Loans to small businesses quadruple as bank records big profit

Lending has increased by 400 per cent in a year at a challenger bank which specialises in loans for small and medium sized businesses.

Half year results published by Cambridge & Counties Bank shows that it has returned to profit, a performance it expects to accelerate as the year wears on.

The bank’s loan book to SMEs has grown from £40 million on 30 June 2013 to £200m on 30 June 2014, while total deposits from customers, who are also primarily SMEs, have grown from £63m and £200m – a rise of 217 per cent.

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This growth has led to a reported profit before tax of more than £1m in the first half of 2014 compared to a loss of £700,000 for the same period last year. The bank, which is headquartered in Leicester but is expanding its presence across the UK, expects profit in the second half of 2014 to more than double.

The bank was launched in 2012 and has been in monthly profit since July last year.

Gary Wilkinson, its chief executive, said: “To see a million pound profit in a six-month period ending just two years after launch is a great achievement. It shows that a new bank can compete with and provide an alternative to the mainstream banks.”

In June, the bank announced it had appointed Carl Ashley, formerly of Yorkshire Bank, to spearhead its move into the North.