East Anglia: Lending by ‘challenger’ bank Cambridge & Counties reaches £200m

Gary Wilkinson, chief executive of the Cambridge & Counties Bank

Gary Wilkinson, chief executive of the Cambridge & Counties Bank - Credit: Archant

“Challenger” bank Cambridge & Counties has announced further growth for the six months to the end of June, with its loan book reaching £200million by the end of the first half ? an increase of 400% on a year earlier.

And deposits from customers ? who, like its borrowers, are primarily small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) ? were 217% higher, at £200m.

As a result of this growth, the bank, which launched in 2012 specifically to help to SMEs invest in growth and jobs, reported a profit before tax of more than £1million for first half of 2014 compared to a loss of £700,000 for the same period last year.

The bank has been in monthly profit since July last year and this performance is projected to accelerate, with the it expecting profit in the second half of 2014 to more than double.

Gary Wilkinson, 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. Our traditional banking approach of using experienced and empowered staff to make decisions means we have said ‘yes’ to many businesses who have had a blanket ‘no’ from their existing bank.

“And not only do we just lend, but we do so whilst providing a great service too; 99 per cent of our new customers state they would recommend Cambridge & Counties.”

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Cambridge & Counties Bank is owned jointly by the Cambridgeshire Local Government Pension Fund and the University of Cambridge’s Trinity Hall.

It is based in Leicester and, while it has so far focused on the East Midlands and East Anglia, it is expanding further across the UK, having recently increased its activity in the West Midlands, the North and the South West.