Fast Flexible Funding
Property-secured, short-term business loans that are flexible and affordable.
Bypass the bank. Avoid the red tape. Get funding fast.
Berkeley Finance is a secured lender. We lend exclusively to South African businesses by registering a mortgage bond against property. Our property-backed business loans are available when you need cash to invest in the growth of your business, buy equipment or stock, take advantage of a unique time-sensitive opportunity or renovate and flip a non-owner-occupied property.
We lend to businesses up to R5 million per transaction over a maximum term of 24 months.
The Berkeley Difference
- Apply in minutes
- 24-hour approval
- No upfront or early settlement fees
- Pay interest only on what you owe
- Competitive rates
- Flexible terms
Our staff are highly trained, professional and courteous. We are always available to answer any questions you may have. The process can be complicated and we are here to assist every step of the way. We care about your business and provide advice when it’s wanted and cash when you need it.
Our fee structure is clear and there are no "hidden fees". Our approach to granting loans is considered, straightforward and transparent, and you’ll always know where you stand.
We agree loan terms with you based on your property, your business management and your ability to repay comfortably. We even offer an “interest only” repayment option for the first six months – particularly useful if you have short-term cash flow concerns.
We’re investors more than lenders. We’ve partnered with scores of businesses, overseeing their growth from small-timers to major players. If you need fast funds to procure stock at a discount, expand production, or hire new talent, we’re ready to help you. Ultimately, we grow by helping you grow.
Who we are
At Berkeley Finance, we don’t just do things differently from other lenders. We do things differently full stop.
Berkeley Finance is one of South Africa’s top emerging asset-based financiers. We have already lent to many businesses across South Africa, offering loans up to R5m for a period of up to 24 months.
We secure our loans solely against expertly vetted property assets, supporting growing companies with the finance they need to flourish, and creating solutions that fit the needs of each individual business we work with.
At Berkeley, we combine the stability of bank finance with the flexibility and speed of alternative lending platforms. Our fast, no-nonsense processes deliver smooth, efficient financing for our clients, and our experienced business investment experts and relationship managers will ensure you are well looked after for the duration of the loan.
Our team of specialists have a wealth of experience in business finance, property law and banking.
We go to great lengths to get to know our clients better. To us, you aren’t a faceless credit rating, your property collateral, or how much money you can make us. We’re genuinely interested in your business. And in you – the person behind the business.
Ultimately, it’s this singularly personal approach that enables us to tailor loans so precisely attuned to your needs – to structure the kind of funding that will help your business grow.
This is who we are…
We believe lending should be conducted in a straightforward manner, and be made as simple and as flexible as possible.
- Our overriding objective is to ensure your experience is simple, rewarding and affordable.
- Our funding decisions are based on common sense not common practice.
- Our approach to granting loans is considered, straightforward and transparent.
- We try meet all borrowers and target lending to businesses doing what they have demonstrably done before.
- We make sure our clients know what they're doing so that we know what we're getting.
If you believe in your business and we believe in your business, let’s do business.
- Integrity and Trust
- Simplicity and Responsiveness
- Passion and Commitment
What Is Property-Backed Finance?
Unlike most online lending platforms, at Berkeley Finance we secure bricks and mortar against your funding.
Property-backed finance is precisely what it sounds like: a secured business loan using residential property (provided it’s not your primary residence), commercial property, or industrial property as collateral, allowing your business to borrow what it needs, when it needs it – at competitive rates.
We make it our policy to establish a strong face-to face relationship with each borrower. We adopt a case-by-case approach to our lending decisions, weighing up each loan application individually, and taking into consideration a whole host of criteria that banks and other funders don’t generally look at when approving a loan.
Why Berkeley Finance?
With the economy the way it is, banks aren’t giving businesses value against their property. Even where businesses do get loans, the funding isn’t sufficient, the approval process is too drawn out and bureaucratic, and the terms are too inflexible.
At the same time, while there are plenty of unsecured lenders in the SA market helping businesses get funding, their rates are sky high, and their repayment terms prohibitive and inflexible.
Berkeley Finance brings you the best of both worlds. We are faster and more flexible than a bank – and more reliable, more secure and more affordable than most other smaller lenders.
How we Work and how you Qualify
We don’t need your detailed business plans. We won’t give you the third degree. Our processes are fuss-free, face-to-face, and quick, our loan terms flexible, affordable and fully transparent.
Our process is very simple. Once you’ve submitted the three documents we require and answered short questionnaire, we can size up a deal very quickly and determine whether we can help you. After a quick meeting and a follow-up phone call, we can get the ball rolling setting up the bond against the property. The entire initial approval process can take just 24 hours.
You’ll deal directly with the funders and owners, and each application is evaluated on a case-by-case basis. If we believe in the people and the values of your business; if your business is valued at over R1m; and if there’s a defined exit event, the loan is yours.
We can even approve start-ups – we just need to see potential. There is no need for extensive audited financials. We also lend to businesses where directors/shareholders have judgments or potential tax issues, furnishing them with funding that can help them alleviate these issues.
If your business does not fit standard lending criteria or even if you have a history of bad credit, we still want to hear your story and you could still be eligible for funding.
At the same time, the last thing we want is to take your property – we only need it as security. We are very careful with funding only where we are confident you can repay without defaulting.
Ultimately, we are looking to help South African businesses grow, helping you take advantage of opportunities and giving you the boost you need to take things to the next level.
Your Growth Is Our Business
If you need fast funds to procure stock at a discount, expand production, or hire new talent, we’re ready to help you.
In some ways, we are investors more than lenders. Over the years, we’ve partnered with scores of businesses across South Africa. If you’re interested in expanding production, buying more stock or hiring new talent, then so are we. Ultimately, we grow by helping you grow.
We’re not looking to stretch you to breaking point, or to take your property. It’s not in your interest and it’s certainly not in ours. We want to release your business from its financial straits – to liberate you from your limitations – not shackle you to unpayable debts. Ultimately, we’re interested in overseeing your growth as a business, partnering with you long-term as you employ our cash injections to highly productive effect – and pursue the kind of growth your business was meant to pursue.
At Berkeley Finance, we look at the people who stand behind the business. Dialogue is vital to our decision process. Validating each deal on its individual merits, we take into account all sorts of criteria that a bank (and most other lenders) would normally disregard.
Ultimately, we seek to understand not just our client’s product, but the way they run their business and how they can extract optimum value from our loan.
Better Than A Bank
With Berkeley Finance you wont break the bank. You’ll bypass it altogether.
One of our founding tenets as a business is to open up the loans industry to those otherwise unjustly excluded by large banks and other establishment lending institutions.
Our goal is to democratise and humanise the loans industry. Working through both formal and informal channels, we strive to get to know your business in a more holistic sense, taking into account more than just narrow barometers such as credit ratings and financial statements. We’re more interested in where your business is going than where it’s been.
We’re also faster, more agile and more efficient than a bank. There’s no bureaucracy, and you won’t need to provide us with reams of complex documentation. We operate under the philosophy that loans not only should be more accessible, but also affordable and repayable. And that it should never be one size fits all.
Which isn’t to say we give money away recklessly. Far from it in fact. We’re only interested in funding businesses that can pay back their loans. After all, our own business depends on it.
Short-Term Loans, Long-Term Vision
Loans have never been so secure.
The people behind Berkeley Finance have a strong track record and proud reputation and we don't intend jeopardising that by dishing out reckless, inadvisable loans. We've helped countless small businesses grow for many years and we intend doing so for many more. Our loans are short term. Our vision isn't.
For us, the safety of a loan is sacrosanct. If we’ve approved you for a loan, you can feel secure in the knowledge that we’ve done enough vetting to know you can pay it back. Our own ability to provide the loan is reinforced by the backing we receive from major private equity investors.
We embrace responsible business practices – and not just because it’s the right thing to do. As a business rather than a bank, our reputation is our lifeblood – fundamental to our ability to operate. Unlike banks, we don’t have governments bailing us out when we don’t do our due diligence. Which is why we always do.
The Berkeley Team
Our international investment team comprises a select group of highly competent like-minded individuals who believe in doing things differently, based firmly on a set of shared values and principles. These are investors who have run hedge funds across the world. They believe in South African businesses and in South Africa’s strong investment potential, and are dedicated to the task of helping businesses grow where banks won’t.
We also have a team of hard-working account managers and finance experts on the ground in Johannesburg, evaluating properties and ensuring your funding journey is smooth, easy and predictable.
In addition, we have a longstanding partnership with a highly regarded legal firm based in the heart of Rosebank, that works closely with the major banks, and does all of our bond registrations.
Meet the Fund Manager
Ryan Lazarus is an international investment banker, and entrepreneur, who has been lending since the age of 22.
Backing various businesses in a variety of industries, locally and internationally, over the past two decades, he has lent cumulatively over R400m. Ryan is the co-founder and Director of RM Capital, and has a BSC (Finance) from the University of Utah (USA) – Magna Cum Laude. As an analyst in the mergers and acquisitions division at Morgan Stanley New York, he gained insight into complex and high-level funding transactions and valuations.
Ryan co-founded Blackheath Loans and First Provincial Credit in London, UK where for both companies he sourced, negotiated and structured fundraising deals and set up all the systems and processes to extend millions of pounds of loans successfully into the UK consumer market with very low bad debt rates.
He funded, managed and grew a number of other businesses in the UK (Your Gold for Cash, amongst others) and South Africa (Other Mother Music, amongst others), with many having been successfully sold to third parties. Ryan was CEO of RM Capital for four years and grew the book 100%+ year on year for 3 years consecutively with very low bad debt rates.
Ryan takes a uniquely hands-on approach to lending. He personally oversees each loan, dealing directly with clients, and, remarkably, has never had to seize assets on a defaulted loan. With his experience as a private equity and real estate investor, investing in and growing multiple businesses and real estate portfolios, he understands what makes a business and property tick – when to invest and when not to.
In recent years, with the establishment of Berkeley Finance, his focus has been on the local market. He has helped hundreds of South African small businesses and business owners, as well as top professionals, including leading advocates, doctors and accountants. He is particularly passionate about developing black businesses, and has lent to scores of young black entrepreneurs and small businesses, ranging from R1000 to R300000.
He has also leveraged his close relationships with investors in Europe, and having gained the trust of leading international hedge fund managers during his time in the UK, has conscripted their support for Berkeley Finance.
These international partners recognise South African investments as a risk but also an opportunity for high returns – and they are willing to take the risk based on Ryan’s track record of sound investment decisions and their commitment to helping businesses grow where banks won’t.
Ryan continues to be a major shareholder of RM capital, and is registered with the National Credit Regulator.