UTB grows lending 31 per cent to £1.3bn and expands development finance team

  • 09/03/2021
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UTB grows lending 31 per cent to £1.3bn and expands development finance team
United Trust Bank (UTB) has reported a 31 per cent increase in new lending to £1.3bn in 2020 with profit before tax rising nine per cent to £30.7m.


Around £118m of this was government-supported lending under the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loans Scheme (CBILS) scheme.

Overall, the specialist lender’s loan book including its residential, second charge, bridging, asset finance and CBILS activities grew to £1.6bn at the end of the year.

However, it also saw an uptick in loans in distress.

More than £16m worth of loans were in forbearance at the end of 2020, up from almost £13m in 2019, while £4.9m were impaired, up from £1.5m.

However, loans under repossession edged down to £32.8m from £34.8m.

The lender said it did not put any staff on furlough using the government schemes and also hired a further 42 people to join its teams during the year.


Tightened criteria

In handling the Covid-19 outbreak impact it acknowledged tightening lending criteria at the end of Q1 2020.

“In Q4 2020, there were partial relaxations of the previous tightening reflecting our increased knowledge of the impact of Covid-19 on the UK economy and greater insight into affected borrower and asset types,” it said.

“With customers in mind, the bank agreed a large number of payment holiday requests in Q2 and further extensions in Q3 and Q4 as appropriate.”

It added that given the higher risk environment it had maintained significantly higher levels of liquidity during the initial phase of the pandemic and again during the second half of the year as the departure of the UK from the EU approached.

This reduced net interest income, “but was considered appropriate given the economic climate”.


Development finance appointments

UTB has also made five appointments within its development finance team including four new joiners.

They will be working directly with house builders and developers providing bespoke development funding solutions.

Simon Cartwright has more than 30 years’ financial services experience having previously worked for Assetz Capital, Handelsbanken, HSBC and RBS.

He has been appointed senior manager – property development and will be primarily supporting clients across the Midlands.

Kerry Cooney has joined UTB from Oblix Capital and during her 16 years in banking has also held real estate sector roles with Arbuthnot Latham and Bank of Ireland.

As manager – property development, she will be supporting customers in London, the South East and East of England.

Ashley Collier also joins as manager – property development from Assetz Capital and will be working with customers in the North West, North Wales and the Midlands.

Davinder Birthee will be supporting customers across the Midlands, Yorkshire, Humber and the North East as manager – property development and joins from Barclays Real Estate.

Finally, Anna Wojtowicz has also been promoted to manager – property development and will be working with customers in London, the South and East of England.


Grateful to brokers

Commenting on the results, UTB CEO Harley Kagan noted that 2020 was a year like no other, adding that “despite the extraordinary challenges presented by the Covid-19 pandemic, United Trust Bank showed its resilience and delivered a strong set of results”.

“The bank has continued to invest in business transformation and digitisation projects and introduced many new digital means of interacting with customers and brokers during the year, including the launch of full-service online banking for deposit customers.

“By successfully transitioning to remote working and adopting and implementing innovative technology the bank maintained its operations and remained open for business throughout the lockdowns with all business lines continuing to grow.

“The board and management team are immensely grateful to our supportive brokers and customers and to our dedicated staff for their contribution to the performance UTB delivered through a particularly unusual and challenging year.”


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