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04 December 2017 | Commercial Finance

Christie Finance – 40th Anniversary

1977. The year that Star Wars arrived from a Galaxy Far Far Away, Jimmy Carter became the President of the United States of America, and James Bond was encountering Jaws for the first time in The Spy Who Loved Me. It was also the year that gave birth to Tom Hardy, Orlando Bloom and Reliance Consumer Credit (eventually to become Christie Finance).

40 years ago, Christie Owen & Davies recognised a hole in the market for a professional, independent broker who could advise the buyers of the businesses which they were selling. And so the brokerage arm of Christie Group was founded, based at our Head Office in London.

The finance market four decades ago was a very different place to what we see now.  Interest rates were very much higher than we see today. In 1977, the Bank of England Base Rate dropped from 14% at the start of the year to finish the year at 7%. These fluctuations continued over the next 2 decades until the recession in the early 1990’s which forced the government to reduce the rate gradually until it hit  its all time low of 0.25% in 2016.  A long way from those eye-watering days.

Commercial lending was very much dominated by the traditional high street lenders such as Midland Bank, National Provincial, Lloyds and Barclays, along with the government-owned National Girobank. Branches of these banks were prevalent on every high street and lending decisions were made by the branch manager, who had a wealth of local knowledge.

Over the decades, banks have merged, demerged, reinvented themselves and, more recently, have found themselves in a much more competitive market. As the Banking Crisis of 2008 really took hold and the traditional lenders retreated into their shells, others saw opportunities and applied for banking licences. These ‘Challenger Banks’ started to open doors again for businesses wanting to trade out of the recession. A new type of lending format arrived- Peer-to-Peer lenders - linking up investors and borrowers in a much more direct way. This has allowed savers, who were getting very low interest on their money in the bank, to invest directly into businesses for a potentially higher return. In 2017 so far, our brokerage business has dealt with over 50 lenders as the market continues to diversify.

Since 1977, as the world of High Street banking has changed, we have grown and developed. A small brokerage covering the whole of the country, but based in London, began to recognise the importance of local knowledge and accessibility for clients.  The first regional office in Glasgow was soon followed by Manchester and Birmingham before all 16 Christie & Co offices across the country were represented by our finance brokerage business.

The name was changed from RCC to Christie First to reflect the strong link between the sister companies, and this was later to become Christie Finance, where we are today.

Throughout our 40 years of existence, Christie Finance, in all of its guises, has stood for a few core values: Independence, Integrity, Professionalism and Honesty – with the Customer at the heart of every transaction.

We are specialist brokers covering the hospitality, care, retail and medical sectors. Linking up with the Christie & Co specialists – Christie Finance is one of the largest independent commercial mortgage brokerages in the country. Based across 5 regional Hubs, we have nationwide coverage, allowing us to continue to tap into the local knowledge which is key to a client financing proposition.

Reflecting the changing market and our own place in that market, we now have a Christie Finance Corporate and Christie Finance Unsecured offering in addition to our core SME market.

Christie Finance has evolved over its 40 year existence from a small, niche brokerage in London to a nationwide team of award winning professionals who all look forward with determination to continue the tradition of delivering the highest level of service to customers into the next 40 years.