2009: A year of two halves

Brendan MalkinIn all, 2009
was an extremely unpredictable and difficult time for European
leasing. In January last year, just about the only forward-looking
advice that could be offered was for lessors to keep their heads
down and wait to see what happened in the months to come.

Sure enough, the business climate
that prevailed in 2009’s first half left many smaller players
seriously wondering how much damage their business models could
take, and many larger companies falling silent as they pushed their
energies into mass reorganisation.

Now though, in the aftermath of both
our own and Leaseurope’s year-end conference events, it is amazing
to see so much of this industry still standing to ring in the New

No-one is under any illusions that
2010 will see a return to the ‘golden age’ of leasing, but at least
now we can be surer of the road ahead, however long and steep it
may turn out to be.

In the meantime, here are some of
the events that stuck out for us over the last year of leasing:

Most overworked staff of the
experienced litigators, or any members of a central
credit committee for a major European network.

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Banks to keep an eye on in the
next year:
SocGen, HSBC, Santander.

Surprisingly robust sector of the
Marine pleasure craft and corporate jets.

Headache sector of the
the telecoms industry.

Best SME lending support from
Italian moratorium scheme on leasing, credit
lines from European Investment Bank via leasing companies.

New funder most overwhelmed by
broker applications:
D&D Leasing.

Most unexpectedly lavish
A toss-up between Norton Folgate, which celebrated
its rebirth at the Crypt in Holborn at the end of the summer, and
CHP Consulting’s bash in the top of the Gherkin to toast the launch
of a new version of its Alfa software.

Most diligent
The Ukrainian Union of Lessors, for
commitment to facilitating leasing in Ukraine, despite huge market

Surprise of the year:
Lombard quitting broker business.

Still waiting for: The
integration of Fortis Lease and BNP Paribas Lease Group.

Most astounding job
Visionary and Founder – position held by Justin
Floyd of the late Smartfundit.com.

Country to hold onto business
Poland, which managed positive growth all year despite
general fears about the health of CEE economies.

Wise move of the year:
Alexander Schmidecker, who headed recently nationalised Hypo Group
Alpe Adria’s leasing arm for two weeks before making a swift
departure to fellow Austrian network BAWAG PSK.

Victims of circumstance
CIT, which has held on to flagship vendor
programmes despite its parent entering bankruptcty… and exiting
again in record time.

Most promising sector
Recruitment, which as of Q4 was finally showing
a much healthier rate of movement round the market.

Here’s to an easier 2010.

Brendan Malkin