The Five Minute Interview with James Bloom, Divisional Director, Alternative Bridging Corporation
Alternative Bridging Corporation is a principal lender, offering the widest range of short and mid-term products, to the property industry and business community as well as bridging loans to homeowners. They make regulated and non-regulated loans and are one of the longest established lenders in the industry.
We speak to divisional director, James Bloom:
What is the best thing about being in the bridging and development finance business?
I still find this an exciting industry to be in even after 26 years. The market has changed enormously in that time but what hasn’t changed is that short term lending is bespoke and each case has its own nuances which need personal attention and a real property understanding to get to the heart of the deal. I have met and dealt with some fascinating people and managed to help many of them.
What keeps you focused?
In this industry it is vital to stay focused as every deal is different and there are often issues around the property which are not obvious. Given I have always had a zero tolerance to losses to focus on the detail of a deal is absolutely crucial. It is also vitally important to constantly keep a very close an eye on service levels in our industry, service is an absolutely key part of why people come to us and return.
What qualities do you look for in your employees or colleagues?
I find it much easier to work with self motivated and highly driven people who come in each day to achieve, we do have a highly motivated team at Alternative which helps make my job easier.
Are you an optimist or a pessimist?
On a business level I am positive (most days) and always see the opportunity in any situation.
What did you want to be as a child?
A criminal barrister, I always enjoy a good debate and talking in public was never a problem for me. The studying got in the way as I was in too much of a hurry to get out into the real world and start earning money.
What will be the greatest challenge facing the bridging and development finance industry in the coming months?
Just when we thought we were starting to see some light at the end of the Brexit tunnel we now of have the many issues surrounding Covid-19. I have worked through many previous economic shocks and this is of course affecting us economically and from a personal health point of view. Clearly this situation is affecting the whole market in different ways depending on the longevity, quality of the loan book and ability to lend.
We don’t know at this stage how long this situation will last but it looks like it will be with us in some form for many months. As a business we are well place to withstand these economic shocks and we hope our industry comes through this in good shape but as with previous severe economic issues that won’t be the case for everyone who has taken a more short term view for their business.
Who or what makes you laugh?
‘Only Fools and Horses’, the best thing ever written.
Do you dread Monday mornings?
Well they aren’t as much fun at the moment being in lockdown but no I have never been in that position thankfully. I have always been driven and motivated to do the very best I can in my various roles. Working with the team at Alternative is an absolute pleasure and it is more of a family atmosphere than work.
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
People who know me will be really shocked at this but I have zero patience and wish I could just have just a bit.
With whom would you most like to have dinner?
After over a month of lockdown, virtually anyone!!