Figures from the Finance and Leasing Association (FLA) showed a mixed bag of performance for the different sectors during 2017. Funding of plant and machinery in December 2017 just 1% higher than in December 2016, Commercial Vehicle finance down 14% and the big assets; ships, planes, rolling stock etc down by 41%. Stronger performances in IT and business equipment funding delivered an overall increase of 4% comparing the December 2016 and 2017 results. There was some good news for brokers though with broker introduced business increasing by 14% from 2016 to 2017. Brokers account for around a fifth of new leasing business by FLA members and is still the fastest growing channel.
Another interesting statistic was the share of new asset finance business going to SMEs. This apparently grew by 12% in 2017 meaning that SMEs accounted for around 58% of the £31.7bn of finance provided by FLA members. Considering the uncertainty still surrounding the ultimate consequences of Brexit, it appears that last year at least, small and medium sized businesses were still keen to invest in their businesses. The good news for those looking for funding is that UTB’s book is very much open and for strong credits, our pricing has never been more competitive.
Our book stays open despite the spectre of Brexit
With less than one year to go before we should be entering the Brexit transition period, there’s a question as to whether that positivity will continue. According to UTB’s broker sentiment survey, carried out in February this year, more than two thirds (67%) of asset finance brokers with an opinion on the matter suggested that the spectre of Brexit was causing some companies to delay investing in plant, machinery, vehicles and other equipment.
It’s worth remembering that many businesses will not be directly affected by Brexit and will continue operating much as before, serving a UK or even more local customer base. United Trust Bank is one of those businesses. As a UK bank with UK customers we’re confident that we’re ready to face whatever the future may hold, and we’ll keep supporting our brokers and helping SMEs to seize opportunities with quick and competitive funding backed with outstanding service.