Patrick Beselaere chief executive officer, ING Lease & Commercial Finance Belgium and Global Head ING Lease, considers the Belgian leasing market figures and ING’s D2B platform. By Brian Cantwell

The leasing market grew 11% in Belgium in 2015, with €4.8bn in new production, of which 90% is related to equipment and cars, and IT, and 10% real estate.

Beselaere is upbeat about the results. "To put it in perspective, compare it to the Dutch market, a country with a similar profile. In Belgium we realised production of €4.8bn, with growth of 11%.

"In the Netherlands, new production was €5.2bn with growth of 20%, so they had enormous growth last year, and the Benelux market as a whole is good as a market, with a real production of €10bn.

"This market has grown around 10%. The combined Benelux market is a market of around €10.5bn in 2015 and we are proud that we can say that ING is the leading lessor in the Benelux region."

Beselaere says there’s clear evidence that leasing still leads the field as a business product. "In all three countries, leasing is one of the spearhead products in business lending.

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"Around 80% of the production is distributed on behalf of the bank network. ING caters for small-ticket, standard-ticket, and bigger structure tickets. We have an approach where we say for everything that is standard ticket, bank colleagues should be able to sell and distribute the product, but once it’s more structured, and a bigger ticket then it’s originated on behalf of the specialised lease teams of the ING lease company."

Since leaving the UK, ING has focussed on its fintech offerings and on its direct-to-market channel.

"We announced the D2B proposition, Direct Lease – it’s now in development. It’s the result of one of the initiatives for product innovation," says Beselaere.

"Lessors are in the midst of a digital revolution, where we are competing with the fintechs that are coming up with new solutions, ways of approaching the market, and how to service your customer."

As for Direct Lease, it offers a disruptive solution to other channels distributing finance on the continent, among vendors and dealers.

Direct Lease offers a fully digital customer journey. The client can simulate different leasing proposals, obtain approval for the lease, draft a contract – all fully digital – across multiple channels, which means you can use it on your computer, but also at our call centres with our relationship managers."

Beselaere is excited by the prospect of the functionality that the new platform might allow in terms of an improvement in customer experience.

"The client business can simulate leasing contracts with no pressure and with an ability to alter conditions. On the other hand, if they need help, they can call the help centre or get in contact with their relationship manager.

"People in the call centre are very excited by it because of the customer service element and the lead generation, and it’s also a friendly process. These are all features that customers look for today.

"Direct Lease is fully integrated and it fits into our strategy – it’s clear, easy, fast and transparent, and it helps the customer perform day-to-day activities."