Paragon Bank’s SME Lending division grew new lending by 16.9% during the first half of its financial year compared to the same period last year.
The division, which conducts asset-based and invoice finance, as well loans to professional services firms, lent £181.8 million to UK SMEs in the six months to the end of March, compared to £155.5 million in the same period in 2021
The period saw a particularly strong increase in lending to professional services firms, with the £57.1 million lent to firms and partners approximately double that of the previous year.
Paragon’s SME Lending loan book finished the period at £638.9 million, compared to £571.8 million the year before.
A highlight of the half year was the launch of the SME Lending Broker Portal, which enables brokers to upload applications and receive rapid feedback on the progress of the potential loan. Approximately 60% of standard SME loan applications are now being received through the portal.
Total lending across Paragon Banking Group’s divisions increased by 32.2% compared to the same period last year to £1.49 billion. Pre-tax profits at the company increased 49% to £143.6 million.
John Phillipou, Paragon’s SME Lending Managing Director, said: “We are starting to see more’ business as usual’ type lending in the SME market, rather than lending backed by the Government Covid-related Guarantee schemes, which is a positive sign of normality. SMEs are contending with a range of issues, but they continue to invest in their business as they seek to grow.”
He added: “Our Broker Portal is gaining momentum after a soft launch and I’m pleased with the progress we are making, offering our intermediaries an enhanced digital experience supplemented by the experience and expertise of our support term.”
Paragon Banking Group’s half-year results statement can be viewed here.