Figures released by the Finance & Leasing Association (FLA) show that asset finance new business (primarily leasing and hire purchase) for deals of up to £20m grew by 6% in May, compared with the same month in 2018.
However, total asset finance for all deals in the period was down 1% by year-on-year comparison, to £2.91bn.
New finance for plant and machinery and commercial vehicles both grew by 8% in May compared with the same month last year, while the business equipment finance sector reported new business up by 3% over the same period.
Geraldine Kilkelly, head of research and chief economist at the FLA, said: “The asset finance market continued to report growth across many sectors in May, with new business overall up by 8% in the first five months of 2019.
“The strong performance so far this year means that the industry is helping to fund an increasing share of business investment. The percentage of UK equipment investment funded by asset finance members in Q1 2019 was 38.0%, the highest for more than a decade.”
Commercial vehicle finance was up 8% year-year for the month of May, to £760m. IT equipment finance fell 9%, to £177m. There was no change in car finance, which was at £847m in business conducted for May 2019.
By channel, direct finance was up 4%, to £1.4bn. Broker introduced finance was up 15%, to £592m. By year-on-year comparison sales finance was up 3%, to £809m.
By product, finance leasing was up 5% to £336m. Operating leasing was also up 5%, to £512m. Lease and hire purchase was up 4%, to £1.7bn. There was a 10% fall in other forms of finance, to £260m.
The FLA’s Specialist Automotive Finance (SAF) programme has been relaunched in partnership with The London Institute of Banking & Finance.
Now known as SAF Expert, according to the FLA the overhaul will come with an improved range of training options for dealership staff that will further increase the professionalism, skills and knowledge in the sector. Those who successfully pass their yearly SAF online test, will accrue study credits towards the Level 3 SAF Advanced qualification which is accredited by the Institute.