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Lender reliability is key, says UTB

Six out of ten brokers are increasingly considering reliability and stability of lenders when placing new business, according to a new survey carried out by United Trust Bank ("UTB"). The recent broker sentiment poll asked brokers operating in the property finance and asset finance sectors if the stability and reliability of lenders was a factor when placing new business and nearly two thirds (60pct) of the 146 respondents indicated that it was. 36pct said ‘No’ and the remaining 4pct didn’t know.

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Tis the season to be bubbly

United Trust Bank (UTB) is currently running a refinance promotion which enables registered brokers to receive a luxury Harvey Nichols hamper for a refinance case over £50,000 which completes by the end of January 2018. The broker will receive, not just a bottle, but a case of champagne for a second or any subsequent qualifying transactions completing by that date. That gives you nearly two months to pull something suitable together, and, equally important, five weeks to recover from Christmas excess before the hamper arrives and the consumption cycle resumes in February 2018!

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Aldermore shines light on White Paper

Following the launch of the Government’s Industrial Strategy White Paper on 27th November, Carl D’Ammassa, Aldermore’s Group Managing Director, Business Finance, says there is an astonishing lack of awareness around it. Carl says, "It is early days for the Government’s new Industrial Strategy; however, it appears that the lofty ambitions for the Strategy are yet to translate into awareness. The green paper was announced to much fanfare earlier this year, but our recent Future Attitudes study, which surveyed over a thousand senior SME decision makers across the UK, revealed an astonishing lack of awareness about the Strategy, with fewer than three in ten (29pct) small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) claiming to have heard about it." 

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Expand or educate?

At last night’s NACFB Gala Dinner we took the opportunity to speak to a range of lenders and brokers, and found they tended to divide into two camps; those with ambitious plans for expansion in 2018, and those who were focusing on upskilling existing staff. In both cases, these 2018 plans have consequences well beyond the end of next year, and both camps will be relying on the imparting of knowledge during a period of events that are proving hard to predict. 

 

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Hitachi hears of post-EU opportunities

Nearly half of the UK's small business owners (46 pct) predict clear opportunities for their business as a result of Brexit according to recent research by Hitachi Capital Business Finance. This research was conducted over a period that included a general election and, of course, Brexit negotiations. Hitachi Capital said, "This suggests SME viewpoints are not mere knee-jerk reactions at a moment in time, but are firmly held views on real business opportunity." Whilst the uncertainty surrounding the UK’s withdrawal from the EU has been seen by some as a basis for gloom, many small business owners regard the period of change as presenting tangible opportunities.

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SMEs and the postcode lottery

Graham Toy, CEO of the National Association of Commercial Finance Brokers, writes: An October Sage and Nesta report titled The State of Small Business: Putting UK entrepreneurs on the map has uncovered a ‘postcode lottery’ of small business productivity. Its findings reveal SMEs in the most active local authority, the City of London, are 26 times more productive than the least, West Somerset. In the City of London, each worker at a small and medium business is worth £1.45 million in company turnover. In West Somerset it falls to as little as £56,500. So, what is it apart from 175 miles that separates the two?

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Fresh look for Paragon

Paragon’s Asset Finance operations are adopting a new look under a simplified Paragon brand, as the fast-growing FTSE 250 UK banking group embarks on the next stage of its ambitious growth strategy.

Following strong growth in Paragon’s asset finance lending in the first half of this year, the new look underpins plans to expand lending through intermediary partners, as well as corresponding with Paragon’s extension of sector coverage.

The company has added capability in Agriculture, Aviation, Fleet and Logistics, and in the Medical and Professional sectors. This builds upon the lender’s established expertise in the Commercial Vehicle, Business Equipment, Construction, Invoice Finance, Print, Pro-AV and Broadcast sectors. In addition, two new names have joined the team...

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Franchise Finance has ambition for growth

Specialist provider Franchise Finance Ltd prides itself on sharing  independent reviews from satisfied customers on its website to evidence what those customers thinkg of the company's service levels. Now as the company plans to build on this foundation, you might be in a position to help it grow. A recruitment drive is under way - but who are they looking for?

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Maxxia looking to build momentum

The Maxxia Group is looking to continue its dynamic UK expansion, which has seen its turnover triple in the in the last three years, with the recruitment of a number of new asset finance brokers. Chief Revenue Officer Julian Humphreys explains, "We are looking for experienced asset finance people that will add further value to our business."

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Growing Your Business through Technology

Leaseteam talks you through your technology strategy. Technology is what enables your business to be innovative, to accelerate and to grow. So when you think in terms of your technology needs, you should also be thinking about how much, how fast and in what direction you want to grow your business. Technology is not just the cost of doing business—it’s the opportunity to do more. Here's how...

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AF-PA events planned

Survey responses point the way for AF-PA's future. Respondents expressed an interest in more networking events, two of which should already be in your diaries - see below.

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Check out the latest edition of BrokerWorld

Check out NOVEMBER BrokerWorld on the free BrokerWorld App. This month's edition leads with the bid for Aldermore Bank from South African financial giant, FirstRand, profiles CAMBRIDGE & COUNTIES BANK and the growth and career opportunities at MAXXIA, and focuses on training and education, with a report on the landmark year at HAMPSHIRE TRUST BANK. 

The App also gives you free access to the year's past editions.

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Ratesetter bonds with Experian

Peer to peer lender RateSetter and global information services company Experian have announced a new partnership which aims to help RateSetter make good credit decisions as it grows its commercial finance operation. RateSetter investors have lent more than £2 billion to a diverse range of individuals and businesses across the UK since the platform launched in 2010, and around one third of RateSetter’s active loans are to businesses.  Business lending is spread across all major business sectors, from manufacturing to healthcare services to hotels and restaurants, with maximum loan size of £750,000 and current average loan size of £70,000. 

 

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New face at BrokerWorld

Robin Skuse has joined BrokerWorld as Associate Editor. He was previously at the National Association of Commercial Finance Brokers for six years, as Marketing and Press Officer, starting with the trade association when it was still in its original offices in Exeter . . 

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HHF in major new partnership

Henry Howard Finance (“HHF”) has teamed up with a major UK CCTV and security distributor to offer asset finance solutions to businesses seeking affordable access to state-of-the-art CCTV, Fire and Security systems. The exclusive deal, launched this month, makes leasing agreements available to security installers who purchase their equipment from Hertfordshire-based firm Infinite Distribution.

Infinite Distribution, which has been distributing high-tech and bespoke CCTV systems since 2013, has over doubled in size in the last twelve months. It is expected that a partnership between the innovative distributor and the award-winning Henry Howard Vendor Finance team, will drive their increasing sales volumes even further.

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1pm gets Positive Cashflow

1pm's Directors believe that Positive Cashflow, which services clients predominantly in the North and Midlands, will complement Gener8 Finance, which was acquired by the Group in May 2017 and which caters predominantly for the South. The resulting Commercial Finance Division will be comparable in size to the Group’s Asset Finance and Loans divisions.

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PCFG becomes PCF Bank

The change allows the company to expand its vehicle and asset finance operations and have a broader, more attractive offering to brokers. In addition, building up a retail deposit base will reduce the cost of funds for the bank and allow it to lend competitively and with enhanced terms, at rates which were previously unviable.

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SME finance simplified

Hitachi Capital Business Finance creates a simple-to-understand Hire Purchase offering. This new initiative follows small business research by HCBF which found that only 3pct of decision makers had used hire purchase in the past 12 months. Transforming the Hire Purchase finance agreement with straightforward terms and conditions on the front page should help build customer confidence in their choice of finance.

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CAS combines forces with Ratesetter

Corporate Asset Solutions (“CAS”) is partnering with RateSetter to administer and run RateSetter’s new hire-purchase business loan product, making RateSetter the first peer-to-peer lending platform to launch a HP offering. CAS will provide RateSetter with a robust distribution channel and market expertise in this area. Both parties have ambitious plans for the new HP product which will be competitive, transparent and clearly differentiated from other products in the broker market.

As Authorised Representatives of RateSetter, CAS will manage the end to end asset finance process on behalf of RateSetter from its offices in Southampton. RateSetter will provide funding on selected deals which it will underwrite using its in-house credit team. RateSetter will offer hire purchase agreements for purchases and refinances up to £750,000.

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Star buys Credo

STAR Asset Finance Limited (“SAFL”) continues its consolidation of the SME asset finance market by completing the acquisition of Credo Holdings Limited (“Credo”). Norwich-based Credo was established in 2005 as an independent provider of asset finance. The company has a growing own book portfolio, coupled with brokered finance supported by a number of industry funders. Specialising in hard and soft asset finance with a strong position in its regional market, Credo is a perfect fit and a welcome addition to the SAFL group.

 

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Lloyds woos brokers

Lloyds Bank has launched an enhanced service for brokers to make it easier for them to support their clients’ funding needs. The new offering allows new brokers and ones already on the Lloyds Bank and Bank of Scotland panels to benefit from the product set and expertise of all the Bank’s broker support teams in one place.

Asset finance, invoice finance, current accounts and a range of other products can all be accessed by the broker to help them quickly find the right support for their clients. Brokers will also have the continued support of dedicated business development managers together with relationship and on-boarding managers, with additional backing from specialist asset finance and invoice finance experts. 
Alongside this, Lloyds Bank is also offering a new rewards package for brokers*. This includes:

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Aldermore passes £1 billion in 2017

Aldermore, the specialist lender, has reached the milestone of successfully supporting over £1 billion of asset finance to UK businesses this year. The record milestone has been achieved as a result of various key developments across the Bank’s Asset Finance division including the extension into new industrial sectors such as telecoms and IT, as well as recruiting additional resource in its specialist underwriting function.

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P2P accounts for 15pct of SME lending

Annual British Banking Association data suggests that peer-to-peer business lending platforms have grown to account for 15pct of all new loans made by UK banks to small businesses. In 2016, equity-based crowdfunding accounted for 17pct of all seed and venture stage equity investment in this country. Meanwhile, a recent annual report from Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance attributes the greatest market share to peer-to-peer business lending, growing by 36pct to £1.23 billion in 2016...

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Close Brothers marks 10 years in Ireland

Close Brothers Commercial Finance is delighted to be celebrating 10 years of trading in Ireland this year. It has also relocated and expanded its offices in Cork and Belfast as part of a continued campaign of expansion in Ireland, following the success of its new Dublin workplace in 2016, and is committed to Ireland in the longer term.

 

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Business Lending Exchange boosts SMEs

Britain’s SMEs have been given a boost with the announcement of a multi-million pound deal which sees asset finance lender The Business Lending Exchange (BLX) reach an agreement with Isle of Man-based Conister Bank for a £4m funding facility. This new facility will immediately be put to work with BLX looking to lend to a customer base of start-ups, sole traders and small businesses with advances of between £1,000 and £30,000. Further, BLX is also promising to give a decision within one hour of receiving an enquiry and lends money secured on assets such as vehicles and machinery.

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FSB points finger at digital skills

Productivity growth in the UK will continue to stall without Government and industry action to tackle a digital skills deficit in small businesses, according to new research carried out by the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB). This research finds that over a quarter (26pct) of business owners in England lack confidence in their basic digital skills and more than a fifth (22pct) believe a lack of basic digital skills among their staff is holding them back from increasing their digital and online presence.

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Spanish sun at Blockers Lunch

The biggest names and best-known faces in block discounting were present and correct at the most recent Blockers' Lunch yesterday (Thursday 7 December). As last year, the venue was Hispania, a restaurant on London's Lombard St. With seventy people filling the venue, things were very civilised over lunch (croquetas, torrijas, Spanish wine); the rugby injury stories and French gin came out later downstairs.

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AF-PA serves up generous spirit

The Asset Finance Professionals Association (AF-PA) attracted a full house to its charity networking event on Wednesday at the Sports Bar and Grill in Marylebone. Two charities were nominated to share the proceeds from a raffle and auction: the British Lung Foundation and homelessness charity Off the Fence. Some remarkable treats and experiences were offered in the auction, including dinner for two on No Man's Fort in the Solent and a signed painting of Oasis' Gallagher brothers. Many attendees went home very happy with their prizes and acquisitions, although of course the real story will be the sum of money raised for two excellent charities.

 

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FLA gets warm reception

Last night's Finance and Leasing Association Christmas Drinks Reception saw more than 160 invited guests at the Haberdashers Hall, taking a relaxed look back on a year which delivered a lot of very positive stories. Stephen Sklaroff, Director General at the FLA, shared some highlights from the latest figures prepared by the Association, showing further strong growth in the asset finance sector and in particular some better-than-expected vehicle finance statistics.

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Franchise Finance in first place

At last Friday's Best Franchise Awards, Franchise Finance were awarded the prestigious title of ‘Best Service Provider’. A net promoter scoring system is used to decide the winner, for which Franchise Finance scored 100%, meaning all surveyed clients scored the firm 9 or 10 out of a possible 10, a score which Franchise Finance say, "we are immensely proud of."

 

 

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“You are the good guys!”

Gyles Brandreth kicks off the NACFB AwardsThursday night’s NACFB Gala dinner saw a frankly show-stealing performance from Gyles Brandreth, as well as the usual panoply of awards. £20,138 was raised for charity, and an ambitious after-party saw part of the Park Plaza Westminster Bridge converted into a casino. Among the many award-winners, a special mention goes out to Hitachi Capital, who picked up the Leasing and Asset Provider of the Year trophy. The NACFB has held eleven Gala Dinners in its 25-year history, but two things really made a difference this year...

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Hitachi continues European expansion

Hitachi Capital (UK) Plc has announced plans for further European expansion for the business following its Autumn branch opening in Amsterdam. The branch office is the second business Hitachi Capital has established in the Netherlands, following the recent acquisition of Noordlease Holdings B.V in January this year.  Hitachi Capital UK’s Netherlands branch will provide vendor finance solutions to Hitachi and Mitsubishi group companies, whose European head offices are based in the country. Primarily the operation will support the sales of Hitachi Construction Machinery Europe (HCME) whilst providing further assistance to the wider business and key European based vendors.

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SMEs are saving less

Scottish SMEs have reduced their business savings by 40% over the past year, according to recent research carried out by Hampshire Trust Bank (HTB). The bank says that the average sum held in savings accounts for SMEs in the east of England is down by 27%, yet this area still has the highest average sum in each business's savings account.

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Government boost for construction sector

Today the Business Secretary Greg Clark has announced a flagship deal which may add billions of pounds in value to the UK economy through delivering better homes and infrastructure. A sum of £170 million is to be invested through the Transforming Construction programme with industry committed to match-funding with a £250 million investment. Asset funders have shown increasing flexibility in recent years to work with construction, with at least one lender recently adding scaffolding to its range of fundable assets.

 

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Advisory fuel rates change on Friday

Revised Advisory Fuel Rates (AFRs) come into force on 1 December. They may look famiiar, as they are returning to the levels we saw from June to September. Also familiar is the exclusion of electric vehicles from the rates, in spite of demands from the leasing industry to encourage take-up of the new technology. Hybrids are graded according to the fuel in the tank rather than the battery. You can read the rates for each fuel type and engine capacity below...

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