phillipou john

Paragon Bank’s SME lending division grew its loan book by 5.0% in the 12 months to 30 September 2023 as new lending edged up.

The SME lending loan book at the end of Paragon Banking Group’s full-year period, announced today, stood at £757.5 million, compared to £721.7 million at the same point last year.

Overall, Paragon Banking Group reported a record underlying operating profit of £277.6 million for the period, up 25.4% on last year.

Total lending for the division stood at £447.9 million, up from £446.4 million the year before. Asset leasing volumes increased by 3.4% year-on-year to £286.4 million, excluding Government-backed balances, whilst short-term lending to professional services firms outside Government-supported schemes increased by 9.5% to £137.7 million.

Utilisation of Paragon’s broker portal for SME lending continued to grow during the period, with over 70% of standard applications now being received through the portal.

The portal has facilitated a step-change in the operation’s ability to handle smaller value loans efficiently, leading to increased levels of applications for such products, reducing the size of the average advance and risk in the portfolio.

John Phillipou, Paragon Bank SME Lending Managing Director, said: “In challenging market conditions, British SMEs have shown they are agile, resilient and investment focused. Businesses are looking to invest in new assets to help their growth ambitions, whilst we are also seeing companies seeking to replace assets that they may have operated for longer than anticipated due to supply chain issues during the pandemic.”

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