Harley Kagan, Group Managing Director

It is hard to believe that we are in the second half of 2018, and are enjoying the most glorious sunshine!

We have enjoyed a very successful first six-months at UTB. The Bank continues to grow in several respects, including lending volumes and headcount, and we now have more BDMs and originators than ever, introducing a variety of UTB products and services to brokers and customers across England, Scotland and Wales.

I’m delighted that United Trust Bank was named Specialist Bank of the Year at the recent Bridging & Commercial Awards 2018. It’s the second time the Bank has won this prestigious award in three years and it’s a great achievement by the UTB team reflecting their dedication, commitment to customer service and passion to be the leading specialist lender in the industry.

This award follows hot on the heels of the Mortgage team recently retaining the Best Second Charge Mortgage Lender titles for the second year running at the 2018 Financial Reporter Awards and at the SFI Awards with the Development Finance team being named ‘Development Lender of the Year’at the same SFI event. Brilliant achievements all round.

I’m sure one of the reasons we were nominated and subsequently chosen for the ‘Specialist Bank’ award is our focus on improving our coverage and service to brokers and customers across the country. The investment we made in expanding the Mortgage and Bridging sales teams last year, along with improvements to the underwriting and processing of proposals, have really paid off as we’ve seen bridging case volumes increase substantially.

We continue to invest in technology to help us maintain our award winning service standards and there are exciting projects in our bridging, mortgage and development finance divisions which will see further improvements to our service levels.

Our Structured Finance division has continued to flourish by providing fast, flexible and, most importantly, dependable funding solutions for
more complex scenarios in an environment some other lenders have either struggled to adapt to or have decided to step back from.

At UTB we have invested more capital in the Bank which allows us to continue to provide stability, confidence and assurance that we are always open for good business.

Market sentiment is that interest rates are now likely to remain unchanged until part way through 2019 at least. And even when rates do start to move up, any increase is likely to be small and spread over time so as not to add untoward pressure to household spending.

This should be welcomed by house builders and borrowers and is one of the reasons I’m more confident about the prospects for the UK residential property market than some of the major house price indices might suggest. As our guest author in this edition, Marc Shoffman, has found, there’s still plenty of activity going on in many parts of the country.

Later in this magazine, UTB executive director and Head of Development Finance, Noel Meredith introduces some of the talented people who have joined his team in the last six months. He also describes how the biggest team of development finance originators we’ve ever had is intending to take our development finance proposition to SME housebuilders all over the country.

Suffice to say, there’s a lot happening at UTB for the rest of this year!