Figures released today by the Finance & Leasing Association (FLA) show that its members’ asset finance new business (primarily leasing and hire purchase) grew by 5% in 2017 – its seventh consecutive year of growth.
New business in December 2017 increased by 4% compared with the same month in 2016.
The plant and machinery finance and commercial vehicle finance sectors reported new business up in 2017 by 12% and 1% respectively, compared with 2016, while new finance for business equipment was up by 7% over the same period.
Broker channel business was up 14% in 2017 year-on-year to above £5.8bn, while direct finance was up 4% to above £15.4bn year-on-year.
Geraldine Kilkelly, head of research and chief economist at the FLA, said: “The asset finance industry reported a record level of new business of almost £32 billion in 2017, despite challenging economic conditions and subdued business investment growth.
“The latest figures also reveal that asset finance is a vital source of funding for SMEs when investing in business equipment and machinery. Of the total asset finance new business in 2017, £18.6 billion went to SMEs – 12% higher than in 2016.”