Despite the challenges presented by Brexit uncertainty, a downgrading of UK economic growth and a cooling of the residential property market in some areas, most brokers enjoyed a successful 2017 and are positive about the year ahead, United Trust Bank (UTB) has reported.
The bank’s most recent broker sentiment poll, carried out amongst over 140 intermediaries operating in property and asset finance, found that 33% achieved better business results than expected last year and a further 43% found their performance to be around what they’d planned. 22% described their year as slightly below target and just 2% felt they’d had a poor 2017.
When asked about the outlook for their businesses in 2018, 56% of brokers predicted it would be a good year and a further 35% expected it to be ‘steady’. However, the remaining 9% were concerned that 2018 could be a difficult year for them.
UTB asked brokers if they were concerned that the Office for Budget Responsibility had downgraded UK economic growth forecasts for the next three years. Although 45% of respondents who expressed an opinion said they were worried about the more pessimistic outlook, 55% dismissed the forecast.
Harley Kagan (pictured), group managing director of United Trust Bank, said: “I’m very pleased to see that an overwhelming majority of brokers achieved or exceeded their business plans in 2017 and this reflects UTB’s experience in delivering another record breaking year for lending. Like most brokers in the survey, we also have an optimistic outlook and have developed our teams with a view to increasing our business volumes across the country whilst maintaining the consistency and reliability our broker partners have come to expect.
“We will also continue to explore and implement opportunities and innovations such as the substantial Enable Guarantee, provided by the Government backed British Business Bank, which we announced in November last year. This will allow us to significantly increase our development finance lending to SME house builders, assisting them in their vital contribution to the delivery of much needed new housing.
“There will of course be further change and more challenges to overcome, and overcome them we will. The implementation of the GDPR in May will require us, and most companies we deal with, to devote resource to ensuring that obligations under the new regulations are met whilst remaining focused on growing our business, meeting the needs of our brokers and helping our customers to achieve their goals.”