According to the latest broker sentiment poll carried out by United Trust Bank (“UTB"), two thirds (67pct) of brokers operating in the Asset Finance sector believe that the spectre of Brexit is causing some businesses to delay investing in vehicles, plant and machinery.
The remaining 33pct who expressed a view felt that Brexit was not affecting the companies they dealt with.
2017 figures from the Finance and Leasing Association (FLA) show a mixed bag for different sectors with funding of plant and machinery in December 2017 just 1pct higher than in December 2016, Commercial Vehicle finance down 14pct and the big assets; ships, planes, rolling stock etc down by 41pct. However, broker introduced business increased by 14pct from 2016 to 2017 with brokers accounting for around a fifth of new leasing business by FLA members, still the fastest growing channel.
UTB’s research was carried out just before the announcement that a breakthrough had apparently been made by the UK and EU Brexit negotiators in agreeing the terms of a transitional period. It remains to be seen whether this will give businesses and SMEs in particular, greater confidence.
Keith Sangwin, Head of Sales – Asset Finance, United Trust Bank, commented, “We’ve had a busy year so far at United Trust Bank and for those companies which, regardless of Brexit, are confident in their business plans the market is extremely competitive, especially for strong credits. The rates we’re now able to offer customers with solid trading accounts and consistent credit histories are the lowest they’ve ever been.
Keith continued, “As a responsible lender we’re keeping a very close eye on the economy and taking account of all contributing factors, not just Brexit. However, UTB’s reputation for being a robust and dependable funder through all market conditions is as valid now as it ever was. The Bank continued to lend throughout the financial crisis and our book is very much open now.
“The next twelve months are going to be very interesting. Politics and the economy are going to continue to dominate the news, but many businesses will not be directly affected by Brexit and will continue operating much as before, serving a UK or even more local customer base.”
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