Paragon’s half year results to 31 March 2019 has shown a 29% year-on-year growth in asset finance lending to £211m for the period.

According to the company, asset finance, part of Paragon’s Commercial Lending division, retained its position in its core hard asset market during this period but has also expanded into financing soft assets.

Nigel Terrington, chief executive of Paragon, said: “We have delivered a strong first half, with increased profits benefiting from good growth in lending and improved margins. This reflects our strategic transformation to become a more broadly-based banking group focussed on supporting British SMEs and consumers in specialist lending markets.”

Richard Doe, managing director of Commercial Lending at Paragon, said: “These strong results and increased lending in asset finance reflect our commitment to getting finance to the people and small businesses who need it most. Our experienced asset finance teams often support businesses with complex or structured financial needs that High Street banks won’t typically accommodate.”

Asset finance at Paragon has expanded its product range through a broker channel and direct to customers product and now covers manufacturing, printing, business equipment, technology, media, aviation, construction, transportation and legal practice finance. There is also working capital funding for SMEs through invoice discounting and factoring.

The half year results also showed there has been strong business growth across its commercial lending division, which includes asset finance, development finance, motor finance and structured lending. Lending for the division increased by 69% to £455m and there was a three-fold increase in underlying profits to £20m.

Overall, Commercial Lending’s loan book now stands at nearly £1.3bn following an 89% year-on-year increase.

Acquisitions of property development finance business Titlestone in July 2018 and legal finance firm Iceberg in December 2017 have contributed to Paragon’s commercial lending division. The total volume generated from these businesses in their first part year was £96m for Iceberg and £49m for Titlestone.