Having just completed their first year in business, the sky is the limit for The Loan Hub. Kelly and Darrell Capps tell Emily Moore what the future holds for the firm.
With rising interest rates, soaring inflation and ever-increasing food and energy bills, there is no doubt that Islanders’ living expenses have gone up considerably over the past 12 months.
And, faced with these increased financial pressures, the prospect of reducing monthly outgoings has seemed like nothing more than a fantasy for many families.
Yet, as Kelly Capps, founder of The Loan Hub, explains, saving money has, in fact, been a reality for several Islanders over the past 12 months.
“In some ways, I launched The Loan Hub at the hardest time, as the financial markets were in turmoil,” reflected Kelly, whose company has just celebrated its first anniversary. “However, despite the challenges, we’ve had a brilliant year and I’m delighted that we’ve managed to help so many people to achieve their financial goals despite the cost-of-living crisis and rising interest rates.”
Indeed, while many homeowners have been hit with higher mortgages, Kelly says that, through debt consolidation loans, several people have been able to “compensate for these increases by reducing other outgoings”.
“Some people have come to us in response to changes, while others are taking action now in anticipation of the higher mortgage repayments they will face when their fixed rates expire,” she said.
“While taking out a loan might seem counterintuitive, by consolidating any debts such as credit cards, overdrafts or other loans, people can reduce their outgoings by up to £500 a month.”
Offering a wide range of finance solutions from debt consolidation and personal loans to business loans, motor and asset finance, property development loans and private mortgages, Kelly, who has more than a decade’s experience in the industry, says that the first two have been in particularly high demand this year.
“Because the housing market has come to a standstill, a lot of people whose mortgages are not about to go up are investing in their properties, so there has been a high demand for home-improvement loans,” she said.
With demand increasingly driven by word-of-mouth referrals, Kelly says The Loan Hub has now reached a point where it needs to expand.
“Having been completely reliant on marketing-driven leads a year ago, it is hugely gratifying that we are now seeing a lot of repeat business and referrals,” she said. “And, as the business has grown, I am hugely excited that we are now at a point where we can take on a second team member.”
And that team member is someone well known to Kelly – her husband, Darrell Capps, who has just joined the firm as business development manager.
“With more than 25 years’ experience in the motor and construction industries, Darrell is perfectly placed to support the company’s expansion, particularly when it comes to motor and asset finance and property development,” she said.
“His skills and knowledge will help us to identify further business opportunities and to develop new and existing relationships.”
And there are two key market segments which the couple have identified as growth areas.
“We have already helped several motorists to source new or nearly-new cars from the UK in moves which have saved them thousands of pounds,” Kelly said. “From identifying the vehicle and arranging for the VAT to be removed through to shipping the car to the Island, we can offer a comprehensive service, which saves people time and money.
“We are also keen to resume our work with Guernsey residents. Up until 1 July, we were able to arrange loans for people living in Guernsey but, following a regulatory change by the Guernsey Financial Services Commission, loans can only now be arranged by firms with a presence in the island.
“I very much hope, therefore, that during our second year of business, The Loan Hub will establish a Guernsey office and recruit a team member there.”
With such ambitious plans for the next 12 months, Kelly is both excited and relieved about the progress made during The Loan Hub’s first year.
“I was terrified about opening the business, but the fear was far greater than the reality,” she acknowledged. “Launching the business was actually really enjoyable and to have built the firm during such a turbulent time is testament to our hard work and reputation.
“Life goes on despite the pressures people are facing. They still need dental treatment or a car, or to pay their children’s university fees, and I’m delighted that we’ve been able to find the solutions to enable them to do that.”