• Invoice finance shows 29 per cent growth since 2009/10

• Contrasting with 19 per cent fall in traditional lending products over the same period

The supply of asset based finance to UK businesses has hit a record high in the last 12 months with an average of £17.5 billion in use at any one time by businesses over the last year*, says the Asset Based Finance Association (ABFA), the body representing the asset based finance industry.

This is 9.4 per cent up on last year’s average and up 29 per cent from the £13.6 billion of asset based finance in use at the height of the recession in 2009/10.

In contrast, the average value of traditional forms of funding supplied to businesses fell by 5 per cent over the same period**. Net traditional funding to businesses is now down by almost £100 billion since 2009/10, falling 19 per cent from £485 billion to £391 billion.

The ABFA explains that 80 per cent of asset based finance is invoice finance, in which businesses secure funding against their unpaid invoices, while the other 20 per cent represents the fast-growing area of asset based lending, in which businesses can raise money secured against a range of other assets they own, including stock, property and machinery.

The ABFA says that these figures show that invoice finance is now a mainstream funding product for businesses, playing a major role in filling the SME lending gap created as banks remain restricted in the levels of finance they can provide to businesses.

Martin Morrin, Chairman of the ABFA, says:

“Invoice finance is playing a bigger role than ever in funding British businesses’ growth, and has truly stepped into the mainstream of business funding.”

“Since the credit crunch, invoice finance has become an even more important source for SMEs for funding as they struggled to access traditional term loans. Now, as the economy recovers, more and more businesses are using it to fund their growth, and that’s pushed demand for funding to levels we haven’t seen before.

“More and more businesses are now seeing their invoices as a significant untapped asset they can borrow against, and that banks and other institutions actively want to lend against. It has been the business funding success story of the last few years.

“The Government and the business community have been looking for a new mainstream financial product with the potential to fill the gap created by the continued lack of term lending. These figures show that asset based finance, and invoice finance in particular, is that product.”

ABFA says that many businesses do not realise that the invoices that they have outstanding with customers are often the most valuable asset owned by the business, and that banks and other funders will willingly lend against them. Generally speaking, loans that are not secured against assets have become harder to find over the last five years.

invoice graph 1

invoice graph 2

* Year end: March 31 2014. Based on loans outstanding at one time. Source: ABFA
** Average net bank loans outstanding to private non-financial corporations, year end: March 31 2014. Source: Bank of England

The full statistical release, along with historical data, is available at:

http://www.abfa.org.uk/members/statistics.asp

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