London – LDF Group (“LDF”), one of the UK’s largest alternative providers of SME finance, today announced it has broken through £1 billion in lending on its own book.
The milestone comes at a time when up to 50% of start-ups, and 100,000 SMEs seeking new loans, are being rejected by traditional banks(1).
Peter Alderson, LDF Managing Director, said: “In the past, SMEs and start-ups would have seen their banks as the primary source of finance solutions – but times have changed as alternative lending becomes increasingly mainstream.
“In 2017 we provided £511 million to UK businesses – a 32% rise on the previous year.
“LDF Group launched its own book in 2014. This year we have broken through the £1 billion mark and we expect to be lending £1 billion-a-year to UK small businesses by 2020.”
Alderson puts LDF’s success down to embracing what he calls the flipside of finance.
He says: “We’ve done everything we can to flip traditional finance on its head, and it’s working for our customers. 2017 was a year of change for us. We introduced new products, and began communicating to our audiences in a completely different way – removing the jargon and introducing a less bureaucratic approach to lending”.
2018 will also bring further positive changes for the business, who announced earlier this year that they had been acquired by US based finance providers, White Oak.
“This is a really exciting time for us”, says Alderson. “Our new ownership brings a great deal of added benefits to our customers, such as increased levels of funding and access to an enhanced level of financial products and these will be a critical factor in us reaching the £1billion per year by 2020.
There’s still a real gap in lending to small businesses and this can be a barrier for many business owners. We’re committed to driving a change here, in both access to finance and speed of service.
“Our clients tell us for example, that the timelines for securing a traditional loan are still far too long.
“Small firms need to be agile, and so we focus on making the process as quick and easy as possible. Effectively, we stripped unnecessary red tape out of our own business, and we’re passing the benefits on to our customers.
“Businesses can typically expect a decision within a couple hours of submitting a loan enquiry, with the money often in the bank in a matter of days.
“It’s an approach that suits everyone from our established professional services clients, to the increasing number of entrepreneurs embracing non-traditional business models.”
LDF’s Billionth Pound is supporting 3 million Scottish eggs
LDF Group’s £1billionth customer was Ian Hamilton from Stewarton-based Lainshaw Farm Eggs, a family owned egg wholesaler supplying to customers across Scotland.
Ian picked up the reins from his father five years ago and turned to LDF Group when he needed new financing for a delivery van.
Ease of access and a speedy service with a personal touch were what proved so attractive about the LDF service.
Ian said: “Lainshaw delivers 3 million eggs a year all over Scotland, so we absolutely have to have reliable distribution to meet our customers’ needs. We have a fleet of five vans and we needed the money to buy our latest vehicle. We had borrowed from LDF previously, and it was a smooth, quick and straightforward transaction, so they were the obvious people for us to go to again.”
He added: “I’ve got to know the people there over the years, so it means I get all the service of a bank but with a personal touch.”
(1) Source: British Business Bank Small Business Finance Markets Report 2015-16.