Cambridge & Counties Bank delivers strong growth and support
Specialist lender Cambridge & Counties Bank registered its highest ever level of customer loans and deposits in 2022, as the bank further supported SMEs, entrepreneurs, individuals and professionals on strategic asset acquisition, investment and growth opportunities in the UK.
Gross customer loan balances increased 6% across the year to £1.055bn while customer deposits rose to £1.103bn, up 8%, with the bank delivering £310m in gross new lending for the year. The balance sheet strength resulted in the bank recording £28.5m in post-tax profit, up 54% versus 2021.
Despite economic headwinds and market uncertainty, the Leicester-headquartered bank benefitted from strong demand across its range of lending solutions, including real estate finance, asset finance and classic car loans.
Its asset finance business, which helps businesses acquire essential assets such as equipment, plant, machinery, or vehicles, increased 31% to £71m. Dedicated finance for the purchase of classic cars and sports vehicles through hire purchase and finance lease products increased 17% to £42m.
In a reflection of enhanced customer demand and continued growth, staff numbers increased to 206, up from 183 in 2021. The bank expanded its Real Estate Finance team alone by almost a third in 2022; in total, it now has 31 members in the REF team.
Cambridge & Counties Bank also improved its cost to income ratio, from 51% to 44% in 2022, supported by the strong growth in earnings. Its Return on Capital improved to 12.6% (2021: 9.5%).
Donald Kerr, CEO at Cambridge & Counties Bank, said: “We continue to deliver against our strategic priorities to become the specialist SME Bank of choice for our customers and the finance brokers that serve them. Our focus on servicing their needs through a personal approach builds on our deep understanding of their requirements and is evidenced by the growing number of satisfied customers and broker partners: we continue to enjoy over 90% customer satisfaction.
“We delivered an excellent financial performance this year benefitting from higher rates in this more uncertain environment. As customers reassess investment priorities in this challenging macroeconomic environment, our focus continues to be on lending responsibly while also helping our customers navigate the challenges they face.”
For the third year running in 2022, the bank was independently accredited as Carbon Neutral Plus; it was also awarded ‘Socially Responsible Business of the Year’ by consultancy Embark CSR. Looking ahead, priorities in terms of its ESG programme include developing its indirect scope 3 emissions, transition plans, targets and metrics.
In 2022, the bank also met its pledge to increase women in senior management, with 32% female representation in senior management, 30% on its Board, and 33% of its Executive Committee. The aim remains to elevate female representation at all levels of senior management to 40% by 2025.
Patrick Newberry, chair of Cambridge & Counties Bank, said: “The key to the bank’s continuing success is a forensic focus on its chosen sectors of real estate lending and asset finance. Our strategy of servicing the market through well-managed relationships with brokers and borrowers continues to deliver strong growth and robust returns. A key component of servicing those relationships is our smart manual underwriting supported by well-honed customer service and strong credit risk management models and tools.
“Our performance would not have been possible without the commitment and hard work of our staff. Our team has moved on from the pandemic, returning to more normal working routines while taking advantage of the best of the hybrid working model. I would like to pay a particular tribute to all of the team and to thank them for their unstinting efforts during the last year.”