Broker-introduced leasing and asset finance
increased 3.5% year-on-year from 2010 although lending to UK SMEs
still remains below its pre-crisis peak.
The annual survey of the National Association
of Commercial Finance Brokers (NACFB) shows total lending through
its members over the 12 months to 30 June 2011 increased 14% from
the previous 12 months to £8.6bn.
Of the areas of commercial finance which saw
growth, asset finance, which makes up 12% of NACFB members’
business, struggled most over the period.
Adam Tyler, chief executive of NACFB, said:
“Our asset finance brokers in particular have struggled to find
funders, but there has been an increase in the number of smaller
lessors coming into the market to try and fill some of the gaps in
funding we have seen over the last few years.”
The survey also revealed vehicle finance
brokered over the period dropped by 68.8% to £306m but the NACFB
said the figure was not a true reflection of the vehicle finance
market and was based on several factors.
Graham Hill of GHA Finance and NACFB director
for motor finance said: “It is more a reflection of a number of our
members who, having previously written asset finance and vehicle
finance business, have concentrated on asset finance over the last
year rather an indication vehicle leasing market has dropped
Figures for vehicle finance from the Finance
and Leasing Association (FLA) show a drop of 9% for the same
The NACFB results show invoice finance
continued to grow, up 6.6% on 2010, and is now more than double its
Tyler said the fourth consecutive year of
growth in invoice finance showed NACFB members are seeking more
cost effective borrowing for their SME customers to counteract a
reduction in overdraft limits experienced by many small businesses
in the UK.
Tyler said the survey shows UK SMEs are still
struggling to raise funds as total lending still remains at 44% of
the 2007 peak despite an overall year-on-year increase.
He added: “Despite many lenders’ protestations
that they are lending more than ever, these figures reveal what
anecdotal evidence has already shown: that funding for businesses
is still very hard to access, but it has improved.
“Whilst we are very pleased to report that
there is an increase in lending over the last twelve months, this
is now coming from a wider variety of lenders and is also being
lent in a real variety of ways.”