Cambridge and Counties Bank completes record £328m gross lending

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  • 20/05/2024
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Cambridge and Counties Bank completes record £328m gross lending
Cambridge and Counties Bank has delivered £328m in gross mortgage lending for 2023, a record for the specialist lender and 6% up on the previous year.

Cambridge and Counties Bank said this highlighted its support for SMEs, entrepreneurs, and professional property investors in the UK.

The lender said its asset finance business was “fast growing”, with record customer drawdowns and new book growth resulting in a 17% rise in exposures to £83m. 

These loans are for firms to acquire essential assets such as machinery and vehicles. 

Finance for the purchase of classic, vintage and sports cars rose 18% to £51m. 

Its pre-tax profit increased 44% annually to £40.9m, while there was a 5% rise in customer loans to £1.10bn, as well as a 5% uplift in customer deposits to £1.15bn. 

Cambridge and Counties Bank’s staff numbers rose by a tenth to 225 employees, and it said it maintained a combination of “good cost control and growth in income”. This led to its cost-income ratio falling from 44% to 37%.

 

A focus on service and product excellence

Donald Kerr (pictured), CEO at Cambridge and Counties Bank, said: “Across 2023, we continued to execute against our strategic priorities with the aim to become the specialist SME bank of choice in the UK. Our relentless focus on service and product excellence as well as a dedicated relationship-based market approach to both customers and commercial finance brokers will, we firmly believe, result in continued growth as business confidence begins to recover. 

“We recognise the challenging economic conditions and continue to monitor closely the potential impact on our customers, yet our through-the-cycle business model and financial strength enables us to continue to support customers via the deployment of experienced bankers offering deep support where needed.” 

The lender also achieved B Corp Certification in June. In order to be certified, a company must achieve a B Impact Assessment score of 80 or above and pass an in-depth risk review. Cambridge and Counties Bank scored 92.8, which it said outperformed the UK banking sector on impact on the environment, customers, and its people. 

In August, the lender also agreed to a £20m Tier 2 capital facility from British Business Investments to increase its volume of lending to smaller businesses over and above levels it might have otherwise been able to provide. 

Patrick Newberry, chair of Cambridge and Counties Bank, said: “We entered 2023 knowing that it was going to be tough and unpredictable. However, by deploying the bank’s strengths – strong customer and broker relationships, good credit risk and arrears management, and nimble deposit gathering mechanisms – we were able to navigate the stormy waters and deliver for our clients. Both real estate finance and asset finance delivered a stellar performance as a result of the continuing forensic focus of our frontline teams. 

“While it is true that interest rate movements during the year worked in the wider banking sector’s favour, it is not axiomatic that bank profitability will increase in times of rising rates. Action is always needed to capitalise on opportunities.” 

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