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New loan firm eyes rapid growth in more stable market

PUBLISHED: 09:55 11 March 2015 | UPDATED: 09:55 11 March 2015

The team at the new loan lender business, Talk Loans, in Prince of Wales Road. From left, Callum Smith, loan expert; Rob Westbury, CEO; Alex Clarke, head of marketing; and David Butler, director of operations. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

The team at the new loan lender business, Talk Loans, in Prince of Wales Road. From left, Callum Smith, loan expert; Rob Westbury, CEO; Alex Clarke, head of marketing; and David Butler, director of operations. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Copyright: Archant 2015

A new loans company in Norwich believes the improving market will allow rapid expansion.

Talk Loans, which opened in Prince of Wales Road, Norwich, at the start of the month, already has five staff and a major lender as a partner as more lenders start to return to an improving market.

Robert Westbury, co-founder and CEO of the company, said a more stable market was good news for customers seeking loans, too.

“Two years ago, if you had any bad credit, you only really had the pay day loan option,” he said. “But now more lenders are coming back onto the market, so we can offer a range right across the market, whether you have great credit or poor credit.”

The company did not deal with pay day lenders, said Mr Westbury, saying they were usually not a good idea and that online loan companies in particular did not protect data.

“During the credit crunch especially we saw ‘ping trees’, which are supposed lenders who ping people’s details all around the market,” he explained.

“The purely online model is very anonymous, and once you’ve lost control of that data you have no idea where it’s gone.”

Having worked for the mortgage broker Central Trust in Norwich after leaving college, the Dereham-born 32-year-old said he hoped to build a team of staff which encouraged customers to be clear about their finances.

“What I’m looking for in new staff is mainly the ability to get the customer to open up and be honest about their situation,” he said.

“We have this British culture of not talking about money properly, and it doesn’t help if you want to get customers strong loans.”

The customer-centred approach had won the business a strong partner already, he added, and with sights set on one or two other major players, Mr Westbury said a team of 25 to 30 was not implausible in the next 12 months.

Talk Loans will be focused on consumer finance, which is money lent for items such as one-off gifts, holidays, cars and additional other costs, and does not deal with mortgages or high street bank lending.

“We’re going to be covering around 50 to 60pc of the market,” he said. “We encourage customers to really investigate and find something that’s less expensive and better for them.”

Has your business seen its market improve? Contact business writer Jess Staufenberg on 01603-772531, email jessica.staufenberg@archant.co.uk or tweet @StaufenbergJ.

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