Affordable housing focused peer-to-peer lender BLEND Network has bolstered its lending ability to small and medium sized property developers across East Anglia by establishing a regional hub in Norwich.
The announcement follows six months of concerted expansion across the region by the fast-growing peer-to-peer property lender. This follows a successful £10 million funding round with commitment from a number of global business leaders.
On Tuesday, BLEND Network held a private reception at Norwich’s Dining Rooms at Cinema City for lenders and developers from across the region. The invite-only event, attended by some of the most significant figures in the Norfolk property market, follows a period of expansion across East Anglia by the fast-growing property lender since the start of the year.
Despite ongoing uncertainty as a result of Brexit and global economic headwinds, BLEND Network continues to see increasing demand for its development loans. The business has a strong regional focus, providing funding of between £150k and £3m to small-and-medium-sized property developers for new builds, office to residential conversions, refurbishments, and HMOs across the UK regions.
A Norfolk-based property developer behind one of BLEND Network’s projects, said:
“As developers, we are experienced in a variety of investment strategies. As such, there is not a shortage of opportunities available. However, many opportunities have been delayed, frustrated, or lost due to the constrained nature of some lenders we have tried working with in the past. In many cases we have found that this has been caused by a prospective lender not understanding the processes a developer like us has to go through on a larger project. We are pleased to say this was not the case with BLEND Network. It has been refreshing to work with a company that understands the developer’s process and project lifecycle and helps us recognise the opportunities available to us and thus able to finance accordingly”.
BLEND Network completed a successful funding round at the end of 2018 with commitments from a number of leading global business figures, including Cyrus Ardalan, former Vice Chairman of Barclays and current Chairman of OakNorth Bank and Citigroup Global Markets Ltd, the Family Office of former CEO and current Chairman of Publicis Group Maurice Levy, and Jean-Phillipe Blochet, co-founder of leading “macro hedge fund” Brevan Howard, one of the leading “macro hedge funds” which at its peak had $40bn in assets under management. BLEND Network is determinedly expanding its lending team and scaling its origination arm in order to deploy funds to support experienced property developers across the UK, with a current focus on East Anglia and Norfolk.
Roxana Mohammadian-Molina, CSO at Blend Network commented:
“Everyone says they are lending but they really are not. When we talk to the developers on the ground, one thing that everyone agrees on is that even the big institutions don’t really have the appetite for lending despite saying they want to lend. However, we are aggressively in the market looking to fund deals.
Our origination team is on the ground in Norfolk weekly talking to developers, contractors, lawyers, accountants, valuers, QS’s, planning consultants and every mover and shaker in the property market. We are looking to fund those experienced property developers who are currently underserviced and looking to build the homes the region needs.”