4th July 2011
Banks cut lending to leasing companies
Leasing vital to SMEs - used for investment in
machinery and IT
Banks have reduced their lending to leasing companies by 16% in
the last year, bringing outstanding loans down to £23.8billion (as
of March 31 2011) compared to £28.4billion a year ago says Syscap,
a leading independent finance provider.
Leasing companies are a vital source of funding for businesses
that want to invest in business assets such as machinery and
Says Philip White, CEO of Syscap: "The leasing market is key to
the funding of SMEs especially while banks are still unwilling to
make conventional loans to smaller companies.
"Unfortunately some independent leasing companies are struggling
to get the funding from banks that they can pass on to business
Philip White says that the trend for banks to reduce their
lending to the independent leasing companies might have a very
negative impact on the competitiveness of UK companies.
Explains Philip White: "If existing leases are coming to an end
far faster than new leases are being funded then that suggests that
UK businesses are having to struggle on with old or redundant
machinery or IT and are not expanding their operations."
"UK businesses can't compete effectively in a globalised market
if that is happening."
Syscap explains that whilst it and a few other well-funded
leasing companies are using the shortage of bank funding to
increase market share, there is a longer tail of other leasing
companies that have ceased writing new business.
Lending to leasing companies has fallen at a far faster rate
than overall lending to private businesses (excluding financial
services companies) where outstanding loans are down 10% in a year
to £535.7billion (as of March 31 2011) compared to £581.7billion a
At the same time as banks reduce their lending through
independent leasing companies, banks themselves are reducing their
provision of leasing direct to SMEs. For example, in February of
this year Barclays confirmed that it would cease offering leasing
to small businesses.
Bank lending to leasing companies is now down by 35% on its
level three years ago of £602billion (March 31 2008).
According to Syscap, leasing is a crucial source of funding for
SMEs as it helps spread the cost of assets and maintain a healthy
- Leasing does not impact on a businesses' other credit lines
giving the company concerned more scope to borrow money when they
need it in the future.
- Leasing allows a company to upgrade their equipment when it
- Most leasing arrangements, unlike loans, would not have a
negative impact on a balance sheet
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