Paragon’s Asset finance business has continued to grow its loan book as it focuses its attentions on helping British SMEs gain access to funding.
Paragon’s half year results announced today show lending volumes for asset finance increased £47 million to 31 March 2019; a rise of 29% to £211 million compared to the same period last year.
Award-winning asset finance, part of Paragon’s Commercial Lending division, retained its position in its core hard asset market during this period but has also expanded into financing soft assets to meet the needs of evolving British businesses in the 21st Century.
Sales teams have been strengthened across specialist areas of the business and there has also been support for strong customer relationships and service standards as Paragon targets small and medium sized businesses to help them achieve their financial ambitions.
Nigel Terrington, Chief Executive of Paragon, said:
“We have delivered a strong first half, with increased profits benefiting from good growth in lending and improved margins. This reflects our strategic transformation to become a more broadly-based banking group focussed on supporting British SMEs and consumers in specialist lending markets.”
Richard Doe, Managing Director of Commercial Lending at Paragon, said:
“These strong results and increased lending in asset finance reflect our commitment to getting finance to the people and small businesses who need it most. Our experienced asset finance teams often support businesses with complex or structured financial needs that High Street banks won’t typically accommodate.”
Asset finance has continued to expand its product range through a broker channel and direct to customers and now covers everything from manufacturing to printing, business equipment, technology, media, aviation, construction, transportation and legal practice finance. There is also working capital funding for SMEs through invoice discounting and factoring.
The half year results also showed there has been strong business growth across Commercial Lending, which includes asset finance, development finance, motor finance and structured lending. Lending for the division increased by 69% to £455 million and there was a three-fold increase in underlying profits to £20 million.
Overall, Commercial Lending’s loan book now stands at nearly £1.3 billion following an 89% year-on-year increase.