UK SME lender Paragon Bank has supported small businesses with nearly £300m of new lending during its last financial year, full-year figures have revealed.
In the year to 30 September 2020, the bank’s SME division, which offers asset finance, lent £288m to SME businesses, local authorities and professional services firms.
Overall, SME Lending was 29.2% lower than the previous year as coronavirus subdued demand for investment in new assets and businesses utilised Government support schemes.
The specialist lender provides asset finance through approved intermediaries and directly to customers.
John Phillipou, Paragon Bank managing director of SME Lending, said: “2020 has been a challenging year for many SMEs, but we have also seen the resilience and tenacity of businesses up and down the country to adapt and meet this challenge head on.
“At Paragon, we have continued to support our customers through normal business activity, as well as participating in the Government lending schemes. We were operationally resilient, remained active during the pandemic and helped our customers meet their ambitions.”
Paragon’s SME Lending division is focused towards sectors less impacted by the pandemic – construction, logistics and transport, manufacturing and professional services. The teams operating within the division have specialist knowledge, not only in finance but also in the sectors within which they operate.
A key objective of the division in 2020 was supporting customers. Paragon provided £25.9m of loans under the CBILS and BBLS schemes, whilst also engaging in a proactive communication programme to establish what additional support customers required, including flexibility with payment arrangements.
John Phillipou added: “Hurdles remain for UK SMEs as we enter 2021, including Brexit, the continued impact of coronavirus and general market conditions, but businesses are still investing, innovating and growing for the future.
“We will continue to support new and existing customers with their finance needs as we emerge from this pandemic.”