Redbridge small business owners turning to pawnbrokers for loans, says regional chief

H&T Pawnbrokers manager Addy Archodakis inside the shop with staff Nosheen Ahmad, Jan Harrison and S

H&T Pawnbrokers manager Addy Archodakis inside the shop with staff Nosheen Ahmad, Jan Harrison and Syed Ali - Credit: Archant

Redbridge small business owners are increasingly turning to pawnbrokers to secure loans, according to the regional manager of a national pawnbroking chain.

They are using high value items such as watches and jewellery to gain the loans, which are frequently used to cover cash flow, to buy stock or to fund refurbishments.

Mark Harrold, the regional manager of H&T Pawnbrokers, which has two Ilford stores in Cranbrook Road and High Road, said: “Business loans have always happened but we’ve seen an upturn in the demand.

“An example is a customer buying a restaurant. They needed £20,000 to clinch the deal. We agreed a loan and it was repaid within a month.”

H&T has operated its Cranbrook Road site for more than 10 years and opened up in High Road in the last year.

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It offers four main services – pawnbroking, gold buying, jewellery retail and financial services, including cheque cashing and payday and short-term loans.

The company lent £15,000 to a building contractor who used watches as collateral.

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Addy Archodakis, manager of the Cranbrook Road shop, said: “We give customers all the information, everything is in front of them and they can feel comfortable and we lay out what will be repaid. It’s not the old pawnbroking of taking stuff and selling it on.”

Pawnbroking remains the company’s main source of business out of its Cranbrook Road store, with £150 to £200 the average amount lent against items.

There is an 80 per cent retention rate of goods for customers nationally, according to Mr Harrold.

And he said the High Road store “offered an opportunity because it is more central” and it hasn’t “affected the first store detrimentally”.

The Ilford stores have made 125 business loans this year, with a total value of around £100,000.

The two biggest loans in Ilford in 2013 have been for £2,900 and £3,200.

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