BELFAST Commercial Funding, the newest provider of commercial finance throughout Ireland, has strengthened its management team with the recruitment of a senior figure from the commercial lending sector in the north.
Ciaran McLaughlin joins the lender as head of business development from Danske Bank, where he worked for nine years as corporate banking manager and previously corporate acquisition manager. He has previously worked in Ulster Bank.
Belfast Commercial Funding (BCF) has already made more than £30 million of loans to businesses across Ireland, north and south, and is the first non-bank lender to be founded in Belfast.
Ciaran said the changing nature of the commercial lending market was the driving force behind his decision to make the move to BCF.
“There has been an unmet need in the commercial funding market for a lender who was prepared to be more attuned to risk and opportunity. I worked with Gareth Graham and the Oakland team as they rolled out the hugely significant and successful Merchant Square which is now fully let, has been re financed and now sold.
“That kind of redevelopment and regeneration is driven by quick, dynamic decision making. The model which is operated by Belfast Commercial Funding – a small team with increased flexibility and empowerment within the team – is new and exciting, and having seen it up close I was attracted to be part of the solution to filling the gap in the lending market.
“We are already seeing interest in our offer from across the island of Ireland and I am looking forward to partnering our loan applicants as they develop new and transformative projects. That is already happening in Belfast, Cork, Coleraine, Dublin and many other towns and cities.”
Businessman Gareth Graham established BCF following the sale of Merchant Square in 2021 in what was the largest private sector commercial sale to date in Northern Ireland.
Welcoming Ciaran to the BCF team he said: “It was important for us to build a team which is experienced and hungry to do more deals. We knew from our efforts to develop Merchant Square that the traditional model of commercial lending simply does not work in Northern Ireland any more.
“In the end we secured funding for Merchant Square in London and New York and BCF is moving into the gap in the local market. Ciaran brings a wealth of commercial lending experience to this role and will strengthen the offer we are providing to businesses across multiple sectors in Ireland, north and south.”
BCF has already advanced loans in both euros and sterling ranging from €/£200,000 to €/£3m, to a range of businesses who are already making a positive impact on the wider economy.