Signature Private Finance has just delivered its best ever month, lending £6.1M to property developers across the country to help support their ambition to provide the desirable properties people are crying out for.

Despite the figures and contrary to what some might think, the life of a CEO for a short-term property finance business like ours, is not all long lunches and dinners in the City.

However, given the effort expended to secure such good figures, I was happy to accept a lunch invitation from one of our funders, Shawbrook Bank.

This was not just a lunch invite however, but the opportunity to enjoy the first day’s play in the England versus Pakistan Test Match at the home of cricket, Lord’s.

Shawbrook Bank is one source of funding for Signature and is a specialist savings and lending bank. It aims to serve the needs of SMEs and individuals in the UK with a range of lending and saving products.

Perhaps to put our lending in perspective, at 31 December 2017 Shawbrook’s total lending reached £4.9 billion, with more than £4.4 billion raised in customer deposits.

In recent weeks, recognising our performance in April was no fluke, Shawbrook has increased our funding line – which is good news for us and the brokers looking to do simple, quick, no-nonsense deals for their clients.

Shawbrook has also amended and improved our criteria, which has allowed us to borrow more from them – important given the growing interest in Signature from property developers and brokers, attracted by the low rates, in-house decisions and personal service that set our service apart.

My host for the day was Warren Mutch, Director Structured Finance, who welcomed me to the impressive Marylebone Suite, with a nice long breakfast served long before play started at 11.00 – important not to rush days like these.

Fortunately, the rain had cleared, although the overhead cloudy conditions hinted at early swing despite a dry pitch – the toss would be all-important. Win the toss and bowl first Joe, was the consensus around the room from those of us in early.

We won the toss, chose to bat and did it quite poorly – the rest is history and well-done Pakistan. What we needed out in the middle on Day One, was a solid, high-quality opening batsman who knew how to fight, a bit like our Marylebone Suite host, Graham Gooch.

Our expressions sort of sum up the cricket, but in reality, it was a great day and there is nothing quite like the atmosphere of the first day of a Test Match at Lord’s.

I would have been thankful just for a ticket in the stands to watch the cricket, but to include breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea, plenty of drink and a room full of interesting people to network with, I couldn’t thank Warren and his team at Shawbrook enough.

Signature is now delivering on its early promise and I expect more good months ahead for our growing underwriting team. I just hope in the Second Test at Headingly, England’s display is more like ours, with lots of good numbers and a great all-round team performance.

Anyone know a Bank looking for good returns that just happens to have a spare ticket for Headingly?