releasing to brokers. This will make it easier for them to access products through a portal.”
Personal experience of the property market and being quick to adapt to new technologies have already proved pivotal in the development of the business.
Back in 2011 the founding shareholders of Alpha Bridging were property developers and as such understood very well the frustrations of obtaining short-term finance. In particular, this included some of the issues developers face when arranging finance for projects.
“The vision was to try and make arranging finance as simple as possible by listening to advisers and developers as well as making use of their own extensive experience of trying to fund short term deals,” says Narwal.
The group has grown steadily and strongly over the last 12 years with notable milestones being the changing of its name to Kuflink in 2016 in line with the launch of its online peer-to-peer lending platform.
This was developed to invite private investors to put their money into the bridging deals that Kuflink posts on the platform.
Current chief executive Narinder Khattoare was appointed a year later to keep the momentum flowing. Narwal joined him and the group last year tasked with growing the group’s presence in the intermediary bridging market.
“I had a chance meeting with Narinder, who told me about the ambitious expansion plan to grow the business over the next 3 to 5 years, and how they needed to bring in a different type of experience and mindset to help them achieve their targets,” Narwal explains.
“I was ready for a new challenge and could see the potential the business had to become a major player in the bridging market. What impressed me most was the conscientiousness they bring to the process which means that far from being box tickers they make sure that each case is judged on its merits.
We are always looking for reasons to lend, rather than the negative alternative.”
Kuflink concentrates on being a bridging and development lender that lends on the UK mainland.
That means it caters for both the traditional bridging channel which might include funding auction purchases and capital raising for short term cashflow purposes and development finance for building projects, or renovations which lead to onward sale.
Rates start from 0.65% pm and each deal is individually priced depending on the LTV and general risk.
During COVID, thanks to its P2P funding side, Kuflink was able to carry on lending on development projects where many other sources stopped lending.
“We are currently seeing a huge increase in demand for bridging loans,” says Narwal.
“This can be for auction finance, making up funding shortfalls or funding short term purchases but we are also being seen as a lender who is not afraid to take on quirky cases which might be too much for many of the more conventional lenders with restricted criteria.”
Narwal adds that Kuflink has built a strong and trusted reputation among brokers.
“They have got to know us for delivering a solution when other lenders have ‘um’d and ah’d’, thought about doing it and then turned it down, which sadly is happening more and more,” he states.
“The practice of offering up a keen rate, that attracts brokers and then, after wasting time, saying that unfortunately it doesn’t fit, but a higher rate is available is also happening too often.
It is a shoddy marketing ploy which should be outlawed. Brokers who know us, keep coming back because although we may not be the cheapest, we are ethical and deliver when we say we will!”
Despite this Narwal has previously said that Kuflink is a ‘well-kept secret’ in the bridging sector.
“We recognise that we have been slower than some lenders to communicate our message.
In the past we have built via word of mouth and rather than rely on outside funding, have funded our loans from our own resources and in the past few years by building the P2P platform,” he explains.
“This has been very successful for both borrowers and investors, with no investor having lost a penny of their investment over the past five years.”
Joining the Bridging Loan Directory should help Kuflink get their story and achievements better known throughout the bridging and specialist property market.
The team certainly feels that this year, despite worries over the state of the economy and the property market, will be another good year to shine.
“All the indications are that this will be a busy year for short term lending and we are seeing growing enquiry volumes in both bridging and development finance,” Narwal states.