Central Real Capital, a boutique private lending business considered a genuine alternative to mainstream banks, takes pride in its approach to lending, describing it as fast, flexible and reliable. “This is made possible thanks to our team’s breadth of experience across both property and finance,” says CEO David Stone. The origins of Central Real Capital hail back to the lender’s founder, entrepreneurial businessman Tony Denny, returning from Eastern Europe following a successful career in the automotive industry. “Tony spent 25 years in Eastern Europe establishing a motor vehicle distribution group that became one of the largest automotive dealership networks in the world. During his time at the helm, the company bought and sold over 1.5 million cars and had more than 4,000 employees across 40 sites in five countries,” says Stone.
After selling the company, Denny founded the internationally renowned Gosford Classic Car Museum (one of the largest privately owned car collections in the world) before returning to Australia. Back in Australia, Denny invested funds in property development, specialising in medium-density residential developments. Investing over $400m in regional development gave Denny a front-row seat to the underlying frustrations borrowers frequently encountered when it came to bank funding. Seeing the opportunity to provide a less-constrained and accelerated lending process, Denny founded Central Real Capital. He applied his mindset as a property developer to private lending, focusing on offering independent and innovative lending solutions for residential, commercial and development loans.
Central Real Capital has continued to grow and now has its home at new headquarters in Double Bay, NSW. Stone says the lender’s typical clients are property professionals and property developers who appreciate both improved leverage and better delivery times when it comes to obtaining finance.
“We’ve sought these clients from a dedicated group of commercial brokers that we have in-depth relationships with,” he explains.
Joining the Central Real family
So, how did Stone himself come to be part of the Central Real Capital team? His property journey began with a bachelor’s degree in interior design from the University of Technology Sydney (UTS), before shifting gears within the property sector.
“After I had finished my undergraduate degree, I began working at a large architectural firm. I found that this creative endeavour wasn’t always so creative, and my passion was centred around talking to clients and solving problems rather than design,” Stone says.
Fascinated by how many clients had built wealth via property, he decided to start working closely with his grandfather, who was a developer and also worked on a commission basis for a mortgage broking business.
“It was at this time I could see the strong link between development and finance,” Stone says.
When his first child was born, Stone made the move to a job with a more consistent source of income.
“I began my career in banking with the Commonwealth Bank, who supported me in my master’s of property development at UTS. From there I moved into more senior property finance roles at St. George and ING,” he says.
Stone joined the Central Real Capital team in 2021, where he has been able to apply his knowledge and experience to his role as CEO.
“A recruiter reached out to me via LinkedIn to see if I had an appetite for a senior role in private lending. From there, I had a number of interviews with Tony in both Sydney and on the Central Coast, and I really wanted the job after hearing the vision.”
After a lengthy recruitment process, Stone was offered the CEO role, which he accepted on the spot. “I was thrilled and haven’t looked back since. Tony is an inspiring leader and has given me the autonomy to build a market-leading team around me.”
Stone says there were a number of other reasons he accepted the CEO role.
“I had done my research on Tony and his entrepreneurial history and property development expertise, and I was convinced that he had the business acumen and balance sheet to execute on the vision.”
It also fit Stone’s desire to change from corporate banking and provided the opportunity to work for a smaller and more nimble company.
Standing out from the crowd
While the competition is fierce, Stone says Central Real Capital’s attention to providing speed, flexibility and reliability is just one of the factors that gives the lender its competitive edge in the market.
“Our success is driven by our team of experienced property, finance and law specialists. Central Real Capital is 100% onshore, which is also a factor in our ability to guarantee genuine speed to market.
“Our reliability is afforded by our in-depth relationships with our commercial broker network. We’re also cognizant of our reputation in a very competitive marketplace – we don’t deliver term sheets unless we’re going to deliver on them,” Stone says.
To date, Central Real Capital has funded over $300m in commercial property loans. As the company embarks on further revenue raising, Stone says it has focused on bedding don processes and procedures to ensure it is best in market before engaging with sophisticated investors, which the lender is no on track to do.
“Our proposition will differ in the market because it will be one investor per loan. They’ll have unprecedented rights and controls when it comes to the vehicle they are investing in.
“Add to that conservative loan-to-value rations and that Central Real Capital will be sitting beside them, and i believe this is something that’s unique in the market,” says Stone.
In the past few months alone, Central Real Capital has delivered equity loans enabling clients to move ahead with multimillion-dollar residential redevelopment, refinance current debts to provide working capital, and purchase a substantial residential development – to name a but a few projects.
Big picture, the non-bank lender’s future looks incredibly optimistic. In 2022, Central Real Capital engaged EY to look at leveraging its book to propel the company into an exciting time of growth.
“Central Real Capital navigates the capital stack predominantly with first and second mortgage lending opportunities. This year, we’re looking to expand that into more preferred equity transactions, as well as ordinary equity transactions as the total package,” says Stone.
Add to that the lender’s breadth of experience in property, and Stone says Central Real Capital can also look towards joint ventures with appropriate partners.
Source: Australian Broker – www.brokernews.com.au