What a year it’s been. Coming out of Covid, a celebration of our Monarch was followed by her passing, a new King and too many Prime Ministers to remember! And on a business level, it’s been a memorable year for Hodge’s Commercial Lending business too. After a tumultuous 2021, the team was ready for 2022, with new people and new products making it a year to remember in many different ways.
So, to mark the progress and development of the Commercial team, and its successes, we look back and chart 12 months of Hodge’s Commercial Lending milestones for 2022.
Scroll down to see our monthly milestones for the year that was 2022. You can also follow us on LinkedIn for more updates.
January marks not only the new start of a year, but also a time to put in action all the plans we had made in 2021. We delivered a small number of completions across both development and investment finance, and it was fantastic to have new customers join our business.
After two years of disruption resulting from the pandemic, lockdowns and adapting to changes in working practices, it was great to be out and about seeing and speaking to people face–to–face again.
February saw the first significant change of the year for Hodge Commercial Lending, with a decision to broaden lending criteria on our development finance loans to incorporate alternative residential and the broader commercial asset classes. The team had seen an uptick in this area and following discussions with intermediary partners and developers, we expanded our criteria to reflect the demand across student accommodation, retirement living and other commercial assets.
March saw the launch of the new Commercial Investment Finance Product. Having been focussed primarily on residential business during 2021, our expansion in the commercial investment arena is designed to help serially active, proven investors to buy, manage, refinance or simply add value to commercial real estate assets. We saw a considerable increase in enquiries following the launch, as we designed this product for investors with varied property portfolios across a broad cross section of commercial assets.
April we continued to focus on growth, raising the profile of Hodge Commercial Lending and building awareness of our new products and services. The addition of Michelle Paxton to the Hodge marketing team, fully dedicated to Commercial Lending, has been instrumental in raising our profile across the market and into new areas where only limited awareness existed. This was bolstered by the accompaniment of a timely thought leadership piece in the Intermediary from Kevin Beevers, managing director for Commercial Lending, on the need to adapt within an ever-changing marketplace. Click here to read read the full article.
May saw the introduction of a new development finance option, Stretch Senior, an extension of our existing development finance product. Stretch Senior is a hugely beneficial tranche of senior debt, aimed at experienced property developers who are also seeking to utilise a traditional Hodge development finance facility. Stretch Senior affords developers the opportunity to access additional finance at the time it’s most needed, but without the added cost and due diligence implications that would occur as a result of going to a third-party lender. Both traditional development finance and stretch senior are included within one facility letter and one suite of security documents, all managed by Hodge.
We also welcomed Stuart Benge to Commercial Lending, bolstering our BDM cohort dedicated to building our investment finance book.
June was greeted with a trip to Birmingham to exhibit at the National Association of Commercial Finance Brokers, Commercial Finance Expo at the NEC. It was a great day where we got to meet colleagues and peers from across the UK and discuss changes in the industry, best practice, and chat to developers and investors about how Hodge might be able to help them.
July was a bumper month for new products, with the launch of the Acquisition Bridge and Sales Bridge finance solutions. Targeted at supporting experienced SME developers and brokers who specialise in property development, the Acquisition Bridge is a short-term finance solution for experienced developers seeking to buy land or property, with or without planning consent and is an ideal way to help spread equity across multiple development sites. The Sales Bridge provides existing Hodge development finance customers with a short-term finance solution towards the end of the term of their existing facility, enabling them to release equity if required.
August started with a heatwave and a wave of new recruits to the commercial team along with it, as Andy Buss, David Hales and Jon Hankins joined the fold. These new business and relationship managers have all brought valuable experience in commercial and development finance and banking to the team and have bolstered Hodge’s already skilled and successful team even further.
September brought another Hodge product to market, with the launch of the Refurbishment Bridge. This product is designed to help experienced property developers make improvements or to change the layout of an existing property they have invested in, where structural changes or revised planning consent is not needed. A great addition to the suite of development finance products, providing flexibility for developers who may not need the full rigor of a development finance facility.
October witnessed the bulk of the fallout from the mini budget. A challenge to funders, borrowers and brokers alike, stunned by the outcome of September’s activities. However, with the turmoil came success. Two great property development projects came to fruition thanks to development funding help from Hodge, one in Anglesey and one in East Sussex of particular note, where the developer used a new cutting-edge construction method called ICF (Insulated Concrete Formation) to build high quality and extremely energy efficient homes. The team was also shortlisted in the South West Business Insider’s property awards for ‘Property Deal of the Year’. No gong this time, but to be shortlisted amongst such high calibre deals was an honour all the same.
November saw the final completion of six property investment deals in as many weeks. A hectic period resulting in funding lent to our clients to support their property investment projects during the most challenging market in recent times!
November also came with success at the Cardiff Property Awards where Hodge was awarded ‘Employer of the Year 2022’. A fantastic achievement and accolade for Hodge to top off a successful month.
December brings with it a chance to review and reflect on a busy year, both in terms of development and diversification. In summary, it’s been a year of significant growth for the Commercial Lending team at Hodge, and we don’t intend to stop there. 2023 is fast approaching and with it our aim is to provide two new products in the short term – mixed use and built to rent – combining the skillset and products that already exist across Hodge. We can’t wait to see what 2023 will bring!