Dublin-based alternative lender Relm Finance, which is backed by Irish businessman Richard Barrett and New York-based investment group Avenue Capital, expects to have provided up to €250 million in loans for property transactions by the end of this year.
This would be ahead of the original €200 million target that the non-bank lender set itself at the time of its launch in the middle of 2017. "We'll be well north of that by the end of this year," Relm's chief executive Paul Dowling told The Irish Times.
“If you take our pipeline, we’ll be around €250 million by the end of the year. We’re just busy.”
Mr Dowling said Relm has done about 35 deals and expects to have completed about 45 deals by the year end. Its lending to date includes four social housing loans in Dublin, Kerry and Mayo. These were either loans to approved housing bodies or direct leases with councils.
It has also provided about €10 million for office refurbishments, one being Phoenix House in Dublin. And it has also provided loans for student housing in Limerick, car parks in Laois, Wexford and Galway, and a number of pubs and crèches.
This includes the Lundy Foot's pub in Temple Bar, which underwent a major refurbishment.
Mr Dowling said the company had declined loans worth about €600 million, for a variety of reasons.
Relm, which stands for Real Estate Loan Management, is led by three experienced former AIB executives: Mr Dowling, head of origination Armand Lako, and David Renwick, its chief risk officer. All three are shareholders in the business, which has nine "core" staff with offices in Dublin and Cork and a representative in Galway.
The company provides lending for commercial and residential property, typically in the range of €1 million to €20 million over five years, and commits to offering fast credit decisions and efficient processing of applications. It will provide loans up to 75 per cent of the value of the property, and charges 6-8 per cent in interest.
Its largest deal has been valued at €26 million on an industrial site in Dublin. The company initially operated via an online platform but has actually done most of its business face-to-face with borrowers. “It’s just an Irish mentality,” Mr Dowling said.
Mr Dowling said the benefits of economic growth is beginning to percolate around the country. “Cork is very busy, and we’ve seen good activity in Limerick, Galway and other counties. It’s spreading out.”