A company specialising in “posh pawn” has set up shop in the city, and boss Neil Mitchinson says Edinburgh Asset Finance (EAF) has been swamped with cash poor big hitters looking to use their Bentleys as collateral on discrete mega loans.
With a burgeoning client base mostly made up of asset-rich and temporarily cash-poor middle class people, Mr Mitchinson is delighted to be sought out as an alternative to bank managers.
He keeps an open mind on the items he accepts, but has revealed artwork, bullion, sports cars, and watches such as Patek Philippe and Rolex feature heavily on his list of acceptable items.
One client, an Edinburgh businessman keen to set up a new venture, used an expensive Scottish painting as security against a loan.
Another client put forward a Ferrari to boost his funds.
Meanwhile, an American student offered his top-of-the-range camera equipment in order to get enough cash in his account to secure a visa to study in Edinburgh.
So why are more people handing over their treasured items temporarily in exchange for cash?
Mr Mitchinson said: “There is no impact on a customer’s current or future borrowing capacity. A conventional loan can stay on record for up to six years after completion.
“It is quick. There is no need for credit checks or affordability assessments and funds are normally in place within 24 hours of making contact. What’s more, we are discreet and professional. All customers are seen by appointment and all details treated in the strictest confidence.”
The businessman added: “EAF loans are flexible and the loan terms of up to seven months.
“There is no minimum period and there are no early redemption charges.
“There are no set-up fees and no hidden charges and our rates are between four and seven per cent per month. Not cheap, but good value for quick emergency cash.
“Also, we are lending at a time when many traditional high street lenders are unwilling, unable or simply too slow to help.”
He added: “There has been a good take-up so far from both business leaders and those with personal cash shortfalls.
“I am not looking to buy stuff cheap, I am looking to loan and help people out. At the end, if they have not been able to pay anything we will consult with them and sell the item and any surplus left goes back to the customers.”