A strong performance in motor and asset finance
has helped Close Brothers to release an optimistic interim
management statement for the third quarter of its financial year,
ending 30 April.

The company’s banking division reported:
“Another strong performance, benefiting from continued favourable
market conditions and good demand for its lending services. The
loan book increased 6% in the quarter to £4bn (Q2: £3.8 bn)
reflecting strong new business levels particularly in motor
finance, asset finance and property, and has increased 15% in the
financial year to date.”

Close Brothers previously reported a motor
finance loan book up by 11% at the half-year (ending 31 January) to

The statement continued: “The net interest
margin remains strong, although slightly lower than the first half
of the financial year. The credit quality of the loan book
continues to improve and the bad debt ratio reduced slightly in the

Close Brothers’ asset management division is in
the final stages of its restructuring and made a small loss as
expected, and performance in its securities division continued to
be affected by difficult market conditions.

However, with the banking division “continuing
to see good growth opportunities”, Close Brothers says it still
expects to announce a solid result for the year.