Bridging  

Lender's staff face redundancy

Lender's staff face redundancy

Amicus Property Finance has ceased lending and begun a consultation on redundancies for its staff, after failing to secure a suitable funding deal.

FTAdviser understands that a statement on redundancies was read to all staff in a meeting earlier today (December 10).

The redundancies have not been confirmed but it is understood Amicus is taking advice and a period of consultation has now begun, with the firm "absolutely not" hiring or taking on new business.

An Amicus spokesperson said the lender had failed to reach a suitable funding deal with investors that satisfied its shareholders.

Amicus had been working towards securing a deal since withdrawing it application for a banking licence in 2017, but the spokesperson for the lender said it was unfortunate the search had taken longer than a year and was in no way a  "reflection on staff or performance".

The lender has ceased lending but will continue to service existing facilities.

According to a statement on the lender's website in August 2017, Amicus has offices in the West End, the City of London, Guildford, Peterborough and Manchester. 

The same statement detailed senior underwriter appointments to its Manchester team to "drive the business' growth plans in the region", with two joining from Nationwide Building Society and another from the Bank of Ireland. 

In an separate statement in August 2017 the lender reported a record month of lending the previous month at £72m, attributing the growth to a "confident and buoyant" short-term property lending market and recent Manchester expansion.

Martin Stewart, founder and director at London Money, said it was unfortunate to see any business in trouble, especially so close to Christmas.

He said: "I do think this is reminiscent of 2007 and 2008 - I had a quick look at the accounts for Amicus last week and there is a significant deterioration.

"Bridge lending is a last resort, so when last resort lending goes bad it is really an underlying  picture that property and development deals are not in a healthy position at the moment.

"It says an awful lot about the state of the UK economy, if big companies like this are struggling they will not be alone."

Mr Stewart said whilst Amicus' position is unfortunate, it is not a surprise and talk of redundancies would have been the final option after exhausting all other possibilities.

rachel.addison@ft.com