Long-serving ASTL CEO Benson Hersch passes away

Brian West

04 December 2020 16:28 GMT

The Association of Short Term Lenders (ASTL) has confirmed that former CEO Benson Hersch has sadly passed away.

Traditionally at this point in a press release the author would refer to “Hersch” but that seems strangely inappropriate. That the entire industry only ever referred to him as “Benson” says everything about the affection in which he was held. Taking over leadership of the ASTL in 2012, Benson’s 7 year tenure saw the reputation of the bridging industry vastly improved, a significant achievement against a backdrop of surging growth.

During his tenure, bridging completions saw over a fourfold increase and membership of the association surged but Benson still found time to underpin this impressive growth with improved industry standards and a considerably raised national profile, all whilst forging close working relationships with other trade bodies, government and of course the FCA. Throughout his time at the ASTL Benson forged a great many friendships and his loss will be keenly felt throughout the industry .

Benson’s successor at the ASTL, Vic Jannels, confirmed:

“On behalf of the board, I can say that Benson is the reason why the ASTL is where it is today. He took the reins of the membership and transformed it into an association that was more representative of the industry, with a clear purpose to improve standards and encourage sustainable growth of the sector.

Even after his retirement at the end of last year, he maintained a close interest in the sector and has been of amazing support to me during my tenure. To say that he will be sorely missed is an understatement. He was an incredibly warm and insightful man, and he has played a significant role in the careers of many people within the industry.

Many will be aware that Benson had been poorly for some time and our thoughts and prayers go out to his wife, Phileshia, and children.

Let us all take a moment to mourn the loss of a good friend and outstanding colleague – and celebrate the life of a man who was such a positive influence on the lending industry.”

Brian West, Chairman of the Falbros Media Group, worked closely with Benson for several years as an ASTL Board Director and was shocked to hear the news.

“It was a privilege to serve the ASTL under Benson’s leadership. Everyone who knew him will confirm what a lovely man he was but beneath that avuncular demeanour he could, when required, be a strong and determined operator. The growth of the ASTL under his leadership stands testament to this fact.

For over 7 years Benson worked tirelessly to build the ASTL, to drive standards within the industry and to raise the Association’s profile on a national basis. His professional passion for the ASTL was limitless.

Whilst it was obviously a huge wrench to leave his role last December, as a devoted family man we all knew how much he was looking forward to spending more time with family and his grandchildren in particular. That he didn’t get more time with his family is so sad and our thoughts are very much with them.”

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