Cambridge & Counties Bank sees near 50% rise in gross new lending
Specialist lender Cambridge & Counties Bank saw a 47% rise in gross new lending in 2021 to a record of £323m, up from £220m in 2020, as the bank continued to help SMEs, entrepreneurs and real estate professionals capitalise on investment and growth opportunities in the UK.
Gross customer loans and advances increased to £993m, a rise of 18%, while customer deposits ended the year at £1.026 billion, up from £917m. The balance sheet growth delivered a strong recovery in earnings, with a 65% increase in post-tax profit of £15.5m (2020: £9.4m) and an ROE of 9.5% (2020: 6.4%).
The bank saw heightened demand across its range of lending solutions, including real estate finance, asset finance and classic car loans. Asset finance lending rose 29% to £54m while financing of classic cars and sports vehicles using hire purchase and finance lease products increased 33% to £36m.
Cambridge & Counties Bank continued to invest in its client-centric, relationship-based business model in 2021, the success of which was reflected in a 95% customer satisfaction score. This is also reflected in the average number of employees increasing 11% to 183, though the bank’s earnings growth meant its cost income ratio fell from 56% to 51%.
The bank has continued to invest in 2022, including appointments in Scotland, the Midlands and the South East. In January it selected nCino, a pioneer in cloud banking and digital transformation solutions, to enhance its one-to-one service model which supports business relationship managers work with brokers and customers over the lifetime of their relationship.
Donald Kerr, CEO at Cambridge & Counties Bank, said: “While the pandemic remained a challenge for all of us in 2021, the UK economy improved, and the bank was well positioned to meet demand through our competitive products and client centred approach. Our valued relationship with brokers remains our focus and a key foundation of our growth.
“We are committed to realising the bank’s strategy: expanding our reach to service our customers and brokers, investing in our people and technology and, looking ahead, delivering an even richer service. We also saw significant success in our ESG programme and our commitment to continuously improving our approach to sustainability and social responsibility. We will build on this further in 2022.”
In terms of ESG, the bank qualified again for the prestigious Carbon Neutral+ rating offsetting 100 tonnes of CO2 emissions in the year. It also explored how climate risk will impact customers and products, while the bank’s sustainable approach to water reduction was recognised by Investors in the Environment.
In 2021, the bank implemented a new portal enabling online deposit account applications and further development of its data warehouse. In 2022, the bank is planning to further enhance its online servicing capability, as well as delivering improved real estate finance application and account servicing processes.
Simon Moore, chairman at Cambridge & Counties Bank, said: “The pandemic has accelerated the pace of change in our industry. We are investing in accelerating our capabilities; allowing us to embed our manual underwriting approach in risk assessment and pricing to the benefit of our customers.
“While uncertainty persists post pandemic, including the Ukraine conflict, global supply chain disruption, and high inflation, we see customer demand remaining robust and opportunities continuing to emerge. We have the right strategy, business model and ambition to deliver on the bank’s potential.”