Pawnbrokers in Weybridge? The word brings to mind a rather dingy, Dickensian world, doesn’t it? But Prestige Pawnbrokers in Queen’s Road is not like that. It’s clean, professional, airy – more like a bank or a building society office.
Which is exactly the point. In the modern world, where cash-poor-asset-rich individuals and small businesses have liquidity problems, pawnbrokers can be just like a bank – only more effective. Which is why Prestige’s proprietor James Constantinou set up the business.
“I realised I was dealing with lots of very successful professional people who had temporary cash flow problems as a result of the recession,” he says, “and I saw a gap in the market to provide a cost-effective way of helping them through it.”
We all know the old cliché: banks are delighted to lend you all the money you want – as long as you don’t need it. In an emergency many people find that a lifetime’s carefully protected credit rating counts for nothing.
“This is where we have the edge,” James adds. “All we need to worry about is the value of the items offered as security – we don’t have to ask patronising, long-winded questions about why you want the money and your budget for repayments.”
That’s one place where they score – the other is cost. Because the loan is effectively guaranteed, interest rates can be as low as 4%. Try getting that from one of our nationalised financial institutions.
The Weybridge business has had a storming opening month: examples include a local independent businessman pawning his Ferrari to raise funds to complete a property development project. The client was waiting for funds from a previous deal to be released; Prestige provided a quick and simple solution that avoided a cashflow crisis that could have ruined him.
Other items include a pair of classic Harley Davidsons pawned by a dealer looking to raise working capital from his stock – quicker, easier and cheaper than trying to secure an overdraft from his bank. Weybridge, like the rest of the country, is obviously having to tighten its belt. Prestige are providing a valuable extra solution to help people through their short term problems.