Despite many banks having been forced to downsize their lending
capacity due to the current economic crisis, the UK asset finance
arm of HSBC does not expect any major change in its credit
policy.

“Given that we have a strong capital base at HSBC we are
reasonably immune to funding issues that are affecting the
independents and the larger banks that don’t have a stable capital
base,” Derren Sanders, head of leasing at HSBC, said. “That said,
we will be constantly reviewing credit policy,” he added.

A greater recent focus by Sanders’ department on structured
finance deals valued between £5m and £50m contributed to a 15 per
cent growth in income and pre tax profits last year, while new
business rose by 18 per cent.

HSBC asset finance had a record fourth quarter, and Sanders
emphasised that he is “not aware of many deals being turned down”.
He added that 2008 has “started well”.

Recent growth was also attributed to increased efficiencies
caused by the winding down in 2004 of most of its small ticket and
vendor businesses, as well as improvements in the sharing of deals
among other departments of HSBC. “We are linking up more than we
used to,” Sanders said.