East Anglia: Cambridge & Counties Banks reports lending of £40m during its first year

The new Cambridge & Counties Bank has agreed loans worth around £40m to small and medium sized busin

The new Cambridge & Counties Bank has agreed loans worth around £40m to small and medium sized businesses in its first year - Credit: PA

The regional Cambridge & Counties Bank said yesterday that it has issued around £40million in secured lending during the first year since its launch.

Its lending involves around 100 individual loans to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and puts it on track to meet its initial four-year lending target in less than two years.

The bank, which is jointly owned by the Cambridgeshire Local Government Pension Fund and Trinity Hall, a College of the University of Cambridge, has also attracted more than 900 depositors in its first 12 months.

Of the 100 or so lending decisions made so far, around half have involved refinancing loans, a service traditionally offered by conventional banks but a source that has dried up for many SMEs as capital from mainstream banks has been squeezed.

Funding has been provided for a wide range of businesses, including commercial property investors, manufacturers, retailers and restaurants, mostly located in East Anglia and the East Midlands.

Gary Wilkinson, chief executive at the Cambridge & Counties Bank, said: “SMEs account for the vast majority of UK businesses and the UK’s economic recovery relies heavily on the ability of these firms to grow.

“Over the past couple of years, however, many SMEs have their hands tied by bigger banks unable or unwilling to lend. Our popularity shows that there needs to be more activity from alternative lenders,” he added.

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“We have already lent around £40m and are on course for our book to hit the £100 million mark by the end of this year.

“We are immensely proud of our achievements in our first year and believe much of our success is down to our local and personal relationship approach. This includes our business development managers focusing primarily on our heartland regions of East Midlands and East Anglia.

“We then combine this with a national broker model which allows us to maintain a balanced growth across geographies, market sectors and property types, avoiding inappropriate concentration risk.”