Cambridge & Counties Bank has obtained a £100m (€114m) guarantee under the British Business Bank (BBB)’s Enable programme.

The UK-backed programme provides a guarantee against a certain amount of credit losses, providing an incentive for banks to lend more to SME customers. Underwriting remains with the beneficiary bank.

The programme is similar in scope to BBB’s Enterprise Finance Guarantee (EFG) scheme. EFG also comes in an asset finance variant, under which Aldermore and Hitachi Capital have been so far accredited.

Reinald de Monchy, managing director for guarantee and wholesale solutions at BBB, said: “We … welcome this new Enable Guarantee facility with Cambridge & Counties Bank – a relatively new entrant to the market with a regional focus – which will help more UK smaller businesses get the funding they need to grow and succeed.”

Will German, chief risk officer of Cambridge & Counties Bank, said: “We are delighted to be working with the British Business Bank, which shares our objective of boosting the UK economy by helping to finance smaller businesses.

“This transaction is yet another significant milestone in our history as we move towards our sixth birthday. The Enable guarantee allows us to extend our customer-centric approach, focussing on the professional and corporate property sectors.”

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In March, Cambridge & Counties reported pre-tax profits of £24.4m for 2017, up 35% from the year before.

The bank said it had managed to grow margins in asset finance, despite some challenges.

Chief executive Mike Kirsopp said: “The asset finance market has seen little let up in the number of new players joining the ranks of willing funders, with a resultant downward pressure on margins across business in general.

“Rampant competition continues to destroy margins across the industry and whilst we have settled for lower returns to reflect this, we have continued to concentrate on financing business critical assets for strong borrowers.”