The UK’s only trade association bank is celebrating a record breaking 2014.
As part of the British Independent Retailers Association (bira), bira bank provides a specialist service, with the aim of supporting and enabling independent retailers to grow and develop their businesses.
Having twice surpassed the £1 million barrier of lending in a month to members during 2014 (the first time in its 59 year history), the bank rounded the year off with a 26% increase in overall lending compared with 2013. Its portfolio of financial products enjoyed year-on-year growth across the range, most noticeably 62% on vehicle lending and 255% on equipment loans. Bira cited low borrowing costs, tax incentives and an increase in confidence amongst small shops as the key driving forces. The bank also wrote 20% more agreements than in 2013 and significantly, 25% of all enquiries came from new sources.
John Collins, managing director of bira bank, commented: “The bank worked tirelessly last year to satisfy as many bira member enquiries as possible, whilst coping with the same pressures that any other regulated bank has to contend with these days.
“The year-end figures are a reflection of the commitment of our team to bira members, as we aim to not only help independent retailers survive but to enable them to flourish and take advantage of as many opportunities as possible. This level of growth in the current market is fantastic by any standard – and one we will be aiming to sustain in 2015. And this is only part of the picture. What really excites me is the number of enquiries from first-time users we are receiving and converting, which is reassuring for the future growth plans that the bank has adopted.”
David Pears, executive director of bira bank, continued: “The bank celebrates its 60th year of business in 2015 and the growth shown in last year is testament to the depth of experience and knowledge that the bank holds for our members.
“Our most popular products, such as vehicle and equipment lending, have increased significantly. We like to say ‘yes’ where we can, and our members like to challenge us. We recently financed our first fleet of 10 vans for a member, as well as a couple of £100k+ specialist lorries.”