Hitachi Capital Invoice Finance (HCIF) announced strong growth for the year ending 31 March 2021. 

HCIF said it achieved record new business volumes in the fourth quarter having identified new income streams which delivered strong lead generation and conversion opportunities.

Over the past 12 months, the overall annual fee income is 2% higher than the previous year against the background of a distorted invoice finance market, with the funding measures introduced by the UK Government to support SMEs.

Despite challenging market conditions, HCIF accelerated its diversification strategy by providing funding lines above £1m for larger corporate customers that led to a 108% increase in new business to this segment. 

As a result of targeting larger SMEs, HCIF’s average annual minimum fee income during full-year 20/21 increased by 35%.

New targets for the lender, which provides cash flow solutions to clients across a wide range of sectors, now include businesses with turnover up to £50m.

As well as diversifying its customer base, HCIF acquired new leads from competitors processed using FLi, its market-leading digital onboarding platform. 

HCIF’s digital capability during the pandemic enabled a large volume of applicants to be processed efficiently in a short amount of time during the pandemic, providing a competitive advantage for the business.

Andy Dodd (pictured), managing director at Hitachi Capital Invoice Finance, said: In response to reduced demand for lending via our existing channels, we provided funding for larger corporate customers where demand during the pandemic remained strong.

“Investment in our online marketing channel and search engine optimisation has led to a 50% increase in online new business year on year and significant improvement in our search engine ranking, enhancing our brand visibility.

“As a well-funded, digitally enabled provider with a proven track record in the cashflow finance market, the business is primed for growth as business confidence amongst SMEs improves during 2021/22, capitalising on strong lead generation and conversion opportunities identified over the past 12 months.”

At a Group level, Hitachi Capital (UK) Plc reported a profit before tax of £104m for the 2020/21 financial year.

Despite a decline of almost 10% in GDP, Hitachi Capital (UK) Plc generated £3.3bn of new business, with a strong recovery in the second half of the year maintaining Hitachi Capital UK’s level of net earning assets at £5.9bn.

New business volume in the first six months of the financial year 2020/21 recovered to 69% of 2019/20 levels and in the second half of the year, new business volume was at 99.7% of the previous year, despite two further lockdowns.

Robert Gordon, CEO of Hitachi Capital (UK) Plc, said: “The extraordinary resilience, determination and agility of everyone in our business to adapt quickly to the environment has delivered outstanding results during an extremely challenging year.

“Our continued success and recovery, particularly over the second half of the year, has been achieved by adjusting to the pandemic conditions, accelerating our digital capabilities in line with evolving customer expectations and consistently providing outstanding service to businesses and individuals through the range of financial products we offer.

“Underpinned by our continued access to funding in financial markets reflecting our reputation and portfolio quality, the business has remained well capitalised throughout the pandemic and gained market share, outperforming competitors in key industry sectors.

“Amid the backdrop of heightened uncertainty, we have continued to invest in our business and our people; during the past year, we’ve implemented technological improvements to drive operational efficiencies as well as providing funding to support sustainable energy projects addressing climate change.

“The business experienced significantly increased demand for communication and support from our customers over the past 12 months. In turn, we’ve increased our headcount and did not participate in furlough programmes during the COVID-19 crisis.

“We’ve seen continued momentum in new business volumes during the first quarter of 2021/22 aligned to an upturn in consumer confidence and pent up demand. Hitachi Capital (UK) Plc is well-diversified across commercial and consumer sectors with an expanding portfolio to tackle climate change. With a high level of liquidity, our business is well placed to grow in this financial year as the economy gathers pace in the months ahead.”