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Bidvest Bank predicts growth in commercial property lending

By Bidvest Bank

Bidvest Bank is planning to significantly step up its activities in the commercial property market in the coming months and sees potential for sustained lending growth in the sector in the second half of the year and going forward.

Confidence in property industry prospects is backed by growing demand, says Byron Corcoran, who heads asset-based lending to clients in both the commercial property industry and the medical sector.

“We’re particularly excited about prospects in the commercial property field,” Corcoran adds.

“We have had exposure to this market for some time. We see steadily rising demand for funding across the commercial property industry in general while our own offering has made strong gains.

“We are confident even greater focus on the asset-based finance market in the months ahead will deliver even stronger growth.”

Bidvest Bank previously engaged in asset-backed lending via its fleet finance and vehicle leasing division. However, growth in asset-based finance has been so strong that this specialisation now justifies separate divisional status.

Corcoran explains: “We’ve enjoyed exceptional growth. In six years our asset-based finance volumes have increased 100-fold.

“A key contributor to that growth has been the commercial property sector. Over that period, the industry has gone through some challenging times, though this is not reflected in our figures. Admittedly, we come off a relatively low base in a market traditionally dominated by major banking players, but our niche offering has been strongly supported.”

He attributes higher volumes to the Bidvest Bank model.

“We have a highly entrepreneurial culture,” he says. “We deal with like-minded clients in the commercial property field. They generally have a strong entrepreneurial mind-set and we’re sensitive to the pressures they face.

“They want highly competitive rates. They want a deal structure that suits their particular circumstances and they don’t want to waste time. With Bidvest Bank, our corporate customers deal with only one point of contact. They are not shunted around. We take ownership of the transaction and deliver personal service.

“In a market dominated by big players who deal in big numbers, individual treatment like this is the exception rather than the rule. However, as specialists with a niche offering we can commit to personal involvement like this. Entrepreneurs in the commercial property space appreciate personal service. That’s why we’ve grown … and plan to grow some more.”

• Bidvest Bank is a wholly owned subsidiary of the JSE-listed Bidvest Group and in recent years has broadened the spread of activities from an initial base in foreign exchange to include deposit accounts, loans and advances, leasing and vehicle finance.