Total asset finance new business (primarily leasing and hire purchase) grew in February 2023 by 20% compared with the same month in 2022.

In the first two months of 2023, new business was 13% higher than in the same period in 2022, according to new figures released by the Finance & Leasing Association (FLA).

The business new car and commercial vehicle finance sectors reported new business up in February by 46% and 24% respectively, compared with the same month in 2022.

The plant and machinery finance sector also reported new business growth of 18% over the same period.

Geraldine Kilkelly, director of research and chief economist at the FLA, said: “The asset finance market reported a tenth consecutive month of new business growth in February which was more broad-based than in recent months, albeit compared with a relatively subdued February 2022.

“Asset finance new business provided to SMEs and larger businesses increased in February by 16% and 28% respectively.

“The latest figures clearly demonstrate that the industry is continuing to support businesses to invest and grow in a challenging economic environment.

“Among SMEs, the success rate is high when applying for asset finance, with 95% offered a facility. Furthermore, 93% of SMEs applying for asset finance were satisfied with the outcome of the process compared with only 54% of those applying for a bank loan.”

Consumer car finance new business volumes fell by 5% in February 2023