I work at Queensland Finance Group (QFG) as a commercial finance broker, and have for over 20 years. I specialise in commercial property, mainly construction and development transactions. At QFG we strive to consistently deliver great customer service and negotiate the best deals for our customers.
HOW DO YOU VIEW THE CURRENT LENDING LANDSCAPE?
It’s abundant, but that doesn’t make it good. The banks are waving their hands for deals but are really hard to deal with because they are so slow and there is so much red tape to get something done with them.
Then there is this plethora of non-bank lenders. I’ve worked in the space for over two decades and have never seen more of them than right now, however they are not all good. They compete, or jockey, for deals and it can be quite hard to keep a borrower’s attention because there are so many options for them out there.
WHAT ARE THE BIGGEST ISSUES + OPPORTUNITIES YOUR CLIENTS ARE FACING IN THE CURRENT CLIMATE?
The biggest issue would be in the construction and development space where there are escalating build prices. For example, when a developer has a build price set at $10 million but we get closer to settlement it becomes $12 million, it either skittles the deal or means we have to reengineer the deal which adds more time to the process.
I think that while there are a lot of options out there for borrowers, they still have to provide a lot of information to get transactions done. What borrowers don’t understand is that deals stop unless they provide the information requested. You could ask for something five or six times and they still don’t give it to you.
In terms of opportunities, the ones that are astute and do have an aptitude for detail, rise to the top and get money, and to conduct business you need access to money. The ones who are diligent and on top of their business and paperwork are the ones who will shine.
WHAT INDUSTRIES HAVE YOU NOTICED GROWTH IN DEMAND FOR FINANCE?
There has been an increase in owner-occupied commercial property and certainly the corporate or invoice factoring space. The banks would deem them non-secured transactions, there has been an increase there. There has been a bit of an increase in home loans, but that could die off in the next year.
WHAT SHOULD WE EXPECT FROM THE CURRENT AND/OR FUTURE BUSINESS CONDITIONS?
I’m hoping they stabilise, but I think that they are probably going to, my guts says, deteriorate. Quite a few companies are going under, but I’m hoping it’s not too bad. Once everyone is back out and about moving around I’m not sure if it’s going to be as good as we are hoping but I hope I’m wrong.
WHAT VALUABLE LESSONS HAVE YOU OR YOUR CLIENTS LEARNED AS A RESULT OF COVID-19?
You have got to be prepared to move, jump, and be nimble. Your current lender is not always your friend and is not always going to be there for you moving forward. You have to diversify your debt options.
Cashflow. Bringing it forward so that the business doesn’t have issues operating. Importantly not waiting for delayed payments from the people they are contracting to, so expediting those payments is the big thing. Cash flow and assisting the business with cash flow management.
Particularly who I deal with at Apricity, Andrew Collins. To me that is Apricity. The access that I have to Andy, knowing that I can ring him and if I don’t get him he will ring me back within a couple of hours. Also his knowledge in the space allows me to pick his brain.