A new Dublin-based company backed by Irish businessman Richard Barrett and New York-based investment group Avenue Capital has launched a €200 million fund for commercial property lending here over a seven-year period.
Called Real Estate Loan Management (Relm) Finance, it is part of the Bartra group of companies owned by Mr Barrett, a co-founder of the former Treasury Holdings property developer.
It is led by three experienced former AIB executives: chief executive Paul Dowling, head of origination Armand Lako, and David Renwick, its chief risk officer. All three are shareholders in the business, which has eight staff.
The new fund had a soft launch a number of weeks ago and has already approved about €30 million in loans to various parties. These include a pub in Dublin, a residential block outside the capital and a retail unit.
It will formally launch today and will lend between €1 million and €25 million for a five-year term, with interest rates typically starting at about 6 per cent a year. A maximum loan-to-value ratio of 80 per cent will be applied to loans.
Relm plans to provide new loans to companies, businesses and investors across Ireland and in all asset classes, including residential, offices, retail and hospitality.
This is the first fund to be offered by the company, which is confident about expanding its lending in the future.
Relm plans to provide decisions on loans to customers within four days, and full draw down of the money four to five weeks after approval. It has launched an app, called Cents Check, to help customers determine what size of loan they might be eligible for.
All loans issued by Relm will be non-recourse to the debtor, secured primarily by property assets .
Mr Dowling said Relm’s business model would be “risk averse” and would offer a number of “distinct advantages” to property investors here.
“We’ll be lending on suitable investments nationwide and this will contribute strongly to economic growth and development,” he said. “Customers will benefit through a streamlined system from the initial application to the full drawdown of funds, providing high levels of certainty for their investment process.”
Avenue's other Irish investments include backing Cork property developer Michael O'Flynn in securing control of his business in Ireland from Blackstone (Nama sold his borrowings to the company).