Trees grow on money


Clint White Fiduciam

Lending to businesses can be rewarding. Fiduciam, the pension-funded lender, has been provided with a Christmas tree grown by the Irish farmer it lent money to earlier in the year. The Christmas tree, which is in pride of place in Fiduciam’s London office, was chopped down and flown back by Fiduciam’s own staff all recorded on video.

Earlier in the summer, Fiduciam granted a €1.3 million, three-year commercial loan to Hatton Farm in the Republic of Ireland.  Hatton Farm, which operates under Hatton Produce Ltd, is one of Ireland’s leading potato producers and is renowned for the high quality of both its potatoes and its corn; it also supplies one of Ireland’s leading crisp manufacturers.  More importantly Hatton also grows Christmas trees, 150,000 of them in fact.

Hatton Farm cultivates in total 1,200 acres of land and is located in Wexford, on the east coast of Ireland.

As a thank you for the loan, Hatton Farm offered Fiduciam one of its home-grown Christmas trees for their office. As a bit of fun, Fiduciam sent two of its BDMs to chop down the tree and carry it home, and filmed the whole lot.

Ash Kendall a BDM for UK lending in the north, and Cristina Villen who looks after Spain went on a mission to Hatton Farm to collect the Fiduciam office Christmas Tree – and took a video clip of how they did it. 

The underlying message is a serious one though: it underscores how crucial alternative lenders such as Fiduciam have become to many SMEs and entrepreneurs around the UK and Europe, filling the void left by the traditional banks, and thereby helping both individual businesses and the economy to grow.

Clint White, pictured, Head of Property Lending at Fiduciam said:

“The Christmas tree was a bit of fun and a nice way for Hatton Farm to say thank you to Fiduciam for providing a loan at a point when they needed it to invest in their business.”

“Underwriting a loan over a farm is a totally different business to residential property lending. It requires you to have a good insight into the sensitivity of the financials, to the agricultural produce prices and to do extensive stress testing to different scenarios.  We have done quite a few loans secured over farmland now. You would be surprised how many conversations we have had this year in our credit committee about milk price stress testing.  The difference with a standard property loan transaction is that beyond the security over the land, one has a real operating business generating added value.”

Ken Duffy, country manager for Ireland at Fiduciam commented:

“Like many other Irish farms, Hatton Farm was really let down badly by the traditional banks in the aftermath of the financial crisis.  Even today, Irish banks are often not interested in lending to businesses, and the foreign banks that used to finance agriculture in Ireland have all left.”

“Hatton Produce Ltd. is a very successful firm, and we are proud to lend to it.  Fiduciam is becoming increasingly well known in Ireland. This week alone, in the final days before Christmas, we are closing €8.7 million of loans in Ireland; many of which are to operating businesses, such as Hatton Farm.”

Marina Hatton, Hatton Farm owner says:

“Fiduciam believed in us when the big banks were simply not there anymore. This farm has been in our family for three generations and it’s thanks to the loan that we got from Fiduciam that we can grow our business and secure our children’s future. It’s lovely to see the Christmas tree that we grew here on the farm in the office in Fiduciam.”