Paragon’s Commercial Lending division led new business growth for the banking group over the past year, Group annual results revealed today.
The Commercial Lending division, which includes development finance, SME lending, structured lending and motor finance, reported a 36% increase in new lending volumes to £968 million and a 28% expansion in the loan book to £1.45 billion.
Overall, underlying profits for the Group increased by 5% to £164 million for the twelve months to 30 September 2019, up from £157 million in 2018.
The combination of the Group’s original property development finance team with Titlestone, acquired in July 2018, raised new lending to developers from £137 million last year to £363 million.
SME lending, including asset finance and loans advanced by the Iceberg professions finance operation acquired in December 2017, grew to £407 million, 15% up on the £355 million for 2018.
Paragon’s structured lending team, which provides senior debt to developing finance businesses, also had a good year, with eight transaction in place compared to three at the end of 2018, having delivered £50 million of net new lending.
The strong performance of Commercial Lending over the past year has been recognised with a string of recent awards, with Paragon picking up Deal of the Year at the 2019 Leasing World Awards, together with Best Commercial Lender and Best Specialist Commercial Lender at the 2019 Lending Awards.
Following a strategic focus on margin improvement, new motor finance lending reduced from £178 million to £149 million, but the Group continues to target its motor finance offerings on those specialist propositions, including light commercial vehicles and motorhomes.
Dave Newcombe, Managing Director of Commercial Lending at Paragon, said:
“Strong growth in Paragon’s lending, particularly to UK SMEs, is truly reflective of our commitment to support British businesses - helping them to grow and achieve their ambitions.”