Business provided with £8m support after funder existed SME market

Margaret Beattie

A BUSINESS owner who devoted her working life to creating a thriving hospitality business, only to face financial uncertainty due to her bank exiting the SME market, has successfully refinanced  £8m of debt with The Cumberland Building Society.

Chartered accountant, Margaret Beattie, poured her heart and soul into nurturing a chain of serviced apartments known as The Spires, but when her connection with her business lenders dissolved due to their exit from the SME market, she faced the challenge of refinancing in a difficult economic climate.

“I originally looked at a few different banks in Scotland, but they didn’t have an appetite to support a business in the hospitality market,” explained Margaret.

“It wasn’t until the brilliant team at Bespoke Business Finance widened the search that things started to look up.”

The Cumberland fought off competition from several other funders to secure the £8 million deal, recognising the strength of The Spires balance sheet and healthy trading position. 

“It was The Cumberland’s commitment to building a genuine relationship with me which stood out the most, making them the ideal financial partner,” said Margaret.

The Carlisle-headquartered building society, who specialise in providing funding to the hotel and hospitality sector, stepped in with a structured funding package, providing funding certainty with a long-term remortgage deal.

Notably, The Cumberland demonstrated a detailed understanding of Margaret’s business, whilst recognising her significant business expertise and acumen, so it wasn’t just about the strong financial performance. To ensure that The Cumberland delivered the solution that was right for her, she was assigned a dedicated expert to assist with the funding requirement.

Derek Smith, Business Development Manager at The Cumberland Building Society, emphasised the company’s commitment to a personalised service.

“We recognise a current lender’s lack of financial support can significantly impact a business owner’s confidence, but we pride ourselves on an approach that goes beyond transactional relationships to ensure the flourishing of the businesses we support,” he said.

“We are thrilled to be able to support The Spires with a significant funding package. At The Cumberland we believe in the power of the personal touch, and we are confident that our dedicated support will contribute to the continued success of The Spires. As we embark on this exciting partnership, we look forward to seeing Margaret’s business go from strength to strength. This collaboration embodies our commitment to fostering growth within the communities we serve,” he added.

‘‘Nick Harrison and Mike Parkinson of Bespoke Business Finance were key to facilitating this refinance. Their extensive knowledge of the hospitality sector, coupled with a detailed understanding of the financial and legal processes, was invaluable.’’ Derek advised.

Margaret’s involvement with The Spires began over 25 years ago. Originally joining as a temporary Finance Manager, she acquired 50% of the business and eventually took over the entire company in 2012, leading to the creation of The Spires Serviced Apartments UK Ltd. Under Margaret’s leadership, the business expanded to Glasgow, Birmingham, Edinburgh, and Cardiff, as well as the first site in Aberdeen.

Despite challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic, the business has continued to thrive since re-opening after the pandemic. 

The apartments prioritise functionality, providing fully equipped kitchens, and maintain a consistent offering across locations.

And the pet-friendly policy reflects adaptability, with a surge in pet stays during and since lockdown.

As Margaret extends her gratitude to The Cumberland for their pivotal role in navigating the challenges brought on by the uncertainty created by her previous lender, she emphasises their specialisation in hospitality lending.

“Having a financial partner who understands the sector in which we operate in is invaluable. They appreciate the challenges that the business is facing and are able to offer support accordingly,” she said. 

“You simply don’t get that with other lending partners, so I feel incredibly lucky.”

Nick Harrison from Bespoke Business Finance said: “Working with Margaret to find a new lender to support her business was an absolute pleasure. Her work ethic is inspiring, and her vast knowledge of the hospitality sector is enviable. 

“The Cumberland was an obvious choice to introduce Margaret to due to their fantastic people-first approach to lending, as well as their 20 years’ experience in the hospitality sector.”

For more information on The Spires Serviced Apartments, click here:

For more information on The Cumberland Building Society, click here:

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