We were delighted to have hosted our seminar on The Changing Financial Landscape for Irish Firms on June 7th. The event was chaired by Tom Lyons, Deputy Editor of the Sunday Business Post. Ronan Horgan, CEO of Capitalflow was joined on the panel by John Doddy, Deloitte, Pat Walsh, DunPort Capital,  Will Aylmer, Castlehaven Finance and Feargal Brennan, Managing Partner of ByrneWallace Solicitors.

The key theme of the seminar was the growing need and appetite for Direct lenders in today’s market, particularly for family run businesses and entrepreneurs. John Doddy from Deloitte’s described an increasing trend towards Direct Lenders right across Europe especially where quick decision making and turnaround times are important for a specific transaction.

According to Will Alymer from Castlehaven Finance “Availability and flexibility are key when businesses have access to a specialist lender. Borrowers want certainty and speed of execution”.

Direct lenders, like Capitalflow, pride themselves on speed of service with Ronan Horgan mentioning that the “Traditional Banks have many internal hoops to go through to make a decision and in a lot of cases business customers can’t wait”. Capitalflow’s launch of its Property Lending products “have been very positively received” according to Horgan.

The panel were in agreement  that the slowness of the planning process was having a very negative effect on construction sector’s ability to meet the housing demand and shortage. Planning applications can take up to 54 weeks to  get through  which is just not acceptable. The shortage of skilled and talented construction workers and quantity surveyors also needs to be addressed by Government and the sector.

According to Pat Walsh in DunPort Capital “They [the banks] are lending but on a very prescribed basis. Whereas, direct lenders offer bespoke solutions and quick turnaround times.”

In all, with unemployment rates low, the economy is in better shape than it has been for a number of years.  Businesses  will continue to grow on the back of a strong economy and therefore having strong finance partners is important to any growth story. The Pillar Banks tight lending rules and natural retraction from the SME sector paves the way for Direct Lenders to step in and become the trusted finance providers to the business community in Ireland.