Paragon Bank has expanded its asset finance proposition to fund soft assets along with its existing support for traditional hard assets.
Finance will be provided for soft assets, which include a broad range from IT and office equipment to medical equipment and commercial fitouts or refurbishments.
Richard Doe, managing director for commercial lending at Paragon, said: “As a specialist SME lender, our expansion into financing soft assets as well as hard assets reflects how asset finance is moving gradually from standard hard assets associated with factories and workshops to a huge growth in soft assets. This could be everything from software to shop fittings or office furniture.
“Paragon is working hard to improve access to funding for British companies, from someone who is self-employed to a mid-sized company, as our aim is to support SMEs in achieving their financial ambitions and to thrive.”
Latest figures for businesses in the UK by the House of Commons Library for December 2018 show that 75% of all businesses in the UK (4.2 million) are in the services industries. This includes retail but most of these are in the Professional, Scientific and Technical industry. In comparison, Construction sector businesses account for 17% of all businesses and Manufacturing firms account for 5%.
In November last year results from Paragon Banking Group showed profits of £20m (€22.5m) in the commercial lending division, a year-on-year increase of 41%.
New lending in the division was also up by 83% to £710m in the year. The commercial lending division, which includes asset finance, motor finance, structured lending and development finance, reported the largest increase in profits across all Paragon subsidiaries.
Paragon Bank is a subsidiary of the Paragon Banking Group, a FTSE 250 company based in Solihull in the West Midlands. Established in 1985, Paragon Banking Group has over £12bn of assets under management and manages over 450,000 customer accounts. Paragon provides asset finance through approved intermediaries and direct to customer across a range of sectors.