Claire Hack discovers
the rationale for the launch of Close Business


Photograph of Mike Randall and Richard BriscoeThe
launch of Close Asset Finance’s consolidated broker division, Close
Business Finance (CBF), was driven by a desire to provide joined-up
services for the market.

Speaking to Leasing
, Mike Randall, managing director of the broker and
transport divisions at Close Asset Finance, said: “We felt the time
was right to make a clear statement to the market place.

“We have taken all our best
bits and put them together as a single offering.”

CBF was launched on 1 March
from the merger of Close Asset Finance’s broker activities –
Kingston Asset Finance and One Business Finance.

The move has seen the
recruitment of broker development managers, whose roles are to be
in contact with the broker market, help brokers win clients, and
thereby allow Close to supply the necessary financing.

Randall said: “For instance,
if a customer was buying a piece of machinery at £100,000
[€113,000] and a broker development manager goes in with them, it
may be that we could enhance the deal by taking additional security
on other equipment.”

CBF managing director Richard
Briscoe, added: “Brokers weren’t very clear about where they needed
to place their business. We wanted to bring clarity.

“We have an operations centre
in Hessle [near Hull] to take all the proposals, all the
administration and all the underwriting.

“We also decided to have a
broker support centre in Blackburn, which I think is unique in the

CBF has also launched a new
website that includes an electronic documentation function and will
later feature direct links to brokers’ own sites, as well as
altered “repossessions for sale” pages.

Briscoe said the new website
would enable CBF to communicate easily with brokers, as well as
allowing them to download documents to obtain management
information about proposals.

“We have spent a long time
listening to brokers, looking at what they are looking for and how
we are perceived by the market,” Briscoe added.

“We have removed the hurdles from doing business with