Lender Cambridge & Counties Bank registered its highest-ever level of customer loans and deposits in 2022.

Gross customer loan balances increased 6% across the year to £1.055 billion while customer deposits rose to £1.103 billion, up 8%, with the bank delivering £310 million in gross new lending for the year.

The balance sheet strength resulted in the bank recording £28.5 million in post-tax profit, up 54% versus 2021.

Asset Finance on the up

Despite economic headwinds and market uncertainty, the Leicester-headquartered bank benefitted from demand across its range of lending solutions, including real estate finance, asset finance and classic car loans.

Its asset finance business, which helps businesses acquire essential assets such as equipment, plant, machinery, or vehicles, increased by 31% to £71 million. Finance for the purchase of classic cars and sports vehicles through hire purchase and finance lease products increased 17% to £42 million.

In a reflection of increased customer demand and growth, staff numbers increased to 206, up from 183 in 2021. The bank expanded its Real Estate Finance team alone by almost a third in 2022; in total, it now has 31 members in the REF team.

Cambridge & Counties Bank also improved its cost-to-income ratio, from 51% to 44% in 2022, supported by the strong growth in earnings. Its Return on Capital improved to 12.6% (2021: 9.5%).

Donald Kerr, CEO at Cambridge & Counties Bank, said: “As customers reassess investment priorities in this challenging macroeconomic environment, our focus continues to be on lending responsibly while also helping our customers navigate the challenges they face.”

ESG remains a focus

For the third year running in 2022, the bank was independently accredited as Carbon Neutral Plus; it was also awarded ‘Socially Responsible Business of the Year’ by consultancy Embark CSR. Looking ahead, priorities in terms of its ESG programme include developing its indirect scope 3 emissions, transition plans, targets and metrics.

In 2022, the bank aims to increase elevate female representation at all levels of senior management to 40% by 2025. According to the 2021 Census, women and girls made up 30.4 million (51.0%) of the UK’s population. Cambridge & Counties currently has 32% female representation in senior management, 30% on its Board, and 33% of its executive committee.

Patrick Newberry, Chair of Cambridge & Counties Bank, said: “Our performance would not have been possible without the commitment and hard work of our staff. Our team has moved on from the pandemic, returning to more normal working routines while taking advantage of the best of the hybrid working model. I would like to pay a particular tribute to all of the team and to thank them for their unstinting efforts during the last year.”

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