Specialist asset-based lender Ultimate Finance broke its annual lending record by providing more than £1.6bn of funding to SMEs across the UK in 2019.

The figures show Ultimate Finance, which is based in Bristol, finished the year with a loan book of £265m, supporting more companies than in previous years. Ultimate Finance was incorporated in 2001. 

The company cites high points of 2019, including the average size of invoice finance deals more than doubling with facilities of up to £5m.

Asset finance hit an annual high with the loan book exceeding £55m, and the bridging finance loan book growing close to £40m – a year-on-year increase of 23.5%.

Josh Levy, chief executive at Ultimate Finance, said: “Ultimate Finance has prospered in 2019 against the backdrop of an unsettled year for many UK businesses. Uncertainty surrounding Brexit and the general election were contributing factors to business investment falling in five of the last six quarters, however, it is encouraging to see business confidence returning. In this context, I’m proud to announce another record-breaking year of lending for Ultimate Finance with over 1,000 new businesses supported by our funding solutions.”

 “Our continued growth mirrors a trend of businesses becoming simultaneously more comfortable with alternative finance providers and moving away from traditional banks. This trend, along with the investment in developing our introducer relationships, presents us with a big opportunity for 2020 to continue supporting more businesses around the UK,” he added.

Ultimate Finance announced in September they were withdrawing from the unsecured loan marker to focus on further investments in asset-based solutions.

This decision brought full focus on the company growing its lenders’ invoice finance, asset finance and bridging products.

Ultimate Finance also signed the government’s SME Finance Charter in October. Led by the Business Finance Council, the SME Finance Charter set out a range of commitments demonstrating members support of SME’s throughout the UK.

“Our flexible, solution-driven approach to funding and excellent customer service increasingly make us the funder of choice for businesses wanting to invest and thrive. To that end we were pleased to be a founding signatory of the SME Finance Charter to demonstrate our unwavering commitment to facilitating growth for ambitious businesses in all market conditions,” Levy said.