Semi-direct finance is when a broker (or 'middleman') is used to complete a deal between lender and borrower.
An example of this is a mortgage broker. If you want to buy a house you might go to a mortgage broker to help.
The broker will look at what you can afford and then will search for the best offer. He has access to databases of many companies so can match customers to lenders easily.
If for some reason, the deal does not go through, it is not the end of the road for the borrower as the broker can try someone else.
This happened to a friend of mine recently. She was devastated when a building society turned her down for a mortgage and would have given up if she had dealt direct. However, her broker advised her that it wasn't a problem and he would try someone else. She got the mortgage she needed - and he got the commission he was hoping for!