UK challenger bank Shawbrook’s asset finance division reported an underlying profit before tax in 2015 of £40.9m (€52.7m), up from £29.8m in 2014.

The loan book for the asset finance division stood at £761m at 31 December 2015 (2014: £564m).

The gross asset yield for 2015 was 9.9% (2014: 10.3%).

Shawbrook said the reduction of 0.4% in the gross asset yield was driven by the increased liquidity in the market (resulting in a more competitive market) and the overall growth in the wholesale book.

Cost of risk was 0.2% for 2015, 0.1% lower than 2014 (0.3%).

Shawbrook’s asset finance division covers leasing finance, block discounting and wholesale finance, and healthcare leasing to SMEs.

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Shawbrook said in its results that it would identify new asset classes to complement its portfolio, including the launch of its Professional Practices funding which happened in this financial year.

"Wholesale and Block Finance were significant drivers of revenue with market leading teams… In Healthcare, we completed a notable deal that supported funding of the first Proton Beam Therapy clinics in the UK," said the bank.

"It’s more mature lending operations continue to perform well despite increased competition due to increased liquidity in the market. The business invested significantly in a new operating platform which will enhance its service offering to customers and our introducer base while also driving efficiencies to shorten cycle times."

Chief executive Steve Pateman said: "2015 was a significant year for Shawbrook. We achieved a successful IPO and continued to grow our core businesses, underpinned by a strong well-capitalised balance sheet which will support our ambitions for the near and medium term.

"We have invested for the future and, notwithstanding a softer economic outlook, remain confident that we will continue to generate strong through the cycle returns consistent with our stated strategy."