Our Team

Experienced, pragmatic and motivated to lend

Introduction

With over 200 years of combined real estate experience, the Zorin team is perfectly equipped to understand our borrowers and their business needs. In their lifetime, our employees have originated in excess of 3bn worth of loans across 700 facilities, including senior debt, mezzanine finance and joint venture equity. Between us, we have the knowledge to structure debt across multiple assets classes including: residential, hotels, commercial and student accommodation, making us a one stop shop for our clients.

Management Team

Luke Townsend

Founder & CEO
+44 (0)20 7650 1801

Luke’s career began in the media industry working for several blue-chip companies including Clear Channel, The Wall Street Journal and latterly AOL-Time Warner. A passion for property led to a change in profession and he began developing and re-purposing prime real estate in London with great success. However, his frustration with the service he received from banks during this time led him to consider a better way of lending and in 2011 he created Zorin Finance. To date, Luke has personally invested in over 200 real estate loans and equity investments and continues to head Zorin as its Chief Executive Officer.

Benoit Vanpoperinghe

Chief Operating Officer
+44 (0)20 7650 1813

Benoit has over 23 years' experience in commercial real estate finance, securitisation and capital markets, having previously held positions at Barclays, Morgan Stanley and Fitch Ratings. Throughout his career, Benoit has held roles in real estate finance, including real estate loan origination and execution in UK/Europe, real estate loan underwriting and credit analysis. Benoit was previously trading real estate backed bonds at Barclays, as well as managing a portfolio of legacy bonds and structuring real estate fixed income securities.

Andrew Scotting

Chief Lending Officer
+44 (0)20 7650 1802

Andrew has over 30' years experience within the real estate finance industry, having previously held positions at Pluto Finance, Heritable Bank and Investec. Andrew has structured hundreds of real estate transactions both in the UK and Europe and has extensive expertise in the stretched senior debt and mezzanine finance sectors. In addition to his excellent loan origination and relationship management skills, Andrew is a seasoned credit risk analyst with a strong background in distressed debt work-outs. Andrew holds a BA hons degree in Estate Management from Reading University.

Robert Foley

Head of Investment Loans
+44 (0)77 3061 8516

Prior to joining Zorin Finance, Robert was a Senior Director with Santander Real Estate originating and structuring commercial real estate debt transactions across multiple sectors. Previously, he held positions with AIB Capital Markets and PwC. He has worked in financial services for over 20 years in Ireland, the USA and the UK and has extensive experience in both origination and restructuring of real estate debt transactions. Robert is a Chartered Accountant and holds a BComm Hons degree from University College Dublin.

Alexander Banbury

Lending Director
+44 (0)20 7650 1800

Alex has over 15 years' banking and financial services experience. Prior to joining Zorin, he was a Director in the commercial real estate team at a challenger bank, originating and executing commercial and residential investment loans. He has broad credit experience, having previously focused on SME finance and debt advisory at the bank. Prior to this, Alex worked in renewable energy investment and development. He started his career in investor relations, advising UK listed companies and alternative investment funds.

Vinod Vijaya

Lending Director
07711 757263

Having previously held senior positions at Barclays, Funding Circle and more recently BAWAG P.S.K. Vinod has over 15 years’ experience in originating, executing and structuring real estate transactions both in the UK and Western Europe. He has extensive experience in structuring senior debt for both development and investment transactions and more recently has been engaged in organising loan on loan and warehouse funding lines. In addition to his extensive relationship management skills he has a thorough understanding of risk modelling and analysis.

James Walker

Lending Analyst
+44 (0)20 7650 1810

Having graduated from Royal Holloway University with a First Class Honours degree, James subsequently won a scholarship to Cass Business School to study for an MSc in Real Estate. The course, one of the UK’s leading for aspiring real estate professionals, covered a broad background to include modules in statistics, applied appraisal, development and financial modelling which supplemented his knowledge gained from work experience. On completing the course in August 2020, James joined Zorin Finance as a Lending Analyst, supporting the origination team by evaluating and modelling loan applications at an early stage to ensure they meet the company’s lending criteria.

Benjamin Ebrahimi

Lending Analyst
07930154744

Prior to joining Zorin, Ben previously held positions in the capital markets teams of Knight Frank and JLL during his time abroad in Spain. His real estate experience focused on the Spanish and Catalan industrial, PBSA, senior and co-living markets. After graduating from the University of Bristol, Ben completed an MSc in Real Estate at Bayes Business School (formerly Cass) enabling him to build upon his existing real estate finance knowledge. Ben joined Zorin in November 2021 as a Lending Analyst supporting the origination team. His current focus involves the modelling and due diligence of investment loans as well as financial covenant risk analysis at both asset and portfolio level.

Olive Stansfield

Lending Analyst
07745814117

Olive is a recent graduate from the University of Exeter with a First-Class Honours degree in BSc Economics, where her studies focussed on the intersection of finance and technology. Supplemented by her experience working as a credit analyst for a historic European consumer bank, Olive supports the origination team at Zorin in the position of Lending Analyst. Her work involves running internal models to assess the viability of new loan applications, undertaking comparable analysis and market research, and assisting in preparing new lending proposals to be pitched to our internal committee.

George Cresswell

Assistant Lending Manager
07525177840

With experience in a variety of functions within the real estate industry, George has gained a unique knowledge of the lending process. He began his career specialising in operations before moving to front office roles. Prior to joining Zorin Finance, George worked for a specialist lender, with a focus on short term property finance. His focus now is assisting the origination team, evaluating new business opportunities, and maintaining strong client relationships.

Richard Gosden

Head of Underwriting
+44 (0)20 7650 1803

Richard has over 25 years' experience within the banking industry, with a particular focus on Real Estate Finance. Prior to joining Zorin, Richard held positions at Barclays Bank, Bank Leumi, Israel Discount Bank and most recently a privately funded development lender. Richard has assessed, documented and managed a wealth of residential development transactions, UK wide, over his career as well as having considerable experience in distressed debt work-out and recovery together with documenting European hotel transactions.

Christopher Hunter

Underwriting Director
+44 (0)20 7650 1814

Christopher has over 25 years' experience covering real estate finance in both investment and commercial banking. Prior to joining Zorin, Christopher held directorships at both Deutsche Hypo Bank Hanover and ABN Amro. More recently he held a senior recovery and credit position with private bankers Arbuthnot Latham & Co., Ltd and has a broad experience in structuring both regulated and unregulated residential development transactions. During his career he has held both the Islamic Finance Qualification and the Certificate in Mortgage Advice and Practice.

Aminah Malik

Underwriting Director
+44 (0)20 7650 1809

Aminah’s responsibilities at Zorin include the underwriting and execution of new loans as well as the ongoing management of the current loan book. Her experience in development finance spans origination, loan closing and credit. Previously she worked for a specialist residential development lender and spent 5 years at HSBC Private Bank specialising in credit analysis and the structuring and management of large residential real estate transactions for international clients. In addition to a degree in International Relations and Middle Eastern Studies from Mount Holyoke College, MA, she has a legal background having completed her Graduate Diploma in Law and Legal Practice Course.

Michael McNally

Underwriting Director
07786388607

Prior to joining Zorin, Michael was a Director in the commercial real estate team of Allied Irish Bank (GB), managing relationships with a number of commercial investment and residential development clients. Michael has over 23 years' banking experience holding positions in AIB Capital Markets, DVB Bank London and Banca Popolare di Milano. During this time, he has gained a wide exposure in to corporate banking, project finance, syndications and distressed debt in the UK and several international jurisdictions.

Declan Smith

Head of Monitoring & Construction
+44 (0)20 7650 1808

Declan has over 10 years’ experience in design, construction and development, having previously held roles in architecture, project management and development monitoring. He is an ARB registered architect and member of the Royal Institute of British Architects, while also holding a number of qualifications including recently completing an Msc. in Property Finance at the University of Westminster. Previously, Declan has worked at Gardiner & Theobald, Cushman & Wakefield and architects MoreySmith. His experience acting on behalf of private clients, commercial occupiers and institutional funders as designer, project manager and funding monitor, allows a holistic understanding of the complete development cycle.

Tatiana Cernakova

Monitoring & Construction Executive
+44 (0)20 7650 1800

Prior to joining Zorin Finance in October 2018, Tatiana worked in commercial building management for a leading serviced office group and for a premium interior designer in London. Tatiana’s role at Zorin focuses on due diligence, KYC and AML checks, database management, file/documentation review, ongoing construction, drawdown monitoring and sales monitoring. Since joining Zorin, Tatiana has assisted with closing £100m of loans across 29 transactions.

Dr Alexander Moss

Treasury and Technology
+44 (0)20 7650 1807

Alex is responsible for all operational functions within the business, including: transaction support, reconciliation, fund accounting, cash management and data and information management. He also utilises his extensive analytical, research and computing expertise to support the company’s technology aspirations. Alex holds a PhD in Education and Professional studies from King’s and Imperial College London, a First Class BSc (Hons) degree in Computer Science from Keele University, and an MSc in Modern Japanese Studies from the University of Oxford.

Afzal Ahmed

Technical Product Owner / Technical Lead
+44 (0)20 7650 1807

Afzal is our lead software developer responsible for building and aiding in the design of our bespoke in-house software solutions. Having started his career in the IT industry over 23 years ago, he has amassed extensive experience across the full suite of software development technologies specialising in C#, asp.net core, angular, Azure and AWS Micro services. Before joining Zorin, Afzal developed applications for many leading companies across a range of sectors including household names such as Lloyds Bank, Santander, The London Stock exchange, Cancer Research UK and The British Heart Foundation.

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