A personal approach to credit

By Martin Nixon, Head of Asset Finance, United Trust Bank

At United Trust Bank we don’t believe in a computerised or ‘tick-box’ approach to credit. Every application we receive from one of our broker partners is looked at individually by a senior member of the asset finance team. When considering a proposal we try to achieve a balance between the asset, the customer, the financial information and, if required, the potential for additional security such as a suitable guarantor. We can also be flexible and creative when it comes to structuring a workable deal, something other lenders, particularly the bigger banks, can find difficult. If a proposal doesn’t immediately ‘stack-up’ we’ll look at ways we can adjust the individual elements of the deal in order to achieve an outcome which is acceptable for all parties.

We specialise principally in financing wheeled and tracked assets so when considering an asset which suits our lending criteria we first check that it’s correctly priced for its age and condition. Using resources such as CAP guides for vehicles as well as auction sales data, trade publications, internet searches and talking to other experts we’ll gauge the current and future resale value of the asset. Being able to quickly access expert opinion on high spec vehicles and construction equipment is crucial to getting an accurate understanding of the asset and making a quick but informed decision.

Next we aim to build a full picture of the health of the company and project it forward over the term of the proposed finance agreement. We’ll take into account factors relevant to the individual business, the sector in which it operates and trends in the wider economy. We also look at the people involved in the proposal, the owners/directors and potential guarantors. Personal wealth can sometimes be considered to off-set a higher risk transaction. Where appropriate, audited and management accounts are considered, together with recent bank statements to build up an accurate current picture of the business.

Finally we look at the return for UTB. If the revenue generated doesn’t quite reflect the risk the bank is taking we’ll look at ways we can reduce the risk in some way, perhaps by agreeing a larger deposit, a shorter term or an accelerated payment profile. Flexibility is key, and with the huge amount of experience within the team we can often suggest a solution the borrower hadn’t previously considered but still meets their requirements.

Ambitious businesses need access to credit to enable them to grow. By working closely with its network of approved brokers, United Trust Bank continues to use its expertise to provide bespoke solutions which are good for the customer, good for the broker and good for the bank.