Ex-Secure Trust Bank commercial and finance division managing director Paul Marston has joined P2P lender RateSetter as its head of SME lending.

In a statement, Ratesetter said commercial lending made up £137m (€177.95m), or 30% of its outstanding loan book, but could not confirm at the time of writing whether asset finance would be part of its product lines under Marston’s leadership.

Marston left challenger Secure Trust Bank where he was managing director of the business and commercial division, which provides funding for SMEs and property development loans.

Prior to that he was a managing director at NatWest RBS, where he was responsible for the business and commercial banking in the South and West of England and Wales. He was also previously head of the SME division at Lombard Asset Finance.

RateSetter said it specialises in business loans of between £25k and £1m, with larger loans on a bespoke basis, and has provided more than 2,000 loans worth £98m. The lender said that since July 2014, the British Business Bank has also been lending to sole traders through RateSetter, and it expanded this to SMEs in December 2015.

Marston said: "Eight years after the start of the financial crisis, the traditional market for SMEs finance is still not fit for purpose. There’s an exciting and significant opportunity for forward-thinking companies like RateSetter to provide the desperately needed finance that will enable UK SMEs to grow and improve their productivity. I look forward to making the most of this opportunity with RateSetter."

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By GlobalData

Secure Trust Bank launched its commercial finance business in September 2014, under the stewardship of John Bevan, its head of commercial finance.

Marston was involved in setting up Secure Trust’s asset finance division as part of its business and commercial services in March 2015, using Haydock Finance as its authorised representative for hire purchase and leasing.