53% of brokers open with full pre-COVID-19 capacity

Fifty-three per cent of property and commercial finance brokers have reported they are open for business with 100% of their pre-COVID-19 capacity, according to research from United Trust Bank (UTB).

The bank’s Broker Sentiment Survey indicated that a further 18% of brokers are operating at around 75% capacity.

The survey, carried out amongst more than 120 brokers in the last week of June, revealed that while 40% of brokers are currently operating with less than a quarter of their staff typically in the office, 72% of respondents expected to have all their staff back working in the office on a regular basis by the end of October.

UTB said that another 17% of brokers indicated it was unlikely their business would ever return to the working arrangements which existed before lockdown. Sixty-three per cent of brokers suggested that they would be likely to maintain flexible and more home working even once the pandemic is over.

UTB group managing director, Harley Kagan, commented: “The relaxation of social distancing measures and travel restrictions has enabled many staff to return to work, though clearly it will be some time before brokers and lenders can be fully staffed, and that’s if they choose to return to the same working practices they had in place before the pandemic hit.

“How long it takes for property and asset finance markets to recover remains to be seen and broker opinions are divided. The threat of a second wave of COVID-19 is ever present and avoiding another widespread lockdown is vital to the recovery of our industry and the UK economy as a whole. Recent events in Leicester show how easily the pandemic can resurface and extend disruption and we hope brokers, colleagues and customers stay safe and well.

“The UK’s SME house builders and countless other businesses need support from Government, lenders and brokers not only to source funding to help them survive the inevitable recession, but to seize opportunities when they arise and we will continue to work alongside our broker partners to help get Britain back on its feet.”

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