Ian Isaac has been appointed as managing
director of Lombard Business and Commercial with a mandate to
increase SME lending.
With 20 years experience in SME financing
including previous positions at Lombard, Isaac joins from parent
bank Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) where he was head of strategy,
marketing and communications for Business and Commercial
Isaac has identified growth in Lombard’s SME
lending and promotion of the asset finance option as key targets in
his new role.
He said his first job would be to talk to
customers and build confidence in their investment plans.
He said: “My strategy is to talk to more
customers more often with better equipped and more skilful people
to insure we give our customers no reason to talk to anyone
Isaac said Lombard would be launching a £1bn
capex fund in September which, while available to corporate
customers, will be largely targeted at SMEs.
He added overall in 2011 Lombard aim to lend
He also said following on from a 7%
year-on-year increase in lending to SMEs from 2010 to 2011 Lombard
would target similar or greater growth in the sector.
Isaac said part of Lombard’s commitment to SME
lending was linked to parent group RBS’s Project Merlin targets.
These UK government-set targets aim to boost the amount of lending
by the bank to SMEs.
“SMEs are critical to the economy,” said
Isaac. “They are the life-blood of the economy and a thriving SME
needs to invest in new assets to trade out of the current difficult
“Our set of products allows us to support
customers in a broader way than the bank (RBS) would if it didn’t
have Lombard in its team.
Figures released by the Bank of England on 12
August 2011 show the Project Merlin banks are on target with their
overall lending for the first half of the year although lending to
SMEs is slightly off target at £37.3bn for the period.
Isaac added asset finance products offer SMEs
greater funding flexibility and said this was especially important
in light of recent financial turmoil in the Eurozone and the
“Clearly the recovery appears to be
stuttering,” he said.
He added recent turmoil will leave some SMEs
nervous and said part of Lombard’s role was about providing
assurance to businesses.
He said: “I think we’ve got a big role in
giving these businesses the confidence and certainty they’ve got
someone backing them to go and grow.
“Fundamentally that is our role, that’s what
the bank is trying to do and, arguably through Merlin, what the
government is trying to do.”
Isaac also said Lombard intend to raise
awareness of asset finance as a funding option following recent
research by the company which found a low level of awareness among
“A large part of what we want to do is talk up
the category and help SMEs understand how flexible, available and
beneficial our products can be,” said Isaac.
“We have got an appetite to take risk on these
assets and fund these assets and we want to raise awareness with
the people who use them.”
Isaac will sit on the executive team reporting
to Alexander Baldock, Lombard’s managing director.
Baldock said Isaac’s experience and passion
for the SME sector would be great assets to Lombard Business and