SME lending through Saffron

Jerry Lees is Chairman of Linear Investments and sits on the advisory board of Saffron Asset Finance. He talked to Kate Horne about how Saffron can support SME’s with a current loan requirement

“Saffron Asset Finance is a direct to market SME lending solution, set up in response to the lack of cost effective and easy to access solutions available in the market right now. As the proposition develops, Linear Investments will be working with Saffron to raise the capital for Saffron to provide the loans. In the mean time, Saffron has access to 50 plus lenders who will be working with the business to provide anything from a standard to a specialist loan.

There is a shortage of capital available in the market that suits small to medium sized enterprises in a structured way. Traditional banks would struggle to lend to that marketplace now, given the capital rules bought in with the advent of Basel III. It simply isn’t cost effective for those guys to look to offer finance to the SME market. Saffron Asset Finance provides capital and cash through a loan structure that is geared towards SME requirements specifically and that’s where we are filling that all important gap in the market.

Saffron will be working with accountancy firms as well as direct to market, as these are the people who are the ideal people to help their clients. They understand their clients, their business and their structure. They will be able to help their clients not only with what type of loan they want, but also help them with the application process.

The aim is to make life as easy as possible for the SME. The loan types Saffron offer include leasing, factoring, invoice factoring, financing and deliverable foreign exchange. We really have tried to create a whole of market solution. We can even include insurance and legal advice if that is what the business needs.

The current worldwide economic uncertainty will inevitably have an effect on SME’s. That is the reality. Saffron are approaching this market with a clean book. That speaks volumes. COVID-19 has impacted all businesses, and that includes our competitors in the SME loan market who are likely to be struggling with performance on their current loan book which in turn could affect the day they lend moving forwards. That is not something we have to worry about. So, we have a cautious but optimistic approach to new lending, and as long as an SME can show it has the appropriate asset to back their loan requirement then I am comfortable we will be able to get the right relationship in place to create the best fit and solution possible.”

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