temperatures soared and the world got to grips with the collapse of
the US subprime housing market, few people in the leasing industry
foresaw the unparalleled downturn that has now hit their
There was, however, at least one person who predicted the worst –
John Bennett, the current chairman of Leaseurope, who bravely said:
“Not only will independent leasing companies get pushed out of the
market, but prices will also go up.”
One might have expected others to
have matched Bennett’s grasp on reality. After all, only a month
earlier UK funder One World Leasing had collapsed as the fortunes
of its investment bank funders hurtled downward.
Last month, the leasing industry
hit the buffers – this is shown with even a cursory glance at this
month’s issue. To place all this in context, and to show Mister
Bennett was more of a visionary than some might have given credit
for, here is a list of recent recession-hit stories we have covered
January 2009: De
Lage Landen (DLL) cuts its workforce by 3 percent; embattled UK
lessor General Capital announces plans to delay publication of its
Barclays Asset & Sales Finance closes its broker arm; HSH
Nordbank “winds down” its refinancing arm; Siemens Financial
Services announces plans to close Broadcastle.
ING Lease closes its forfeiting business; Universal Leasing
announces plans to sell or dissolve its European businesses; BMW
halts new business with Alphabet and Alphera; DLL plans to
consolidate its business lines; cash-strapped CIT applies for bank
CIT is rumoured to be in sale talks with Siemens Financial
Services; Davenham introduces 20 percent staff cutback.
July 2008: GE
Capital Solutions carries out a strategic review of its European
leasing operations; HBOS plans to restructure its small ticket
asset finance arm; HBOS’ vehicle finance arm Hill Hire reportedly
comes up for sale.
June 2008: RBS
closes its structured asset finance division.
May 2008: The
Funding Corporation closes its asset finance and block discounting
services; Ramage Distribution and E Pawson & Son go into
administration causing hefty losses for their lessor creditors;
Landsbanki winds down its leasing operations.
Alliance & Leicester offers voluntary redundancies to its asset
finance staff; Volvo Financial Services (VFS) undergoes a major
restructuring; GE Capital restructures its transport finance arm;
Lombard centralises its operations.
Leasing arm of Bank of Ireland close to new business while reviews
of the asset finance businesses of CIT and the Co-operative Bank
are carried out.
ING Lease’s leasing and factoring division reported a 13 percent
fall in net underlying profit to €40 million.
January 2008: GE
capital Solutions completes a restructuring of its small and medium
ticket leasing businesses.