Recognise helps property investor rejuvenate local high street

Sam was a prospective commercial landlord looking to invest in the area near where he grew up, North Cheshire, by buying a commercial premises that was home to two successful businesses.

However, his broker realised there were two major factors working against Sam if they approached a mainstream lender: his age and his seeming lack of experience as Sam was a first-time borrower.

Many lenders have an automatic cut-off age for applicants and won’t consider anybody who is below the cut-off. Additionally, most banks are unwilling to lend to somebody who doesn’t already have either a commercial loan or a similar loan, such as a buy-to-let or a residential mortgage.

However, for Recognise, given our personal approach, these were not immediate barriers to a commercial loan. We wanted to know more about Sam and his situation, understand his ambitions and how we could help.

Thankfully he’d found himself a good broker who had not only already assessed the viability of Sam’s request, but also the challenges he was likely to face with another lender. And that was why he recommended that Sam speak to Recognise.

When we sat down with Sam, we found that, far from being completely new to the commercial sector, he had surrounded himself with an expert team of professionals, from his own father, the immediate family, through to solicitors and accountants. They had already advised him on the property, the deal and crucially his responsibilities as a borrower.

Ian Fields, the Recognise Relationship Manager, explains: “The broker was very positive about Sam, so we took the time to sit down with him and talk through his application. He was very impressive. It was clear he’d done his research and knew his stuff, not only about the property and its location, but also what a commercial loan required.

“He’d even identified the potential risks himself. Working with my colleague, Lending Manager Jasdip Kular, we were able to go through the application process with Sam so he understood what was required. As the lender, we were comfortable that we were able to mitigate any risks.”

The support from Recognise even extended to being able to reassure the vendor selling the property that we, as the Bank, took Sam seriously, which in turn gave the seller confidence in the deal.

Ultimately, we were delighted to agree the loan and give Sam a mortgage to acquire the commercial property, which was home to a hairdresser and a company selling window blinds, just the type of grassroots businesses that communities need to keep the local economy bubbling.

Ian continues: “This is the kind of deal that would have fallen through cracks with another lender because Sam didn’t meet the rigid tick box criteria many banks cling to. Because of our hands-on lending experience and willingness to sit down with a customer, Recognise Bank made the difference and were able to help Sam to begin his commercial property portfolio.”

It’s the personal approach that means the most to Sam. He says: “Ian was a great start to the process and really helped me. He’s a credit to the company. Jasdip was nothing but brilliant throughout the process. He didn’t just keep me up to date, he went the extra mile and cared, which is probably more than what he is asked to do. He allowed me time to learn about the whole process and was just great to deal with.”