Nicholas King, Chairman & CEO of Nicholas King Homes, describes how a long-term relationship with Close Brothers has helped his small business prosper.
My name is Nicholas King, I’m Chief Executive and Chairman of Nicholas King Homes. We build houses primarily in the South East of England and around London.
I wouldn’t class myself as a property developer, I’d class myself as a house builder. I’ve been in this industry for over 40 years. It feels very nice to be in charge of the company and do something that is creating homes and also being successful.
When we identify a piece of land that we’re keen to buy, it can very often be a short period of time that we have in which to make the decision. One of things that has been of great advantage to us with Close Brothers is that they’ve got a small enough chain of command that they’re able to make the decisions very quickly.
Banks are a very key part of the business and our relationships with banks are very important because I don’t have any outside investors, the money is entirely either mine or money that the banks make available to us. It’s a two-edged sword running your own business, you get the enjoyment of making the decisions, right or wrong, and then of course the other side of the coin is that you have to take total responsibility and so the buck stops with you.
A lot of banks have tended to dip in and dip out of the property market, Close Brothers has been consistent over the years and haven’t been dipping in and out of the market which is no good to a house-builder.
One of the advantages that Close Brothers has over the clearing banks is that they have specialists in house building so we, as developers and house builders, can sit down and talk to Close Brothers about what it is that we’re planning to do and get quick decisions.
We’ve, in regard to relationships, returned to what I’d describe as old fashioned banking where we know our bank and our bank knows us and that is very useful in terms of trust on both sides. It’s not a relationship with a company, it’s a relationship with people. I think that gives you a great deal of confidence in the bank that you’re dealing with if people stick by their decisions and don’t keep changing their minds.
Close Brothers have helped us over the years. They’ve lent us money when we needed to borrow money. They’ve helped us to thrive by making quick decisions and being consistent over the years.