New research in the Finance & Leasing Association has revealed that asset finance companies are cautiously optimistic about business lending over the next 12 months despite the troubles many firms have experienced in recent months.
Its most recent quarterly Asset Finance Confidence Survey, which questioned senior executives with the FLA’s Asset Finance Division earlier this month, found that 74% are expecting a rise in small business lending within the next three months. This is 6% higher than the corresponding study was undertaken three months ago.
An even higher proportion expect a rise in lending over the next 12 months (77%) within the hope UK businesses discover it easier to access the funding they need to have to grow and therefore boost the economic recovery.
The figures follow other recent news in the FLA that its members advanced 2.9 billion of new finance to SMEs within the final quarter of 2011 for investment in equipment and machinery. This, coupled with the latest figures in the Asset Based Finance Association revealing 16 billion was released to its members’ clients in Q3 2011, demonstrates just how effective asset-based finance has been at plugging the funding gap that Project Merlin has failed to fill, according to Bank of England statistics.
As a result, 72% of those surveyed expect a slight improvement in domestic economic conditions over the next 12 months, which is up 2% on the previous survey, which was conducted.
Geraldine Kilkelly, Head of Study and Chief Economist at the Finance & Leasing Association, said: “The cautious optimism shown within the survey reinforces our message to the Government that asset finance has a key role to play in improving the supply of credit to SMEs.
“Asset finance helps small businesses get the gear they ought to compete in tough trading conditions. It is an affordable alternative source of finance for any huge variety of products and gear.”
Asset finance includes facilities such as hire purchase and finance leases, enabling businesses to acquire new equipment, plant, and machinery to support growth without tying up valuable cash – a significant challenge facing the UK’s SME community in recent times.
While hire obtains permits firms to hire an asset from a leasing corporation in return for regular payments, giving your company full ownership from the asset following the completion of the hire contract, finance leases allow businesses to work with an asset for a specific period.