Figures released by the Finance & Leasing Association (FLA) show that asset finance new business (primarily leasing and hire purchase) grew in February 2019 by 15%, compared with the same month last year.

The commercial vehicle finance and IT equipment finance sectors reported new business growth in February of 36% and 10% respectively, compared with the same month in 2018, while business equipment finance grew by 8% over the same period.

Geraldine Kilkelly, head of research and chief economist at the FLA, said: “Over the last three months, the asset finance market has reported double-digit growth in new finance provided to both SMEs and larger businesses for investment in a broad range of machinery and equipment.

“Asset finance has proved particularly popular with SMEs, achieving the highest application success and satisfaction rates in 2018 compared with other external finance products.”

By asset there was £500m of business in plant and machinery finance, a year-on-year increase of 1%. Business equipment finance was up 8%, to £181m. Car finance was £542m, recording no change from the same month in 2018.

By channel there was £1.015bn in direct finance, a 6% increase. Broker-introduced finance was £515m, a 21% rise. Sales finance also saw an increase, up 9% year-on-year to £608m.

By product there was £350m in finance leasing, a 34% year-on-year increase. Operating leasing was £395m for the month of February, showing no change from the previous year. Leasing and hire purchase increased 15% year-on-year, now at £1.3bn. There was also a increase of 2% in other forms of finance, to £152m.

In 2018, FLA members provided £137bn of new finance to UK businesses and households, and £33bn of finance was provided to businesses and the public sector. FLA members financed around a third of UK investment in machinery, equipment and purchased software in the UK in 2018.

Figures released by the Finance & Leasing Association (FLA) show that asset finance new business grew by 9% in January by year-on-year comparison.