Commercial mortgage lender to offer loans again after months in hibernation

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The Independent Online

Commercial First, the Essex-based mortgage lender that was forced into hibernation after closing its doors to new business last year, is set to recommence lending to its customers.

The lender, which is run by David Johnson, the Grand National winning horse-owner, is believed to have struck a deal with a number of banks that will allow it to advance loans once again.

Before the de facto closure of the securitisation markets, Commercial First was lending more than £1.5bn to small- and medium-sized enterprises.

The group's ability to lend once more is another sign that the worst of the credit crunch could be over.

Commercial First is 28 per cent owned by Lloyds Development Capital the private equity arm of Lloyds Banking Group. The remainder of the company's equity is held by Mr Johnson and management. The lender said earlier this year that it was in talks with a Mid Eastern company, that could have lead to a partial sale.

The group lobbied the Government heavily last year asking for assistance to begin lending once again.