Cambridge & Counties Bank achieved its highest-ever reported gross new lending in 2023, reaching £328 million, a 6% increase year-on-year. This milestone underscores the bank’s ongoing support for SMEs, entrepreneurs, and professional property investors across the UK.

The bank’s rapidly expanding asset finance division, which assists businesses in acquiring crucial assets such as machinery and vehicles, saw record customer drawdowns and netbook growth.

Exposures in this sector rose by 17% to £83 million. Additionally, financing for buying classic, vintage, and sports cars surged 18% to £51 million.

Overall, total customer loan balances grew by 5% to £1.106 billion, while customer deposits also increased by 5%, reaching £1.155 billion. This bolstered balance sheet strength contributed to the bank recording a pre-tax profit of £40.9 million, a 44% increase compared to 2022.

Cambridge & Counties Bank continued to invest in its digital capabilities and workforce to foster growth. The number of staff increased by nearly 10% to 225. Effective cost control combined with income growth led to a reduction in the bank’s cost-income ratio to just 37%.

Cambridge & Counties Bank CEO Donald Kerr emphasised the bank’s strategic priorities in 2023, aiming to become the “specialist SME bank of choice in the UK.” He highlighted the bank’s focus on service, product excellence, and a relationship-based market approach, which he said would drive growth as business confidence recovers. Despite challenging economic conditions, Kerr noted that their business model and financial strength allow them to support customers with experienced bankers.

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In 2023, the bank achieved B Corp Certification, scoring 92.8, reflecting high performance, accountability, and transparency standards. Additionally, in August, the bank secured a £20 million Tier 2 capital facility from British Business Investments to enhance lending to smaller businesses.

Chair Patrick Newberry remarked on the bank’s resilience amidst tough conditions, crediting strong customer and broker relationships, effective credit risk management and deposit strategies for their success. He also noted that while rising interest rates benefited the banking sector, proactive measures were crucial for capitalising on these opportunities.