Conister continues growth momentum with record lending in 2021
Conister Bank Limited (“Conister”), part of Manx Financial Group PLC (AIM:MFX), today announces that it further accelerated lending levels in 2021, with its loan book growing by £41.0m to £234.4m, representing a 21% increase in comparison to 2020, when it lent £193.4m. The vast majority of its lending was focused on providing critical funding to resilient British small and medium sized enterprises (“SMEs”) as they navigate the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Bank lent £40.9m to SMEs in the UK via its accreditation to the UK Government Loan Schemes.
Also, over the past year the Bank has grown its Structured Finance team, resulting in an almost 18% increase in lending through this distribution channel year on year (£114.1m in 2021 versus £96.9m in 2020). Further growth in this sector is expected to be seen in the coming year.
Douglas Grant, managing director at Conister and Group CEO at Manx Financial Group, commented: “SMEs play a vital part in aiding the UK’s economy to flourish, and we are proud to have provided record-breaking support to these enterprises helping them emerge from the pandemic. As we move into the post-pandemic phase, identifying, prioritising, and protecting the most resilient businesses and sectors will be the priority. Conister will continue to work alongside government and traditional lenders, to ensure that the most robust British businesses get the requisite support to further accelerate their growth.”
Conister Bank is the largest subsidiary business of AIM-listed Manx Financial Group (MFG), which offers a suite of diversified financial services to both retail and commercial customers including money saving solutions and wealth management. Recent research from third-party investment research and advisory company, Edison, showed that MFG’s shares present very strong share price upside potential as earnings recover. Given past performance and MFG’s resilience during the pandemic, Edison concluded that the company would likely deserve to be at a premium to its book value in 2022 and not at such a large discount.
Jim Mellon, executive chairman, Manx Financial Group, said: “Against a backdrop of inflation, increasing interest rates and the tapering of government support schemes, 2022 will be a challenging year but also one that brings opportunity. We are confident that our strategy in the UK where we operate in niche, resilient sectors, Conister’s strong customer base in the Isle of Man, as well as a healthy pipeline for Structured Finance products will form a robust foundation for strong lending over the next year.”